Handling passenger complaints within SLAs

29th April 2019

Train companies are required by the ORR to provide a full response to 95% of complaints within 20 working days. According to their annual consumer report, whilst 11 rail companies consistently met this requirement over a 12-month period, 12 didn’t. Handling complaints quickly and effectively can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to resource appropriately and manage all the related information.

But ultimately, handling complaints to a high standard is incredibly important. It’s not unusual to hear of a customer whose complaint was handled so well that they became one of the company’s biggest advocates – even if the complaint wasn’t necessarily resolved in their favour. The way you handle complaints can either strengthen or damage your reputation. According to the same ORR report, only 29% of rail passenger complainants were satisfied with the complaints process.

When it comes to complaint handling, a great process supported by your CRM system underpins quick and effective outcomes, and customer satisfaction.

Train Your Staff Well in Your CRM System

A great CRM system is vital for a slick complaints handling process, but even the best CRM system won’t help if your teams don’t understand how to get the most out of it. Comprehensive staff training in your CRM software, accounting for the particular configuration of your system, can help ensure that complaints are resolved in a timely, effective manner – improving customer satisfaction and saving your team a great deal of time in the process.

Complaints can be directed straight to the relevant team through the CRM system, and all data involving the customer and any past interactions are easily viewable by the member of staff taking on the complaint – allowing far more effective management of customer relationships. Progress in handling the complaint is tracked, making it straight forward for all staff involved, and allowing a resolution to be reached within a shorter time period.

Emphasise the Importance of Communication

No matter how sophisticated your systems or effective your processes, reaching a successful resolution with your customer hinges on effective communication.

The expectations of the customer will need to be managed regarding the time it’s likely to take to resolve the issue, and the process that will be followed to do so. But perhaps most important of all to customer experience is that they feel supported and valued throughout the experience, which requires that personal touch.

A CRM system will provide a number of the tools you need to tailor communication to that particular customer. Contact data, communication preferences, summaries of previous exchanges and any additional information can all be stored in one place, allowing for more effective communication, which is likely to result in a better outcome for both parties. After all, a customer’s emotional response to such an experience impacts greatly on the loyalty they feel towards your company.

Learn from Previous Complaints

The ORR states that a good complaints procedure should lead to continuous improvement, allowing the root causes to be addressed – reducing future complaints. Collating all complaints within a centralised CRM system allows any trends to be identified.

Of course, making improvements which result in a reduction in future complaints has a huge advantage to your company in a number of ways – most notably, more happy customers and time saved for your team. There’s an additional benefit; a customer who’s aware that their complaint led to an improvement in service feels both heard and more trusting, and is far more likely to return.

In summary, there’s no doubt that CRM systems greatly improve complaint resolution times, and the quality of customer service that your staff are able to provide, resulting in a far more positive experience for both your train operating company and your passengers.

If you’re interested in discussing how a tailored CRM system could help your TOC, please contact us here.

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