At Awards International, we’re eagerly looking forward to the Winning With Complaint Handling Conference in September. For the fourth year running, we’ll be welcoming a host of influential business figures and discussing the development of world-class complaint handling strategies.
Swapping stories is a great way to learn, and case studies from 6 world-class speakers will feature heavily at the event. In that spirit, I wanted to share a few examples of complaint handling excellence from the past few years that have really impressed me.
Proposify is a piece of software that helps agencies and freelancers design better proposals. Unfortunately, a dissatisfied customer kept writing in to complain. It eventually got to the point where he was threatening to cancel his account.
CEO Kyle Racki recognised this as an opportunity to exercise some reverse psychology. In his message to the customer, he wrote:
I’d love to say Proposify is a great fit for everyone, but clearly we weren’t able to live up to that here. I’m really sorry about that. You may want to give Quoteroller, Nusii or Bidsketch a try, they might be more useful to you. Best of luck!
It’s always impressive when an agent recommends a competitor – it shows that they’re trying to serve you as a person, not just as a prospect, and it can actually generate more loyalty. Once the customer realised that Proposify were willing to cancel, something unexpected happened. He replied saying:
Yes we are frustrated. The refund wasn’t necessary; we just want someone to listen…Since we started using Proposify every one of our clients has asked us about it and if it’s good. We’ve been telling them we love it but it has a few bugs to iron out. I’m just one guy having a whinge. Truth is, your product is miles ahead of the rest. Keep it up.
Certain customers require unique approaches; for this one, suggesting the account be terminated reminded him how much the software meant to him, he stayed on as a customer.
As a leader in business process management services, Firstsource are at the cutting edge of complaint handling improvements.
This year, a UK telecoms company contacted them in the hopes of upgrading their complaint tagging. Using more conventional technologies – web chat, email, social media and telephones – the company’s tagging accuracy was just 70%.
Firstsource deployed its First Customer Intelligence solution to analyse conversations with customers. With state-of-the-art natural language processing and sentiment scoring, they could better understand areas of customer dissatisfaction. In a more human context, Firstsource also trained agents to tag complaints more accurately.
Within a short space of time, the accuracy of complaint tagging had risen to 90% – and this had a positive effect on the customer experience. The company’s NPS rose from +47 to +60, and first-time resolution rose from 81% to 88%.
Firstsource are a great example of how smart use of data and emerging technologies can take complaint handling to the next level.
In 2016, seven-year-old Luka took his favourite Lego toy with him to the shops. But, as he explained in an email, something went wrong:
My Daddy just took me to Sainbury’s and told me to leave the people at home but I took them and I lost Jay ZX at the stop as it fell out of my coat. I am really upset I have lost him. Daddy said to send you an email to see if you will send me another one. I promise I won’t take him to the stop again if you can. Thank you.
In a delightful response, Lego replied to Luka in a language he could understand:
Sensei Wu told me it was ok if I sent you a new Jay and told me it would be okay if I included something extra for you because anyone that saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a really big Ninjago fan… I am also going to send you a bad guy for him to fight!
Of course, this response was shared widely on social media. One customer spoke for everyone when they asked ‘why can’t your customer service be the customer service for everywhere?’
There are two lessons here: one is that the lifetime value of a customer is what really matters. The other is that well-judged humour and empathy can go a long way.
4. Ritz Carlton
Of course, no story about customer experience would be complete without a mention of Ritz Carlton, whose reputation for going the extra mile is the stuff of legend.
One of their guests in Bali was a boy with severe food allergies. His family had taken great care to bring specialised eggs and milk with them, but they were unfortunately ruined in transit. This left them in a serious situation, especially when the manager couldn’t find any of these items in Bali.
The family were understandably growing more distressed, but that’s when the manager took the extraordinary step: he contacted his mother-in-law, who lived in Singapore, and instructed her to get the correct items and take a 2.5-hour flight to Bali.
The Winning With Complaint Handling Conference will be held on 25th September. Get your tickets here.
Do you have an inspiring story of complaint handling you want to share? If so, enter the UK Complaint Handling Awards today!