Documenting Customer Complaints (Records)

#1
Hi,

I am new to this company where their complaint process is absolutely not working. They do have a SOP and form in place but most of the time they don't end up using it unless the Quality Manager opens and documents complaints that gets forwarded to via email.

Technical Services will receive the complaint via email, phone call and they would use some database (not validated or no audit trail) to enter the details and respond back and forth to customer. They will forward this email then to QA and that's it. No one from Technical Services or CS initiates the complaint or takes the ownership of it.

QA may/may not document the complaint using the controlled form but that's about it. The investigation, root cause analysis and corrective actions is all considered QA's responsibilities. Lots of time, there is a technical expertise that need to be involved such as Technical Services or R&D for the root cause analysis but no one wants to take the ownership and sign or put their name on it. Most of the time they choose to not document anywhere on a released form but just update notes in the database.

I am trying to change this process and having Technical Services and CS to start initiating the complaints using the complaint form but I may get some resistance. How do I convince them to start documenting these complaints rather than just using some database. By, the way - CS doesn't even document these in the database. They prefer to respond only by emails.
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
You may want to order and review ISO 10002. It is an ISO Standard for handling complaints. Here is what it addresses:

“This International Standard provides guidance for the design and
implementation of an effective and efficient complaints-handling process for all
types of commercial or non-commercial activities, including those related to
electronic commerce.”


This might help you. Just my opinion.
 
#3
I might take a different approach. What kind of complaints are these? Are they ones where the customer expects a root cause and corrective action? Or something more general like "your product/service stinks?" If a customer wants the corrective action, dump it into your corrective action system. However, if the complaints are just general in nature, ie; annoyances, I would do a pareto chart. Bring the chart to a weekly meeting or management review, or something and discuss. You may see some trends or multiple complaints in a single area -- that will give you something to work on (rather than getting overwhelmed with a bunch of small stuff).
 

Pjservan

Involved In Discussions
#4
Why force the use of a form? What is wrong with the database? Can you make the database work better required information is required there instead?
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#5
How do I convince them to start documenting these complaints rather than just using some database.
First and foremost, without top management involvement and real commitment, this dysfunction will never end. Once top management realizes how strategic customer satisfaction AND feedback is, they should raise the function to a level where the organization perceives it as a value added activity and NOT "having to deal" with irate and whining customers.

In a typical consumer goods context, it costs much less to maintain a customer than to acquire a new one, so, strategically, top management should be interested in keeping as much as possible of the customer base you currently have. Further, customer feedback, positive and negative should give the organization TREMENDOUS insight on product performance and features, including future upgrades. Most organizations STRUGGLE mightly to get customer perceptions. So, having customers willing to share their experiences with you is priceless, as long as you capture and manage the information appropriately.

So, all in all, unless the leadership of the organization recognizes this function as something critical and strategic for the business success, there are no forms, processes, emails, databases, etc. that will fix the dysfunction. If and when they recognize the importance of having an effective customer interface function, there are numerous applications that can assist in capturing and managing customer feedback.

If you want more meaningful feedback, you need to provide more context about the product and the organization. Something that could work for a global medical device manufacturer would not fit well for a small software developer, for example.

Good luck.
 
#6
Hi,

I am new to this company where their complaint process is absolutely not working. They do have a SOP and form in place but most of the time they don't end up using it unless the Quality Manager opens and documents complaints that gets forwarded to via email.

Technical Services will receive the complaint via email, phone call and they would use some database (not validated or no audit trail) to enter the details and respond back and forth to customer. They will forward this email then to QA and that's it. No one from Technical Services or CS initiates the complaint or takes the ownership of it.

QA may/may not document the complaint using the controlled form but that's about it. The investigation, root cause analysis and corrective actions is all considered QA's responsibilities. Lots of time, there is a technical expertise that need to be involved such as Technical Services or R&D for the root cause analysis but no one wants to take the ownership and sign or put their name on it. Most of the time they choose to not document anywhere on a released form but just update notes in the database.

I am trying to change this process and having Technical Services and CS to start initiating the complaints using the complaint form but I may get some resistance. How do I convince them to start documenting these complaints rather than just using some database. By, the way - CS doesn't even document these in the database. They prefer to respond only by emails.
Fierst, involvement of top management, also be sure the way is managing now, is easy and practical?, maybe is not too easy, and is the reason is not used.
Also the complaint , according to the problem, is the action taken.
You are not going find a root cause for everything, even sometimes complaints are rejected because don't apply.
My two cents
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#7
I'll agree with Sidney, unless it's of value to the people that steer the boat and write the checks you're wasting your time and would probably be better of doing a quality audit of the floor tiles or parking lot stripes.
 


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