Getting to the heart of why customers, complain, what they really want and where to focus your energy. Complaints are one of the most valuable feedback tools any organisation has.

It’s a constant stream of insight into where you’re not delivering on your promises and letting customers down. But this feedback is only valuable if it catalyses change – and to do that you need to understand what customers and saying, why it’s happening and what you can do about it.


Getting to the root of why customers complain

Sometimes, it’s easy to see the improvements you need to make to stop complaints from happening. But complaints often come from a cumulation of events or service failures that need closer analysis. Understanding the emotional and operational dynamics behind complaints can help you focus on the areas that will have the highest impact.

Equally, with root cause analysis it’s important to read between the lines to understand what’s not necessarily being documented in your complaints process but is exacerbating customer frustration. Customers won’t know the intricacies of your internal operations and linking their feedback to cause is critical in making improvements.


A human centred approach to complaints management

Complaining customers can becomes some of your strongest advocates if their issues are dealt with properly. Part of understanding how your complaint handling and management is impacting satisfaction is understanding what customers value in the journey. We can help you diagnose these key drivers and find ways to make more of them in your approach.


Understanding the true cost of complaints

How much do complaints cost your organisation? Not just putting things right, but time to resolve the complaint, resource costs, operational impact and redress or compensation. We build objective overviews into the impact complaints have on your business through robust analysis – giving you visibility into the true cost of complaints and business impact.


When compensation can damage customer experience

Are you giving customers what they want? Finding the right way to put things right is often more complicated than simply handing out compensation – and research suggests it’s rarely the most important thing for customers. Analysing the kind of redress you offer customers should be based on a range of factors including emotional impact, inconvenience, knock-on effect and customer expectation.


Making the outcome feel fair and just to customers

How effective is your complaint process at giving customers outcomes they value? It sounds like a simple question but it’s often overlooked when analysing complaint process. It starts with understanding what outcomes customers actually want and building a clear way to measure the success by those outcomes – for example, “fairness” often plays an important role in customers expectations. If your process is failing to deliver on these outcomes what are the impacting factors?


Greater clarity on the root causes of complaints

They way you categorise complaints has a big impact on how your business can learn from them. Often valuable insight is lost because complaint themes aren’t categorised or themed in ways that make it easy for teams or departments to do something about them. A useful way to start this process is looking at the Where, What and Why.

1Where did it go wrong?Broad categorisations that are easy to follow. Journey, service, department, team.
2What part went wrong?Focus more on the complaint drivers – what is the complaint specifically about? People, delays, quality, process, policy.
3Why did it go wrong?Root cause analysis (RCA) or Proximate cause. Cross-team handover, unclear process, lack of expectation setting, conflicting KPIs impacting service.

Equally, they can often miss important emotional factors, both in how the issue was created and how it was dealt with. It’s also important to look at complaints based on their complexity and time to resolve so they can be routed to the right person or area in the shortest time.

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