Are Your Service Calls Hidden Complaints?

Published on:

May 26, 2021

Hidden Complaints

Think about the average day of one of your call advisors or customer service advisors.

How much of it is taken up with service calls? A quarter? Half? More?

In our experience from working across various industries and with many businesses, for the average business around half of their calls are service calls. In some instances, it’s even more.

By service calls, we mean any of the calls that didn’t need to be a call. This could be queries that could’ve been answered on product pages but weren’t, requests for updates that weren’t given or any number of small issues or queries that customers call up with.

Now think how much more productive your business could be if you cut your amount of service calls in half.

Instead of your call advisor's time being taken up with these calls, they could dedicate their time to more productive and creative endeavours to grow your business. This could be chasing up leads, improving your customer service or any number of other productive tasks.

As business productivity experts, we think businesses need to change the way they think about service calls and see them the way we see them — as hidden complaints.

What are Hidden Complaints?

Like we said in the introduction, the reason for a service call can vary hugely. But they all have one thing in common — they needn’t have happened in the first place.

For example, a customer calls up wanting to change an appointment. It seems like it’s an inevitable service call. But the company could have provided online services that allowed customers to do this themselves to eliminate the need for a service call and free up call advisors.

What we’re getting at is simple: for almost any service call, there’s a simple solution a company could have implemented to prevent it happening in the first place.

That’s why we believe all service calls are hidden complaints or informal complaints. Customers are pointing out some flaw - however big or small - of your customer experience.

How to Resolve Hidden Complaints

So, what should you do to resolve informal complaints?

It all begins with analysing your calls, whether this is manually or with call analysis software. We’d recommend the latter because it will not only save you valuable time, but advanced call analysis software will be able to identify patterns in your service calls that you might not.

Once you identify these patterns, you can start identifying the solutions to resolve them. For example, if you have a high amount of service calls about bookings or appointments, you know you need to improve your online services around this aspect of your business so customers are empowered to self-serve.

Companies who review and analyse these service calls and take the action to implement changes to resolve informal complaints continuously are the companies who outdo their competitors. Not just in regard to the customer experience they provide, but in their business productivity and business profitability too.

3 Steps to Fewer Informal Complaints

Besides call analysis software, you can implement a 3 step process to ensure you’re dealing with fewer hidden complaints. It goes like so:

  1. Listen to your frontline staff
  2. Utilise customer feedback
  3. Take action

Step 1: Listen to Your Frontline Staff

By your frontline staff, we mean your employees who are actually dealing with your service calls on a daily basis.

They’re the ones who know your businesses biggest strengths and weaknesses. They know what your customers love and value, and what they don’t.

So many businesses are still stuck in the dated command-and-control hierarchy where new implementations and changes come from the top down. These changes often sound great in principle, but in practice they wreak havoc for customers and frontline staff. 

It’s because this business structure simply doesn’t work.

For the best ideas and changes, you need to change the structure to a flat organisation where ideas can flow freely from your frontline staff to the CEO. These are the ideas for customer experience changes that will set you ahead of competitors.

Step 2: Utilise Customer Feedback

Of course, it’s not just your staff you should listen to, you should also listen to your customers by collecting feedback regularly.

This feedback can be in more structured forms like real time feedback or customer surveys, but it also refers to listening to the hidden desire behind a service call.

For example, if a customer calls you asking for an update, you shouldn’t write it off as just that. What that customer is actually asking for is a process in place to update them regularly, whether that’s through automated texts or emails.

Step 3: Take Action

There’s little use in listening to your staff and your customers if you don’t then take action from it.

So many companies are guilty of this. In particular, asking for customer feedback then ignoring anything that isn’t positive.

Companies need to take the various feedback and come up with plans to address it. This means reviewing internal processes and updating as necessary, improving phone skills, updating software to more advanced capabilities, hiring additional staff to reduce wait times or any number of other possibilities.

Regardless of what the resolution of the informal complaint is, management needs to be taking the actions to ensure the feedback isn’t simply forgotten.

Awardaroo can Help

Service calls are hidden complaints, and these informal complaints cost your business valuable time and resources which could be better put towards more productive tasks.

We tackle this exact problem within our business improvement programme. We review everything, from your service calls to your business operations and give you the framework and tools you need to change them for good; ultimately helping your business become more profitable and productive. Find out more.

About Paul Freudenberg

Paul Freudenberg is a business productivity coach and consultant with a focus on operational excellence delivering improved profitability and business performance, and Founder of Awardaroo in 2005. Paul has set the mission of Awardaroo to help increase the business productivity of 10M businesses one behaviour at a time to amplify profitability, create a greener planet and build a better world by 2030. Connect on LinkedIn


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