Identifying Critical Issues Before They Become Crises

There was an era in the business where money was considered to be the lifeblood of an organization, but that was the past. In this era of competitive advancements, customers have become the lifeblood of an organization. Satisfying the customers has become a part and parcel of business where each time the customer expects to be delivered augmented products and services and the organization strives to deliver so. Satisfied customers become evangelists for the organization’s product or service, spreading the word and bringing in new business, whereas dissatisfied customers are merely a click away from transforming an issue into a disaster by airing their grievances on social media. Therefore identifying these critical issues are of high importance before they evolve into crises or PR nightmares because these crises could end up in shaking the organization because crises are indulged in intense media scrutiny.

Initially, contact centers dealt with complaints or issues slightly differently compared to the present. Customers used to register their complaints by contacting the call centers via phone calls or emails and only then the support centers reacted. In short, support systems were reactive in nature. Now as businesses are growing more complex, the customer interaction and management systems are to be updated to adapt to the complexities. Call centers have then evolved from being reactive to being proactive to the customers and in resolving issues before they become a complaint. And even if complaints are raised the support system could be reached through email, call, SMS, SIM or chat.

When complaints are raised, companies should take note of the fact that they are basically grievances of the customer. When such an understanding is made, companies would be able to look at the issue from a completely different angle. Complaints or so-called tickets in call centers are issues that are to be taken care of with due diligence. For this purpose call centers constitute ticketing system.

There are a few guidelines that need to be kept in mind by companies when dealing with a ticketing (complaint) system:

There is to be a dedicated support system for dealing with customer complaints. They are to be available 24/7 which highly depends on the kind of industry and the product the company deals with. The support team should be able to identify the issue and the root cause of the issue. The system should be able to extract the specific issue rather than a generic overview.

The criticality of each issue differs and therefore there need to be different levels of support established in the system to cater to each issue according to the priority and criticality. The supervisor should be given the authority to delegate or re-delegate the complaint to respective support levels.

Confirming the customer or keeping the customer in the loop is very important when it comes to complaints. Automated triggered mails are to be sent to the customer along with their reference or case ID. The support system is to be responsive when in dealing with customers encountering issues with the company system. Therefore each interaction made by the customer should be subsequently counter responded. The First Reply Time (FRT) is of prime importance in satisfying the customer encountering grievances because  quick replies result in more successful customer service interactions and slow FRTs lead to lower satisfaction scores.

Front-end should be able to process the information on the status of the complaint in the course of its life-cycle. This is important because customers contact the front end to inquire about the status of their complaint, and therefore they are to be able to access real-time information on the complaint status. For this purpose, proper integration between the front-end and back-end support teams are to be established to maintain seamless communication pathways.

The customers are to be informed that their issue is in the course of being resolved and once the case is resolved the system needs to confirm with the customer about the resolution and ask the customer to generate feedback.

Support teams are to able to view the volume of each issue, the duplication of issues and group similar issues and analyze the impact and root cause of each type of issue. For this purpose, real-time reporting standards are to be implemented.

A support ticket system might seem perplexing but through the use of a checklist, the process can be uncomplicated and can also assure the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. An example of a checklist is shown in the image below. Here optimization of custom fields for the customers to extract specifics on the issue, programming software to send alerts to the support team respective to the criticality of the issue, defining an action plan to resolve the issue and assessing the effectiveness of the system periodically to reassure the system is flawless are used as factors.

A complaint should never be ignored by an organization because research has shown that resolving a customers complaint will quite often turn him into a loyal customer or even brand advocates. Simply put, they become more profitable. Since resolving such issues are crucial to organizations, the presence of a robust contact center solution would make the process easier with less effort, time and cost profiting the organization with satisfied or possibly delighted customers.

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