In addition, good complaint and claim management cannot stop there, but should be able to process this information to implement actions to prevent the same problem in the future, with the same customer and with any other customer.
Now, when we say to regain the customer's trust, what do we mean concretely? trust in what? This is the question I would like to answer with a brief reflection.
History of Claim Management
Some time ago I contracted a courier service, for which I needed urgent delivery, and in order for my shipment to arrive "within 24 hrs", I paid a special rate.
However, the sad result was that my package took 5 days to arrive at its destination. Obviously I was not satisfied with the service and I generated a complaint.
At first it was not easy to get my complaint taken up (there is usually resistance to registering complaints). But, once I overcame that obstacle, I was surprised by the response I received from the company. A few days later, the manager of the branch from which I sent my package called me to tell me that they had received my claim and could reimburse me the money for the service, without any "buts".
I was even more surprised when I went to the branch to pick up the promised money. As it is not close to my home, nor in a place I frequent, it took me a few weeks to go. I am not denying that I was skeptical, and I was wondering what information or proof they would ask me for to locate my claim, how long it would take to find out if the reimbursement was authorized, if my case had not expired, etc.
But, against all my expectations, I only had to say my name at the counter, and the treasurer came out of an office, with the money in hand and a piece of paper for me to sign. A quick, simple procedure, with no obstacles at all. Honestly, I was impressed.
Have you managed to regain my trust?
Then I wondered if the fact that I had handled the claim in such an expeditious and efficient manner was enough for this company to keep me as a customer.
I wonder, after this experience, would I hire their services again? I seriously doubt it, why? and that is the key question.
What did this company accomplish with efficient, customer-friendly claims handling? It got me to gain confidence that they are capable of handling my future complaints. But it did NOT get me to trust their core service. And this is the most important thing not to lose the customer.
So, which is the confidence that needs to be restored in the customer? The confidence that they are able to provide a good service the first time. This is the main thing. Second, in case of failure (there are always circumstances out of control), they are able to recover the service or compensate their customers.
In my case, it was not possible to recover the service (my package had arrived late, and time cannot be turned back). They were able to compensate me, but why would I think that next time my shipment would arrive on time? They have not been able to convince me of this.
What elements should be included in a complete claims management system?
As a conclusion and learning from this story, we can say that good complaint and claims management should be:
- Fast. Acting in time allows many cases to recover the service and minimize the damage for the client.
- Friendly. I am not referring to the friendliness of the staff, but to the fact that they take the issue in hand, and the customer perceives that they will do everything possible, without the customer having to be on top of it, pushing to get an answer.
- Thorough. This is the key that was missing in my case. Getting to the bottom of the problem means getting to the very end of the problem. Find out the causes and solve them, to communicate to the customer that their problem will not be repeated because adequate measures have been taken to prevent it in the future.
The last point is what will make the customer trust the company again. Not only that they are able to respond to problems, but that they are able to prevent them.
As you can see, the management of customer complaints and claims goes beyond "putting out the fire" that caused the complaint, but rather having a structure in place to prevent them from happening again.
By Mariana Pizzo
Professional who is passionate about service quality, and helping those who have this challenge within organizations to increase customer satisfaction. Industrial Engineer graduated from the Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires.