The nature of services is such that they are heterogeneous and are inseparable. In several service delivery processes, the service provider and the customer are usually involved simultaneously. Either for reasons bothering on content, process or recognition, complaints arise which require immediate handling before it results in conflict.
Customer Care Centers are therefore set up to deal with complaints and provide answers to customers. The 3L model for handling complaints at customer care centers has been very helpful. These are:-
(i) LISTEN: – Any organization that have its customer’s interest at heart must willingly create the infrastructure that can receive, understand and interpret customer grievances with highly trained customer care officers. The customer care environment should be cordial with well-trimmed and smart looking staff with basic data gathering tools like receiver pay phones, toll free phones, answering machines, computers and field staff that are highly mobile to respond to complaints. The basic training of these staff is patience, attentiveness and capacity to provide comfort to the complainant as they narrate ugly encounters and bitter experiences with the service or product. Listening is more than showing apathy. The will and readiness to react must be available.
(ii) LOOK: – Often complaints are made at customer care centers and are forgotten as soon as the complainant leaves. Noting infuriates a customer like making a complaint and getting no response. Worst still, the object of complaint was never looked into. Looking into customer concerns with the aim of finding solutions to their problems is the bedrock of efficient customer care programs. Therefore, it is unwise to dismiss complaints without finding out the reason behind the incidents. Every customer care center must have a team that specializes in looking into customer concerns and resolving same. Importantly, the customer should be communicated about findings arising from the complaint and actions taken to boost his/her confidence level. Looking at complaints and communicating actions taken to customers create a psychological state of recognition and good feelings to the customer.
(iii) LEARN: – There are lessons that can be gotten from every complaint. Sometimes, complaints act as feedback which helps the firm to redesign its service delivery program for better results. Learning from complaints also opens new opportunities and climate of friendship between the organization and its customers. Complaints should be logged in a database and analyzed periodically. This will reveal the “hotspots” of the business and areas that require greater attention. Results of such analyses are usually a reservoir of knowledge helpful in resolving customer concerns.