How to take control of your organization’s complaints and escalation management

Christopher Connolly

October 5, 20214 min read

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It’s a common misconception that customers who raise complaints do so because they have nothing better to do, or worse still, because they are looking for a way to gain free or discounted products and services. The truth is that most customers who lodge complaints do so because they are at their wits’ end — and just want their issue resolved.

Today, customers expect organizations that operate online to have a presence on at least one social channel — and most likely across several. With that presence we have also seen that one-way communication is no longer enough. Customers and prospects alike will attempt to engage directly with companies on these channels by responding to brand messages or starting new threads. This is nothing all that new.

What has changed is that this two-way communication is now recognized by companies — and by regulators — as a formal communication channel, just like a phone call or letter in years gone by. Increasingly, we are seeing companies held accountable, not just by public perception, but with regulation that has teeth if companies choose to ignore the ever-growing digitally connected consumer.

Take, for example, the emerging regulatory oversight that has been introduced in Australia for banking, financial services, and insurance companies: Regulatory Guidance 271 (RG 271). In this guidance, the governing body is seeking to modernize the way financial firms define and deal with complaints from consumers and small businesses. RG 271 requires these institutions to respond to complaints lodged on social media and digital communications platforms. It’s not too hard to see that this type of update to company requirements will likely soon be adopted across many other industries.

Imagine trying to get every customer who makes a complaint about your business via a social channel to then pick up the phone and have another conversation with you. Not going to happen, right? But that is exactly the kind of complaints management strategy that many brands have forced on their customers until now.

To serve digitally connected customers, you need a digital-first complaints management strategy

Taking into account the trajectory that industry regulators are beginning to set out for dealing with the digitally connected customer, what technology capabilities do organizations need to enable their success? Here are some of the most common challenges for sprinklr service teams, which are often legacy hangovers from disconnected point solutions:

  • Extended response times when corresponding with customers: often due to multi-departmental coordination with differing systems and processes, making it hard to collaborate across teams

  • Wasted time by highly skilled resources : by not applying machine learning and automation to mundane human tasks like complaint pre-processing, you are relying on highly skilled humans to work on repetitive tasks — increasing your overall cost of handling complaints

  • Forcing customers to channel switch to raise complaints and not responding in the moment where the customer is engaging: causes multiple teams to respond, with differing motivations — including Marketing (to address brand issues), and Customer Service (to drive to accepted channels)

By not providing a digital-first responsive complaints management program that operates where the customer spends their time, you risk your customers feeling that you’re not listening and that you simply don’t care. Forcing customers to channel switch to handle complaints increases frustration and creates negative experiences, for both customers and care agents, which ultimately hurt your brand reputation and your revenue.

Certainly there will always be some customers who are never satisfied, and for them it might already be too late to save that relationship. But by not responding to them, you risk leaving other customers and prospects with a bad impression of your brand, and increasingly, regulatory penalties for non-compliance.

Complaints management technology can help you provide a truly unified customer experience online

The good news is there’s technology that can help. It’s not a panacea for great customer service built on the back of amazing products, but we are at a stage where the right technology can help organizations discern real complaints from background noise, and automate the connection to the right resource — whether that’s a human or a piece of content.

It’s important to look for a complaints and escalation management solution that has been purpose-built to help you comply with the latest regulation, internal policies, and most importantly, customer expectations. Here are a few items to look out for when evaluating and selecting a complaints and escalation management system:

  • Does it unify your current and future digital channels?

  • Does it incorporate industry-specific machine-learning models that are not only built for your industry, but can be tailored to your organization?

  • Can it work with your established systems and processes to augment the escalation management processes?

  • Is it built for a digital-first experience, or is it a digital afterthought?

Also read: A complete guide for escalation management

Using the right technology across the entire organization, care teams can keep their customers at the center of their processes. With the ability to automatically route, resolve, and measure customer care issues in an integrated, cross-channel solution, care teams can avoid customer churn by providing positive course corrections in real time, and control cost with automation that sifts through all messages and appropriately actions the right engagements with the right organizational resources.

Check out what today’s compliance and escalation management systems look like when reimagined from the digital perspective. You’ll find that it’s fundamentally different from typical Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions on the market today. That’s because advances in technology have given today’s humans more choices than ever before about when and where they engage with your organization.

Find out how Sprinklr Service can help with complaints and escalation management.

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