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Seb Anthony

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We are having trouble defining a "complaint".
Does anyone have a definition that they are willng to share.
At present we say if it is written or if the client asks for the MD it is a complaint but I feel we have to go deeper than that.
Mike Barnard

5 Responses

  1. Complaint
    I have always classified a complaint as someone who has taken the time to write a letter to complain or someone who actually says they want to speak with a Manager to make a complaint. Otherwise you will start recording every tiny little gripe from a customer/employee.

  2. Why make complainers write?
    I’m always slightly concerned when I hear that organisations expect dissatisfied customers to write in to complain. Surely it is just adding insult to injury to expect someone who has already been inconvenienced in some way to spend more time writing a letter. Much better to have an empowered organisation where ANYONE can take notes of a complaint and enter it into the “system”.

    Expecting managers to be called in to deal with complaints also goes against the grain of empowerment. Staff should be encouraged to deal with complaints themselves and to have authority to put things right and offer reasonable compensation when things go wrong.

    I think anyone who expresses their dissatisfaction with a service or product and expects remedial action has a “complaint”.

    Hope this helps.


  3. A complaint is a request for corrective action
    For all practical purposes, we consider a complaint to be any instance where what the customer has told us requires us to take action to satisfy that customer or to prevent that customer, or any other customer, from being dissatisfied in the future.

    A customer who telephones to say that s/he’ll never buy our goods/services again, because they (….), has certainly made a complaint – without either writing a letter or asking to speak to the MD.

  4. Complaints can be useful feedback and can enhance customer loyal
    Any perceived problem experienced by a customer with the company(whether it is said in passing or it is written) should be treated as a complaint and seen as useful feedback. The company could learn from it to ensure it is addressed. Also, when complaints are handled well, it can increase that customer’s loyalty to the company. Of course, a simple but effective complaints procedure for frontline staff is important for it to work.

  5. Complaints – a common definition
    It seems that lots of organisations struggle with what is and what isn’t a complaint. This is mainly because, as you point out, every employee probably has their own definition of what constitutes a complaint. It’s not easy to achieve but introducting a company definition that everybody understands (and hopefully buys into) is half the battle in terms of dealing with complaints effectively. In my previous job, we used the definition “any expression of dissatisfaction”. The aim of making it so broad was to avoid the ‘can you put it in writing’ mentality and to get staff to think about using the complaints procedure as an effective tool in delivering good customer service.


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