What are the rules around handling customer complaints?

Customer complaints can be a difficult topic. Staff tend to dread dealing with them and so complaints are often mishandled. The reality is that a customer bringing a complaint to your business is looking for a solution – and willing to be convinced. There is an opportunity for the business to learn and grow from complaints if they are handled in the right way. Handling complaints can be tricky, but software can often make this process much simpler, especially for companies working within the insurance sector.

Be receptive to a complaint, not hostile

The first step in any complaints handling process is simply to apologise. This demonstrates acceptance that the customer believes they have a genuine grievance and that the company will take this seriously. Once the situation is calm, it is easier to report the complaint, which you are required to do as a regulatory requirement of the FCA.

Listen to everything a customer has to say

It’s very easy for the person listening to a complaint to slip into being defensive. Especially so if the customer is angry or being aggressive when making the complaint. The most important thing to do at this stage is to ask a question, such as “please tell me more about what’s happened so that we can try to work this out” and then stop talking. All too often in customer service we don’t really listen but just wait for our turn to speak. Listening now will ensure you have all the information about what has happened and how the customer feels this has affected them.

Identify whether the customer has a solution in mind

Often, when customers bring complaints to businesses, they already have an idea of how they would like the situation to be resolved. It’s important to identify these expectations now so that you know what they are hoping for from the process – to see if these can be met by the range of available outcomes and, if not, to ensure that expectations are properly managed.

Suggest a solution

Whether it’s a compromise involving the customer’s suggested idea or something else, putting forward a solution is key at this stage. Even more crucial will be verifying with the customer that the solution works for them. If not, then you’ll need to go back and find something that makes everyone happy.

Set out next steps and take ownership of the issue

Once a solution is agreed then the path to that solution needs to be clearly laid out. It’s important to show the customer exactly what steps are involved in getting from the discussion just had, to the point at which the solution to the complaint has been put into place. It’s crucial that the complaint doesn’t get forgotten, and that someone is responsible for taking ownership of it and ensuring the process is completed.

A final response

Whether or not the issue has been resolved it’s vital to get back to the customer. This could be to confirm that the expected steps have been completed or to highlight anything else that has arisen. Customer complaints handled with honesty and transparency always have a better outcome than those that are ignored, fudged or forgotten.

Whatever the outcome with the customer, insurance brokers are legally required to report any complaints that they receive to the FCA. Dealing with complaints and following them up is required of your insurance company, but this can be a tedious and complex process depending on the actions taken and the outcome for the customer and your business.

This is why we have developed our software, which makes dealing with complaints easier for the insurance sector. Insurance brokers can assist with reporting complaints to make the process simple, fast and to give peace of mind that you’ve acted in a fully-compliant way. Get in touch with Mandon Software today to find out more.

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About Us

Mandon Software is a UK-based company founded in 1999. We work with customers in a wide range of insurance lines, from marine to healthcare. We are experienced in working in the Lloyd's market and pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer services at all times.