Definition Customer Complaint - Definition of Customer Complaint



Can anyone please inform of where I can find a formal official definition of a customer complaint?


Fully vaccinated are you?
A Customer Complaint is any communication a customer has with your company in which 'displeasure' is expressed. Bear in mind not every customer complaint is valid.

David Guffey

We have chosen to use the term "Customer Concern". A Customer Concern may or may not be a "complaint", but it does need attention. I guess this goes along with our philosophy that we "team" with our customers. It is to our mutual benefit to arrive at solutions so THEIR customers are satified. (Does this make sense out there?)


Fully vaccinated are you?
A thought:

<< From: "Hale, Richard" haler --

Can anyone provide me with example policies or procedures for handling
customer complaints? >>

From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 09:13:14 -0600
Subject: Re: Customer Complaint Procedure /Hale/Mewborn
From: "Mewborn, Shawn" SHAWNMEWBORN --

This may not be what you are looking for - but here are the basics of our system.

We set up a web-site for taking complaints. We publish this location at all customer meetings and through printed materials sent to customers. In addition, all account reps tell their clients about the site. For those clients still w/o internet access, a phone call to your account rep takes care of it since the account reps can enter a complaint into the same system through an intranet site.

The web-site automatically emails our Help Desk Manager (2 people back him up).

As a client you receive a response within one business day indicating your complaint has been received (by help desk) and forwarded to the appropriate party for resolution. You will receive either a resolution or status update (for more significant issues) within five business days. The automated system prompts the person responsible for the complaint to respond or the complaint is escalated to their boss, and then to their boss, etc. until resolution is complete.

We then group and track the data to look for trends and corrective actions.

Hope this helps.

Shawn Mewborn

Jim Biz

Define Customer Compalint??

I have a client - who's top management is dis-satisfied with the current method of reporting customer complaints....

Currently he viewes any information from the customer that is called in concerning
a) nonconforming dimensions (returns OR scrap at the customers site)
b) delivery (too early-too late)
c) any Packaging/shipment timing issue that the customer has asked for internal corrective actions on.

THE TOP MANAGEMENT folks have said they dis-agree with these criteria, and has asked that he "redefine what a customer complaint is"

Their viewpoint is that unless the issue involves "Parts" and unless the issue is a cost above $200 - or the viewpoint of the customer is deemed "unfair reporting" it should not be recorded as an official complaint.

Any thoughts?? on "Defining what is an "Acceptable customer complaint"???


M Greenaway

The organisation should be interested, from a continuous improvment point of view, in customer satisfaction - to which a measure of dis-satisfaction (complaints) lends a hand.

If they wish to manipulate the figures so that it actually paints a false picture of customer satisfaction then they run the risk of losing business. The choice is theirs !

Aaron Lupo

JMHO, but ANY expression of disatisfaction should be considered a customer complaint. Yes some of them may be unfounded and require not actions, however, if you see the same unfounded complaint appearing more often this should trigger you to take action and investigate the situation further. We all know that customers call up and complain about the silliest things sometimes. Gathering all this information from you clients allow you to trend and analyze, which should also lead to some improvements.


Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
My organization classifies a Customer complaint under one of four headings:

- Service
- Quality
- Invoicing
- Pricing

Further unto this, a complaint is deemed to be either a "major" or a "minor".

We have a document called a "Nonconformance Guidelines Matrix" which states the criteria for a complaint to be either a major or a minor and under which heading.

At review, we look at all pending Customer Complaints greater than 60 days old and anything over 14 days older that does not have an update. This is to help ensure a timely response. We do not review ALL Customer Complaints!!!

We also graph the data for all four headings and look for trends. If, for example, invoicing suddenly assumes an adverse trend, we analyze why. In one case, where this was a true situation, it was deemed to be lack of proper training to a new employee. Action was taken and the numbers resumed their usual status.

Now, with the new Standard, we will not only be looking at these numbers for Customer Complaints, but responses on our Customer Surveys (good, bad, and ugly). Actions will be generated based upon the analysis of the Customer Surveys...where practical. For example, the feeling is that if we receive a lot of responses stating that our price is Excellent, this could mean that we're actually charging much less than our competitors and losing potential profit. In this case, we'll be satisfied if pricing is deemed to be "average" or even "slightly higher than others" as we feel we produce a product of a higher quality than our competitors.

I suppose that last paragraph basically has me repeating what MG said..."The choice is theirs." But be realistic with it. Ignoring a Customer's feedback could line you up to lose them.

Why not set up a system where all Customer complaints are recorded, but only certain ones are reported (similar to my organizations set-up). We don't find it to be cumbersome.

M Greenaway

Well said.

What is important is what is a complaint in the eyes of the customer - not what we determine it to be by our own 'criteria'.

E Wall

Just Me!
Trusted Information Resource
Customer Satisfaction

This is some guidance received from our registrar (DNV) on 8.2.1. It is a bit long, but hopefully will help out:
The old adage of "no news is good news" as related to customer complaints is not enough to satisfy this particular requirement. As an example, think of the last time you had a hotel stay or a visit to a restaurant and the visit did not meet your expectations or needs. Did you always complete a complaint card to let the establishment know of its shortcomings? In many cases, we find that customers will choose not to complain but rather accept the product and/or service that did not quite meet their needs and then move on to another supplier. For this reason, it is essential that the organization takes a proactive role in determining the level of customer satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction and feed it into the management review process to facilitate continual improvement.

The system utilized for obtaining customer satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction can come in many forms. Some organizations choose to have independent surveys performed while others may opt for focus groups from their customer base, customer visits, and/or customer satisfaction surveys. Whatever method is employed should capture the information about the product or service that is important to the customer. This will in many cases, entail an analysis of many aspects of the company's performance from initial contact with the organization, through design and manufacture, and ultimate delivery of the product in a timely fashion.

It is also entirely possible that an organization could use external sources of information for monitoring their performance. There exist today a number of independent surveys that are conducted and this information can prove to be invaluable in monitoring performance.

Additional examples of sources of information on customer satisfaction:

Customer Complaints
Direct communication with customers
Questionnaires and surveys
Report from consumer organizations
Reports in the media
Sector studies
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