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Case-to-Complaint Management: What You Need to Know

No matter how thorough your R&D stage, there's always room to improve. That's why a fast, efficient case-to-complaint management process can help build and strengthen customer loyalty.

In today’s world, being exceptional at understanding and connecting with your customers isn’t just expected of businesses—it’s required. Between a rise in consumer-centric culture and the increased visibility social media generates, public perception is more significant to the success of a business than ever. Through precise management of case-to-complaint systems, organizations can further increase their customer base, even in a highly competitive environment.

Customer complaints can be a valuable way to extract product feedback from segments of the market that may otherwise be challenging to reach. Also, it will always be easier to receive positive feedback than it will be to discover pain points, especially among new customers. By implementing proven standard operating procedures for the resolution of complaint cases, managers can set goals with actionable metrics that will enable companies to grow sustainably while ensuring the most efficient distribution of their resources. 

However, linking cases, complaints, and product data is not as easy as it may appear. The challenges facing managers looking to improve their case-to-complaint systems include disparate systems, manual data entry, and disconnected processes that result in a lack of visibility between cross functional service, quality, and product engineering teams. Additionally, customers expect that if they take the time to provide personal feedback, the organization will also take the time to follow up. 

What is case-to-complaint management?

Case-to-complaint management is the ongoing learning process for managing interactions with end users. Minor issues and highly complex complaints alike are addressed by this engaging, intuitive approach to client outreach. Depending on what industry your business operates in, this could mean consumers, external vendors, or clientele from other businesses.

The most effective complaint management strategies typically include a timely acknowledgement of any given issue with a clear path towards resolution, resulting in a final outcome that benefits all impacted stakeholders. These plans often have rigorously structured interdepartmental workflows, particularly for users with a narrow focus and user groups where technical knowledge is not a priority.

When it comes to complaints, not all cases are created equal. Customer experience teams have to be able to distinguish between different kinds of incidents and prioritize where to take action based on their respective impacts. In doing so, they must account for the customer’s profile, including their values and past transaction history. Plans of action should be prepared for each type of case to reduce negative word of mouth and avoid losing customers.

What is a closed loop case-to-complaint system?

A closed loop case-to-complaint system is one that enables teams to respond directly to customer feedback. By following up on feedback, you create an overwhelmingly positive customer experience. This is an opportunity to demonstrate to your customer that not only is their feedback important, but you are directly and personally invested in the outcome of this case. 

When we use the phrase “closing the loop”, it does not refer to: 

  • Sending automated “thanks for your feedback” messages: Users are aware these are automated and it will make them assume nothing happens after they submit their feedback
  • It’s not break-fix, bug management, or other support issues: Users already expect you to close the loop on issues that they’ve reported - whether you’ve fixed them or not
  • It’s not marketing teams sending out the latest newsletter blast (which are rather impersonal): Making the effort to reach out to and continually communicate with individual users develops a deeper connection

Instead, it describes the following features of case-to-complaint systems which enable the “loop” to be closed:

  • Action-oriented design that empowers employees 
  • Automated feedback collection that ensures timely follow ups
  • CRM tools for managing customer outreach 
  • Focus on long-term improvements to the customer experience 
  • Open-ended questions that reveal things the customer cares about

These systems link cases to complaints, while identifying quality issues at every stage of the product lifecycle to speed resolution, ensure product safety and improve customer satisfaction. For example, customer experience teams could send out open-ended surveys inviting users who’ve recently had a case handled by the support team to share their thoughts about the experience, resulting in the creation of a new loop within the case-to-complaint management system. During performance reviews, managers should provide customer facing staff precise guidance on which actions are the most appropriate in specific scenarios.

Why you need a closed loop case-to-complaint system

  • To Create a Consistent Customer Experience: Having a highly thought out case management process enables you to have a consistent customer experience that ensures all customers are treated the same way regardless of what agent they interact with 
  • To Have a Single, Fully Integrated Product Value Management Platform (PVM) - A CMS makes it easy for customer service representatives to assess a customer’s specific problem and provide an immediate response as well as constant updates towards resolution, while PLM and QMS functions track all aspects of the complaint process to provide data that enables further organizational efficiencies to be gained
  • To Enable Corrective and Preventive Actions - Take proactive measures to resolve cases and complaints. From there, manage operational activities with configurable forms and workflows as needed for compliance with your industry’s regulatory requirements.

Each response to an inquiry or complaint should be treated as the start of a conversation. You’ve now got an engaged customer who could be a valuable resource going forward, but it’s up to you to commence new feedback loops. 

Customer experience associates can start by asking if their response made a difference and thanking customers for their time and insights. Follow that up with an invitation to contribute more, whether it be an open-ended question or an inquiry about a specific topic. Keep in mind that the more often you’re hearing about a problem, the more common and pressing it likely is for end users. Spot trends as they occur to make it easier to identify the root causes behind common complaints. 

Demonstrating an ability to consistently listen to and follow up with customers will set your business apart. By asking for and responding to customer feedback, you’re creating an improved customer experience where users feel listened to. They’ll also understand how they’ve made a tangible impact on product development, and you’ll gain valuable insight as to how to improve not only your products, but your processes too. 

How Propel reduced complaint resolution time by 45 days

Case-to-complaint workloads can easily be overwhelmed if they are not properly managed, resulting in noticeable decreases in quality at all levels of an organization. Propel’s platform can be customized to meet the precise operational requirements of your business. Maximize your ROI with a solution that consolidates all essential enterprise applications into one fully integrated PVM platform, including PLM and QMS, that’s dedicated to the success of your product. Learn more about how Advanced Sterilization Products reduced complaint resolution by 45 days using Propel software. 

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Be'Anka Ashaolu
Editor in Chief, Converged

Be’Anka Ashaolu is an experienced marketing operations, content marketing, and demand generation leader who is obsessed with aligning talent and responsibilities to drive measurable results. She began her career in journalism before quickly moving into marketing technology, sales operations, and integrated campaign execution in the legal, cyber security, and retail analytics spaces. Be’Anka is constantly striving to balance productivity with effectiveness, meaning: her teams don’t just get stuff done – they get the right stuff done.

Fun Fact: Be’Anka is the Co-Founder and CMO of Nirvana Soul Coffee Purveyors in downtown San Jose. She owns the coffee company with her sister, Jeronica. The two are only 11 months apart in age!

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Be'Anka Ashaolu