Preventive Customer Complaint Handling Initiatives
- Service & Complaints Guides
- A Practical Guide to Handling Consumer Complaints
- Best Practices in Handling Customer Complaints
- A Guide for Consumer Complaints Management
- 6 Steps to Achieve Customer Service Excellence
Preventive Customer Complaint Management initiatives help organizations build and maintain relationships, diminishing the likelihood that problems will arise and develop into complaints. These initiatives include educational activities directed at both customers and businesses, customer service policies, guarantees, refund and exchange policies, benchmarks, internal audits and codes that set out service level commitments, and consequences for not meeting them.
Preventive initiatives are the “front end” of comprehensive Customer Complaint Management systems. Effective preventive Customer Complaint Management initiatives are well publicized, adequately funded, consistently applied and well monitored. Because preventive Customer Complaint Management initiatives can take the form of voluntary codes, we urge readers to review the publication Voluntary Codes: A Guide for Their Development and Use, available from Industry Canada’s Office of Customer Affairs and on the Web (http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/volcodes).
Examples of Preventive Customer Complaint Management Initiatives at Individual Businesses
A pizza chain widely advertises that when its pizzas do not arrive within a certain time the pizza is free. By establishing an up-front policy about delivery and offering clear compensation for when the commitment is not met, customers have an assured outcome (either pizza on time or free pizza).Customers know in advance what to expect so complaints are minimal, and the “on time or free” policy becomes an important competitive advantage.
A major Canadian discount retailer has a service guarantee policy concerning the accuracy of its checkout scanners. When there is a discrepancy between the price of a product at the checkout and the advertised price or the price on the shelves, the customer gets the product free when it is valued at up to $10 or a $10 discount when it is worth more than $10. As with the pizza delivery policy described above, the price accuracy policy gives customers an assured positive outcome. When fully enforced and publicized, the policy creates a strong stimulus for the business to ensure that prices are accurate and thus avoid giving away free products. It also creates a strong incentive for customers to review their receipts. The policy demonstrates that the retailer is honest and has integrity, and is an important factor in a customer’s decision to continue to shop at a particular store.
Examples of Industry-wide Preventive Customer Complaint Management Initiatives
Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) has a pre-clearance service for advertisements. Firms submit advertisements for review by a panel of experts prior to use in the marketplace. This process greatly decreases the likelihood of complaints about an ad. ASC also develops standards for the advertising industry and the public, publishes information about its activities, and provides advice to firms and the public. Taken together, these efforts enhance understanding by all parties of the issues surrounding advertising before problems occur.
The Cable Television Standards Council administers customer service standards on issues such as confidentiality and security of customer information, as well as cable television service commencement, continuation and termination. The Council regularly conducts on-site visits with members to ensure ongoing compliance with the standards. Public and industry knowledge of the standards decreases suspicions that individual customers or member companies are being treated arbitrarily and unfairly, and adherence to the standards diminishes the likelihood that complaints will arise. The customer service standards were developed by the Canadian Cable Television Association with input from industry, government and customers.
Under the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, participating builders are certified to ensure that they are competent in the trade and financially solvent. The program also provides customer education publications and seminars, as well as builder education courses. Through the up-front certification program, and related education initiatives, there is greater assurance of quality workmanship and a decreased likelihood of customer problems arising.
- Market-based Customer Complaints Handling Initiatives
- Preventive Customer Complaint Handling Initiatives
- Internal Complaints Handling Initiatives
- External Private Dispute Resolution Initiatives
- Comprehensive Complaints Handling Systems
- Characteristics of Effective Online Trustmark Programs
- Online Redress
- The Need for Effective Customer Complaint Handling Initiatives
- Customer Complaint Handling Initiatives and the Law
- Developing and Implementing Complaint Handling Initiatives
- Elements of Successful Customer Complaint Handling Initiatives
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