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Great Complaint Management Earns You a Second Chance

A customer who takes the time and effort to complain gives you the opportunity to make things right.

Posted by Dawn Lomer on January 16th, 2015

Most unhappy customers won’t bother to complain about minor annoyances. They simply won’t continue to patronize your business. You will never get the chance to save the relationship and, worse, they may tell friends about their poor experience.

In fact, a Forrester study found that one in three financial customers with a bad experience tells their friends and one in five recommends that their friends avoid the company.

Handle customer complaints like a pro. Download the eBook Handling Customer Complaints, a Best Practices Guide.

A customer who takes the time and effort to complain, however, gives you the opportunity to make things right. And while these customers are generally complaining about something more serious, it’s an opportunity for you to turn the situation around. It’s your second, and probably last, chance to save the relationship and restore customer loyalty.

Statistics from Florida State University’s Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship have shown that up to 95 per cent of customers will give you a second chance if you handle their complaint successfully and in a timely manner.


Handling Negative Feedback

The ability to handle negative feedback in a positive manner is a valuable skill for any customer service representative, so it’s crucial that any customer-facing employee has training in this area.

Your company can profit from following established best practices for customer complaint management when interacting with customers in these difficult situations.


Best Practices for Complaint Management

Best practices for handling customer complaints indicate that businesses must make it easy and convenient for customers to complain in the first place and then have a solid process in place for handling them.

The process should include:

  • acknowledging customer complaints promptly
  • assessing and prioritizing each complaint
  • deciding whether an investigation is necessary
  • conducting a thorough investigation to find out what happened and explore remedies
  • documenting the investigation so that you can show the steps you took
  • keeping the complainant informed of the progress of the investigation
  • remediating when appropriate
  • giving the complainant options for further review if he or she is dissatisfied
  • looking at complaint data overall to see whether there are any systemic issues


Customer Complaints and Compliance

Documenting the investigation is especially important when customer complaint handling is part of your company’s compliance obligations. For example, financial services organizations operating under the jurisdiction of the CFPB and other regulatory agencies have compliance obligations.

Need help with CFPB compliance? Download the cheat sheet: CFPB Compliance 101.

But customer complaints can signal compliance issues even when complaint management isn’t part of your compliance program.

For example, an investigation into a complaint about a defective product might uncover a case of supplier fraud. Or a complaint about a health care provider might trigger an investigation that reveals a health care fraud billing scheme.

Customer complaints provide a second chance to cement customer loyalty, but they are also a second chance to monitor and boost your company’s compliance program.

Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Manager of Communications

Dawn Lomer is the Manager of Communications at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.

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