This paper reports the findings of the second phase of an on-going research project into complaint management in association with the Customer Service Network. The objective of this exploratory paper is to try to discover what constitutes best practice complaint management. This research took a grounded theory approach based on rich case studies of the five outstanding organisations identified in an earlier study. The five UK service organisations were a mix of public and private organisations and included a not-for-profit private heath insurance company, a telephone banking operation, a chamber of commerce, a general hospital and a high street bank. In all of these organisations complaints were given a very high profile with top-level management support. Both customers and staff were encouraged to complain and comment, and systems were put in place to make this as easy as possible. All comments were logged, tracked, analysed and were used to drive improvements through the organisations. The organisations had cultures that supported the reporting and sharing and solving of issues rather than one concerned with blame and hiding problems. They all understood not only the costs of dealing with complaints (financial and lost customers) but also the benefits to the bottom line through customer and staff retention and process improvement.
Johnston, Robert and Mehra, Sandy, "Best Practice Complaint Management" (2001). ICEB 2001 Proceedings (Hong Kong, SAR China). 99.