How to reach a pre-agreed resolution with a customer

Written by Joseph Cooper
27 Mar 2023

Industry data shows that change of supply, billing, and read dispute complaints require further actions to resolve the issue, often requiring the support of a back-office or a Resolution Manager. This hand off makes it extremely difficult for a Front Line Customer Adviser to reach an agreement with a customer on first contact, and could possibly take weeks if not months to resolve.

What are the problems?

Having to constantly engage with the customer on each new development of a complaint can be a very time consuming process. Additionally, customers may not always answer and respond when a Customer Adviser calls, resulting in an increase in an inbound demand into call centres as the customer returns the missed call. This could potentially lead to another Complaint Manager trying to either deal with a query without any background information, or trying to retrieve the customer’s contact details from the Resolution Manager.

Other issues include:

  • Failures on the customer’s account, e.g. call back dates/times aren’t adhered to, which can result in poor service payments being applied to their account (exgratias)
  • Not being able to get in touch with the customer to agree with them the resolution of the complaint, which can lead to the customer likely to have their complaint closed to no contact and subsequently re-opened at a later date.

What are the solutions?

The main aim is to get complaints that have not been able to be resolved on first contact to be pre-agreed.

In order to achieve this pre-agreed resolution, you should identify what the customer is looking for as a resolution and review their account to understand what failures have taken place and how much compensation needs to be provided.

Next, identify the next steps and estimated time, agreeing with the customer how they would like to be notified once this is done. This may be through non-voice channels e.g. chat, social media, mobile and e-mail. Once these actions have been agreed with the customer, it is important to confirm they are happy for their complaint to be closed.

What are the benefits of pre-agreed resolutions?

Customer satisfaction will increase as the risk of a customer’s complaint being closed to no contact and subsequently re-opened at a later date will be reduced.

For yourselves, the processing time involved in a customer complaint will be shortened. There will also be a reduction in outbound and inbound calls into call centres and ex-gratia payments being applied to a customer’s account.

There are more ways to reduce the number and impact of complaints which will be covered later in this series of articles. Keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for our next article entitled ‘How managing a customer’s complaint effectively can lessen the risk’. This article highlights if a pre-agreement is not appropriate, the use of an established no contact process could be implemented to allow the customer to accept the resolution.

If you would like to find out more about our complaints consultancy service, contact Joseph Cooper, Wade Robertson, or Ian Barker.

Joseph Cooper

Joseph supports our Retail clients to improve their operational processes and business performance.

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