How Long Should it Take to Acknowledge Customer Complaints?
No matter what companies do to keep their customers happy, they are bound to get complaints once in awhile. Even the best of the best do. So when they come in, it is important to know just how quickly companies should acknowledge customer complaints. The speed at which a company addresses their customer complaints can make a big difference in whether or not the customer continues to do business with them.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) allows a 15-day window in which companies must acknowledge customer complaints. And while that 15-day period may work for some customers, others might not appreciate waiting 15 days for acknowledgement. Most people want their complaints to be addressed as soon as possible after the communication.
Quick Recovery is Key
“Service recovery from failures (when the organization fails to meet customer expectations) should always be immediate, explains Taryn Brown, PhD., who has more than 15 years of experience in working in customer service for such companies as Walt Disney World and the Daytona International Speedway, and is an assistant professor of hospitality management at Daytona State College. “The goal of all employees of an organization should be on-the-spot recovery.”
As she explains, it is a complex issue, because customers don’t want to wait and may become even more agitated by having to do so. Yet employees working with customers may lack the power to efficiently handle the situation, which may lead to a delay in the problem being addressed.
Customer Complaints as Opportunities
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“When customers complain, the organization gains valuable information that it can use to improve operations for the future,” adds Brown. “Another negative outcome that may occur if companies wait too long to address customer complaints is that customers may retaliate. With the rise of social media, it becomes quite easy for customers to spread negative word of mouth to other people in their network.”
Monitor Social Media
In order to stay on top of customer feedback, companies need to keep tabs on social media. If management is not actively involved in monitoring the company’s social media, there should be someone who is. That way they are able to address issues right away and see what’s being said about the company. In order for companies to be able to provide quicker response to customer complaints it is also important that managers give some power to their employees so that they can address problems immediately, rather than having to pass them on to others.
“Managers should encourage employees to be unconditionally available and empathetic to guest needs. After all, customers are the reason businesses exist!” says Brown.