Back to index

Complaint handling: avoid spending more than a penny

by Eskimo Commands | Posted in Complaints management solutions | 8 October 2015
Complaint handling:  avoid spending more than a penny

Complaints are inevitable at some point for most organisations; it is how they are dealt with that matters. A swift response is crucial, not just for keeping the customer happy but also to keep costs down.

Dealing with customer complaints quickly, either on the phone or using social media, will cost, perhaps, a fiver.

Once it escalates to the level of letters and formal processes that amount rockets to hundreds of pounds. And if it reaches the level of the ombudsman, and perhaps even legal proceedings and fines, complaints can end up costing tens of thousands of pounds or more, generating heaps of negative publicity to boot.

One now-famous example of expert complaints handling is Virgin Trains’ response to stricken teen Adam Greenwood. After realising, when he had been to the toilet during a journey from London to Glasgow, that the loo roll had all been finished he tweeted his plight.

Within minutes Virgin had responded to ask which carriage he was in and shortly afterwards a staff member appeared with a fresh roll. At that point Adam tweeted a photo of the loo roll, describing Virgin Trains as the “best train provider”. It was a story that was picked up by newspapers and websites across the UK. Not bad publicity at all for Virgin Trains.

This is clearly a very light-hearted example and many complaints are about far more serious issues. However, there is a lesson from it - ensure your complaints procedure empowers frontline staff to make a speedy response where appropriate.

The train firm hardly had to spend a penny, so to speak, and their swift and quick-thinking response left them with a particularly satisfied customer, as well as so much free publicity that it is hard to put a value on it.

In contrast a slowly and badly handled complaint can lead to frustration. Many customers admit to turning to social media channels like Twitter and Facebook to try to force a firm to act after feeling like they are getting nowhere using traditional channels for their complaint. Not the sort of publicity any company is looking for.

And when it gets to ombudsman level or even legal proceedings, the implications for negative publicity move to a different level.

So the message for firms managing customer complaints is, deal with them well and deal with them fast.

And we can help with that.

Our software, Workpro, is a specialised complaint management system which makes the process of complaints handling faster and more cost-effective. Expertly designed processes and standardised features guide complaint handlers through a best practice customer complaints procedure.

Workpro speeds up your process for resolving complaints, and helps you use valuable customer feedback to make your products and services better.

For more information contact us on +44 (0)131 449 7071 or email

comments powered by Disqus