Dealing with repeat complainants effectively

Repeat complaints can be the most difficult for organisations to handle effectively. It’s easy for emotions to run high; whether it’s multiple complaints about one issue or repeated frustration from one particular customer.

It is particularly crucial with these cases to take control, be consistent and spot trouble quickly.

Your team needs the right tools to support them. Ok, we have a vested interest in saying this! Our Workpro complaints management software is specially designed for this. But here are some tips we hope you find helpful.

Two people standing off across a desk

Four tips for handling repeat complaints

1. Take control

Repeat complainants can be emotionally agitated and therefore may be harder to reason with. Stay calm and cool the situation down with a professional, courteous, informed response. Their return to your organisation is an opportunity to rebuild their trust.

  • Establish confidence straightaway by having their previous case details available.  The quick search facility in Workpro allows staff to check if the person has made a previous complaint and to see what action has been taken so far.
  • Alert staff to any circumstances they should be aware of. Anything from a hearing impairment, for example, to nuisance or abusive callers. Flags against relevant cases ensure these issues are easy to spot in Workpro – but importantly, you can also restrict who can see sensitive information using case-level user permissions.

2. Be consistent

Make the person feel their case matters to you – that they are not lost in the system. It is important to treat every complainant equally and fairly - no matter who the person talks to or how; whether by phone, letter, email, through social media or face to face.

  • Use letter and document templates to ensure correspondence is of the same professional standard, but tailor it to their case so they feel respected as an individual. Workpro gives you control of your letter and email templates - add as many as you like (with or without our help). Details are auto populated from the case record to ensure accuracy, but you can personalise the response as needed.
  • Ensure your team know who is doing what, when. Each case in Workpro has a named caseworker to ensure accountability. Other team members have access to the case (if authorised) so they can give status updates and even take over if needed (e.g. staff absence).

3. Spot trouble quickly

Repeat complaints and complaint clusters help you identify improvements you need to make to your products or services, so they can be valuable. But you want to spot them before they turn toxic or even go viral.

  • Identify any complaint clusters quickly. Cases can be linked in Workpro. This helps you handle them the same way and helps you escalate them quickly if you need to. It also enables you to spot potential problem areas quickly.
  • Analyse root causes and trends. Workpro will help you identify areas of persistent complaints and where improvement is needed.

4. The three F’s.

It’s not what you’re thinking! Feel, Felt, Found, are three key words that your complaints handling team should remember. For example, “I know how you feel, others have felt the same, however they have found…” Of course, this may not work for every scenario, but it’s a great building block for handling a persistent complaint or an agitated complainant.

  • Precedent cases help your staff learn from previous complaints. Complaints can be marked as ‘landmark’ or ‘precedent’ cases in Workpro to enable staff to apply that learning to their current caseload.

Would you like to find out more?

Handling persistent complaints can be time consuming, tiring and repetitive but they can provide a positive catalyst for change within your business.

Workpro complaints management system enables you to record, process and track all complaints, complete with in-depth reporting and analysis tools.

Workpro is available as a cloud-based or in-house system. We would be happy to provide a free online demo to show you its features. Contact us today.