Using customer complaints to your advantage: five ways in which a centralised CRM can turn things around

Tanya Sewell
Tanya Sewell

Whether you’re a not-for-profit charity relying on continued member support or a commercial company operating on a subscription basis, it’s essential to maintain strong client relationships for success. Your members are the driving force behind your business, so it’s important to keep them happy – be it through frequent communication, engaging events, or small signs of appreciation for their custom. Nevertheless, dealing with customer complaints is equally as crucial when it comes to maintaining your reputation and encouraging future interactions.

A recent study on consumer behaviour revealed that only one in 26 dissatisfied customers would make a direct complaint. The rest would simply leave in silence, seeking out your competitors, instead. It’s therefore critical that you address any complaints you do receive as efficiently – and publicly – as possible, especially given that it’s not just direct custom you stand to lose. Indeed, 13% of unhappy clients would share their negative experiences with at least 15 other people. This knock-on effect is only enhanced by the fact that, in the digital age, bad reviews can be seen or heard by anyone, influencing multiple decisions on whether or not to engage with your business.

Thankfully, with the right tools, procedures, and processes in place, it’s perfectly possible to use customer complaints to your advantage – not only repairing valuable existing relationships but also in generating new ones.

The importance of a centralised CRM

Transferring all your membership data into one single customer relationship management (CRM) system is fundamental to resolving customer complaints quickly. In fact, in addition to ensuring all relevant member information can be accessed easily and efficiently, it helps your team to take a pre-determined course of action, for clearer, more positive results. That said, here are our top five reasons why a single source of truth is the answer to all your customer complaint woes:

1. Save time and effort

Storing all your data in the same place is a more efficient way of managing things. Rather than wasting time searching multiple systems and waiting for a response from members of other departments (which could take days if communicating via email), employees will be granted immediate access to the data they need, when they need it. This allows them to spend more time proactively engaging with the customer, who will appreciate prompt action when it comes to resolving the situation at hand. With a more productive team and more satisfied customers as a result, it’s a clear win-win situation!

2. Gain clarity and insight

When you work with several different CRMs at once, employees often resort to transferring data into separate Excel sheets. This wastes precious time and also increases the chances of human error, resulting in even angrier members wanting to know why you don’t have the answers. What’s more, scattered information can lead to confusion, as it’s not always clear whether the same person is being referred to across systems. Prevent key information from getting missed by storing all data in one, easy-to-manage place. You’ll know exactly who your members are, when they joined and which products and services they currently interact with, enabling you to respond to their queries with confidence, clarity, and precision. What better way to resolve potential complaints that could otherwise translate into a complete loss of custom?

 3. Ensure an appropriate response

When all your data is stored in one place, employees will feel more confident, safe in the knowledge that they have access to all the information they could possibly need to successfully resolve a complaint. This also allows them to focus on giving an appropriate response. In fact, you could record previous solutions offered to customers in the system, which can then be used as templates for future action. This ensures that your company responds to the same type of incident in the same way across the board, regardless of when or where it happened. This creates a perception of fairness, which is imperative when it comes to successful complaint management. In fact, if your company can use it’s centralised CRM to develop a solid complaint-handling strategy, the general public is likely to consider you a fair, responsive business, which will only serve to further enhance your positive reputation – a far cry from the offending party at the receiving end of a customer complaint.

4. Encourage collaboration across departments

When information is siloed in different systems, it can be difficult for an employee in one department to access data stored by another. This proves frustrating for customers, who don’t want to have to call a different number to get through to the right person after already waiting. Cross-departmental data access helps to make your complaint-handling processes more efficient, as information can be accessed by anyone in the company at any given time, provided they have the right permissions.

Customers that have interacted with more than one service are also less likely to feel frustrated if you use a centralised data-management system. They see you as one single company and won’t understand why one department doesn’t know about their interactions with another. With a centralised CRM, you’ll have complete data insight, with access to your members’ full histories, including any conversations held with your company and any subscriptions to your products. As a result, you’ll be able to respond to their complaints appropriately, without things escalating due to a lack of knowledge.

5. Get more satisfied customers

Sometimes, customers will request access to the data you hold on them. In fact, Article 15(4) of the GDPR states that they have the right to obtain a copy of the personal and supplementary information you have stored on them in your system. Having a single CRM makes compliance with this regulation so much simpler. It also means that you can easily identify any touch points that clients have already had with your company. This goes a long way towards safeguarding against future complaints, particularly if the trends established in your single source of truth reveal common reasons for disengaging with your business. For instance, if, after analysing your data, you notice that many members leave you because they’re not sure how their money is being used, you can set up reminders to inform current members on the outcome of their funding via a regular newsletter, which should keep them happy and less likely to complain in the future.

An effective data strategy

Of course, it’s not just a case of replacing your current CRM with a single source of truth. You’ll also need to design and implement an effective data strategy to improve engagement and ensure that employees know what to do with the data they have access to. This includes providing training on data compliance.

It’s also essential that you get everyone on board, particularly if you have longstanding employees who may feel some resistance to technological change.

How Equantiis can help

At Equantiis, we can help you transfer to a single source of truth, ensuring that the technology we provide is the best for your team and current working system. We also assist with staff training, in addition to teaching you how to analyse your data to identify key trends, using these findings to generate additional custom. Don’t get bogged down in a sea of negative complaints. Take back control and turn things around with our comprehensive data-strategy solutions.

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More about the author

Tanya Sewell
Tanya Sewell Executive Consultant