TRADE LEADER’S GUIDE: Are Customer Complaints a Good Thing and How Much Does an Underrated Complaint Cost - Part 1

Are complaints a good thing or an enemy of the trader? Is it a bad sign that complaints are piling up and how much attention should be paid to it? Will the company profit if it responds with a one-time categorical rejection of a customer's claims or loses more than it thinks it wins? No matter what the answer to this question, the bigger a commercial business, the more complaints there are from customers. Every trader is looking for a way to deal with their customers' complaints, but only the good ones know what the best practices are, and the market leaders make an effort to walk the last mile with the most dissatisfied customers. What is the reason for doing so, you will learn in a series of publications on dealing with customer complaints, the most common mistakes in this process and how cooperation with the ARS NAIS Center can serve as a good practice for market leaders.

The process of working on such a dispute is complex and challenging. Research shows a number of mistakes that are made in it. In a series of several publications we will introduce you to the most common of them.

Every complaint received in practice initiates a dispute resolution procedure between a dissatisfied customer and a trader whose product or service does not meet the expectations of this customer. The most common mistakes in it can be grouped into two categories: problems related to the human factor and problems related to internal company organization, ie. gaps related to systems, process management and delegation of rights and responsibilities.

Problems related to the human factor

These are people who handle complaints and participate in resolving disputes with dissatisfied customers.

  • People working on dispute resolution are often inexperienced, but are expected to take an active part in negotiations and make decisions.

Traders need to invest in training staff who interact with customers, including dissatisfied, angry, and those who report unpleasant things to the company. It is not easy to work with such clients. The work environment is difficult and unprepared people may not be able to withstand the stress. In addition, in the event of an unfavorable development of the dispute, escalation may be necessary. At the higher level, the employee must not only be competent, but also authorized to finalize the case. If the escalation does not reach the company's resources, traders can use the services of out-of-court dispute resolution centers, such as the NAIS Center, where specially trained professionals, mediators, assist the disputants in the negotiations. In our center, mediators are not only mandatory certified and trained, but are also carefully selected to be of maximum use to the disputants. The role of the mediator is to identify the problem well, to be able to modulate the emotions of the participants, to orient them in the real parameters of the situation, to stimulate the parties to propose solutions in order to seek mutually beneficial agreement. The mediator does not offer a direct solution and does not award one. Mediation is a completely voluntary procedure in which the parties themselves control the end result.

  • Complaints are often dealt with only on the problem stated, without paying enough attention to details such as nuances of speech and the emotions behind them.

NAIS mediators are trained to work with the emotions of the disputants. They can help the other party to understand and understand them better, so that the dispute is not resolved on a personal basis, but the reasons for them are identified. In the interface of the chat space, where the negotiations take place, a library of icons has been added, working with letter styles so that the emotions of the parties can be expressed.

  • Often, complaint handling staff may be pressured to cover ambitious company goals, such as the number of cases closed in a minimum amount of time.

Even in such a situation, when the client may remain dissatisfied with the development of his complaint, due to haste with its completion, if he is given the opportunity to apply to the Center for ADR NAIS, the mistakes made in the initial resolution of the dispute can be compensated. The mediator will accurately identify the problems of the parties and will focus their attention on finding common interests and working together to find a solution. The procedure may not end with such.

"One of the most common reasons for premature termination or inability to reach an agreement in a procedure is the parallel filing of a complaint to the CPC. This happens due to the clients' ignorance of how to escalate a complaint, when it is impossible to get along with the company on the first try."

  • Different staff members may transfer the complaint to each other and provide divergent information to the complainant. This leads to confusion and even more negative attitude towards the trader.

Such a thing may prompt the client to abandon the product / service or a desire to escalate the case. As a result, he may turn to state bodies and institutions such as the CPC or, worse, file a lawsuit. The good practice in this case is for the client to be directed through the site or the trader's employees to a dispute resolution body. If the body works online, as is the case with the NAIS ADR Center, this will allow the complainant to find his way quickly and be picked up in time by a mediator. Another advantage is that, so he will contact only one representative of the company. The appointed representative of the trader in the body is the final instance of the complaint and there is no danger of receiving a referral to other employees or confusion with divergent information.

Follow the next publications from this series, dedicated to the best practices in dealing with complaints, from the section "Trade Leaders' Guide" on the NEWS page of, as well as in the profiles of NAIS on LinkedIn and Facebook. In the next publication we will look at the problems related to technical systems, process management and the delegation of rights and responsibilities, or in short, problems related to the internal organization.

Published on 03.04.2021 Back to news