Managing Customer Complaints

the5wsKeeping track of customer complaints is vital to good customer service.  Complaints by their very nature indicate someone is dissatisfied with something.  If that something belongs to you or the company you work for, it needs to be addressed quickly; a dis-satisfied customer will tell twice as many people how unhappy they are, than a satisfied customer. Keeping track of a handful of “complaints” is straight forward enough, but if it’s ten-fold that number, then keeping track of the 5W’s – the who, what, where, when, why, and then how you’re addressing each of those complaints, in a timely fashion, is going to be a challenge. Most businesses have an established methodology for dealing with complaints, but I venture to guess that 1 in 3 don’t have an easy to use system for inputting and tracking the details as they happen. The 5Ws is in fact a time-tested methodology that dates back to the 1st Century and throughout history, has been improved upon by the likes of Rudyard Kipling (Kipling Method) and the publisher Joseph Pulitzer. In fact the 5W’s has been used in journalism, education, police investigation and of course business for years. When selecting a “system” to track customer complaints the #1 factor to take into consideration is adoption … will it be used?  If the system you choose has too many bells and whistles or takes days to learn, the nay-sayers on your team will win. Key to increasing satisfaction and adoption, is the ability to customize to include your company’s specific key phrases and steps.  Familiarity breeds content, and being able to reflect your process steps is vital. Finally, test the system you’re going to use before implementing it.  Don’t take someone else’s word for it. Try it for yourself and see if it does what you need it to do.  The 5W’s method is a good way to start. It’s logical and most people “get it” from the start. Good luck in your search. Let me know if we can be of service.

Dave Oshlag has been helping companies large and small stay organized and focus on the right projects for more than 25 years.  His specialty is saving hours of time wasted on disorganized systems without spending thousands of dollars. He’s best known for enabling massive changes in productivity with tools like W5 Templates that are simple, streamlined and get people organized quickly.

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