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KPI of the Day – Customer Service Performance: # Complaints received

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complaints

Definition

Measures the volume of customer complaints received.

Purpose

It helps assess customer satisfaction, as dissatisfied customers are more likely to complain about their experience.

Recommendations

Top management should set an example for good complaint handling. Good complaint handling should be led from the top, focused on generating positive outcomes, while being fair and receptive towards customers’ needs.

Inadequate complaint handling includes maladministration and service failure that leads to unfair treatment and difficulties for the customer.

It is argued that, on average, a business will never hear from 96% of its unhappy customers. If a dissatisfied customer complains and his complaint is solved, this is likely to increase his satisfaction and moreover, he will tell other people about this resolution.

Nonetheless, it is better to receive complaints than not, because this can help a business address dissatisfaction. It can be difficult to correlate a single complaint with one particular aspect of the organization’s activity.

For example, in the hotel industry, complaints regarding quality of service (such as room service delay) are correlated with multiple processes engaged in delivering that service (kitchen activity, room service person’s performance etc.).

Best practices in complaints handling constitute of:

  • Accessibility – clear, easily understood and easily available information to consumers;
  • Responsiveness – proper registering of complaints in order to avoid delays or confusion for all parties;
  • Fairness and objectivity – use of independent monitoring, and consumer-relevant KPIs which measure not only input-output volumes and timeliness, but also levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with complaint handling, and with the outcomes of complaint resolution;
  • Effectiveness – rapid handling and resolution of complaints;
  • Accountability – taking ownership of complaints rates and handling outcomes;
  • Resources – adequately trained staff that handles customer complaints.

Registering low levels for this KPI may reflect high customer satisfaction. However, keep in mind that this can also be misleading, because some unsatisfied customers may have given up on the company’s services rather than submitting a complaint.


If you are interested in more Customer Service-related KPIs, smartKPIs.com subscriptions provide access to +500 KPI examples.

Our dedicated Library contains relevant resources to improve your KPI practices, and if you want to further improve your knowledge, feel free to explore our latest publications – The Sales and Customer Service KPI Dictionary and The Top 25 Customer Service KPIs – 2016 Extended Edition, or enroll in our Certified Customer Service Performance Professional course.

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