The biggest challenge organisations typically have is where to start, particularly if they have never mapped the customer complaint journey before or measured the experience of those raising and resolving a complaint. That’s why we advocate a tried and tested approach which starts with exploration, then quantifies, before providing an opportunity for ongoing performance measurement.
We use primary research to help our clients understand what the current ‘as is’ journey looks like for their customers attempting to raise and resolve a complaint. We map the whole end-to-end complaint journey, capturing:
• Nature of complaint?
• Service channel used?
• First Contact Resolution?
• Number of contacts made?
• Effort to raise a complaint?
• Effort to resolve a complaint
• Where ‘Difficult’ to raise or resolve, how this made the customer feel?
• How Effort & Emotions influence future customer loyalty?
In addition, our early exploratory qualitative work and resulting quantitative surveys include elements of the latest regulatory expectation around complaint handling (i.e. delivery of outcome letter, inclusion of Ombudsman rights) and the fair treatment of customers. We also have devised a set of quick questions aimed at identifying vulnerable customers (though this will change over time).
We deploy qualitative research methodologies to so as to provide clients with a deeper understanding of customer beliefs and experiences associated with raising & resolving a complaint with their organisation. We use this exploratory approach to initially aid understanding as it adds richness as participants use their own words & expressions to describe their complaints experience. Typically, our qualitative framework is aimed at understanding the “What”, “How” and “Why” of the complaints experience. In addition, we also explore the softer, more emotional aspects associated with the experience (as well as the more rational, procedural aspects).
In terms of best practice qualitative research, we would advocate the use of:
• Face-to-face, telephone and / or online depth interviews
• Face-to-face or online focus groups
• Face-to-face co-creation workshops
While customers are at the centre of our qualitative efforts, we do – where appropriate – suggest clients also consider an employee element to the research, e.g. conducting contact centre or branch visits, talking to and observing complaint handling staff, interviews with complaint managers. Our experience tells us that understanding how to make the complaint handler experience more effortless, often translates as greater employee engagement and delivery of a better experience to customers. And sometimes, those in the front-line or back office are well placed to offer opinions and ideas as to how to make the customer experience better and more effortless.
At The Research Locker, we have a strong quantitative pedigree and robust in-house capabilities:
• Design, set-up and manage quantitative surveys on your behalf.
• Offer postal, face-to-face, telephone and online / mobile survey deployment and feedback collection.
• Where a telephone approach is used, we use our 60-seat in-house CATI unit to interview complainants – we can also offer an online variation free of charge
• Analyse and report key findings and insights.
• Statistical analysis to identify key drivers of what makes a good (or bad) complaint experience and drives (dis)loyalty.
• Presentation to senior business stakeholders and action planning workshop
Once we have established what the current ‘as is’ customer complaint journey, what drives a good experience and engenders loyalty, we always promote the implementation of a performance measurement. Continuous measurement of performance is key if to improve your complaint handling performance and enhance the customer experience through making raising and resolving a complaint more effortless. Such performance measurement allows organisations to:
• Ensure progress is heading in the right direction
• Continue to identify customer pain points
• Continue to update action planning
• Measure the uplift associated with any improvement initiatives
• Report regularly to the business how Customer Effort has reduced while Customer Loyalty has increased
Typically, any performance measurement survey would be an abridged version of the earlier quantitative survey used – but the key driver analysis performed previously would be used to reduce the content and length of the survey so as to focus down on what is really important to the customer when attempting to raise and resolve a complaint.