Complaint management: Added value with the help of project management tools

Timo Gerhardt, Thursday 05 May 2022 | Reading time: 7 min.

Where there are interactions between companies and customers there are inconsistencies resulting in customer complaints. The proper internal handling of these complaints is of significant importance for the success of a company. With the help of project management software, you can optimize your internal complaint management and add value to your after-sales processes.

Content:

Wherever transactions take place between buyers and sellers, complaints are an integral part of everyday life. You have probably had negative experiences with companies yourself and may have addressed a complaint to them. If your concern was dealt with promptly and satisfactorily, you can consider yourself lucky. In the telecommunications industry e.g., consumers are frequently frustrated with poor service quality. Although the importance of a functioning after-sales service is undisputed, the complaint management of many companies still has enormous deficits.

The most common reason for this is companies underestimating the complexity of the complaints. Customer service is encouraged to try to deal with complaints as efficiently as possible using standardized, highly simplifying processes. The individual problem-solving capacity is often neglected. Various techniques from project management can help there.

The importance of a well-run complaint management system 

Dissatisfied customers are very likely to voice their complaints even after the issues have been resolved if the process has been arduous. The results can range from negative word to mouth to a full-fledged social media shitstorm against the company. Negative reviews of both product and customer service have a significant impact on brands and can result in costly damage control. Thus, companies need to take customer service seriously and invest in the quality of their internal complaint handling.

The complexity of complaints

 One of the most common mistakes in complaint management is not fully grasping the complexity of the customer's problems. In most cases they are treated as simple tasks and they are dealt with in a standardized process.

Defining complaints as tasks does make sense in many cases. If customer service can clarify the issue on their own quickly, this is completely sufficient. For this to work, a complaint must be:

  • Generic
  • Repetitive
  • Simple

Then they can be handled within the typical standardized customer service processes. An example would be an issue with a prepaid card where there are only a few options for complaints. Efficient and fast processing is the priority here.

However, many complaints are simply too complex and complicated to be dismissed as a task. This is particularly difficult in the case of highly individualized or overly complex services and products. Such complaints must be treated as projects. Thus, dedicated communication and management are indispensable. Furthermore, customer service can generate valuable insights from these complaints  to rule out future complaints. A complaint about poor internet speed may e.g. result in the realization that certain hardware is not up to standard anymore resulting in the production of better routers.

Ultimately, if complaints are low in complexity and high in frequency, they should be processed as tasks as efficiently as possible. In all other cases, however, the definition as a project is indispensable for a satisfactory solution. Consequently, a functioning project management is essential. This can be implemented best with a project management software like InLoox. Appropriate tools can ensure that the coordination of a project is not yet another challenge.

Project management as a success factor  

A solid resolution of issues is essential for high customer satisfaction. PM software can help teams resolve complex issues effectively.

The quality of the result can also be significantly improved through good project management. By including all stakeholders, no interests are neglected. Individual tasks can be defined and structured to achieve a holistic goal. After all, not only the customer but also the company should be able to generate added value from the complaint process.

Internally, several people and even departments are involved in the complaint process in most cases. These include the customer's personal contact person, the respective product manager, and the project manager responsible for the complaint. To ensure seamless communication with that many parties involved, the project management software shows relevant tasks, deadlines, updates for everyone.

The detailed documentation of the project is another feature that software can offer you. This means that past project data can be accessed in the event of complaints that have already been dealt with in a similar form within the company. This helps reducing redundancy.

Project management software offers you numerous other options. A budget overview or a visualization of tasks in a Kanban board are also reasons to transform your internal complaint management.

Ultimately, complaint management is an important part of after-sales service. Thus, optimization ensures that the customer can go through a seamless and satisfying customer journey. This is a prerequisite for customer loyalty and generating future sales. Best case scenario, the customer generates additional sales opportunities by positive word of mouth or corresponding reviews on the Internet. Since a customer journey is only ever as good as the worst touchpoint, even the supposedly most insignificant touch points in customer service must be taken seriously. Accordingly, the added value that a project perspective on complaints can generate will not only be noticeable for your customers, but ultimately for the entire company. So, take advantage of this opportunity to comprehensively delight your customers and retain their loyalty to your company in the long term!

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