Transport and Travel supplement


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The Transport and Travel supplement to the British Standard (now replaced by the International Standard on Customer Satisfaction)

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Transport and Travel supplement

  1. 1. BSI Management Systems Travel & Tourism Supplement to the Complaints Management Specification CMSAS 86:2000 NO COPYING WITHOUT BSI PERMISSION EXCEPT AS PERMITTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW
  2. 2. Travel & Tourism Supplement Contents Part A Introduction and background Section 1 About this supplement 3 Section 2 Why complaint management is important 3 Section 3 How we know what’s actually going on 4 Section 4 The good practice checklist 5 Part B Managing complaints Section 5 Openness to hearing about dissatisfaction 6 Section 6 Clear complaints policy and processes 8 Section 7 Skilled and motivated complaint handling staff 10 Section 8 Elements of the process that affect all complaints 12 Section 9 Special factors affecting complaints from consumers 14 Section 10 Special factors affecting complaints from or via intermediaries 16 Section 11 Complaint escalation and the interface with regulatory bodies 18 Section 12 Gaining business benefit from complaints 20 Section 13 Understanding the customer experience of complaints 22 © BSI 12-2003 2
  3. 3. Travel & Tourism Supplement PART A – INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND 1 About this supplement This supplement is designed to help Travel and Tourism organisations get the most out of the BSI Complaints Management Specification (CMSAS 86:2000). The Specification sets standards for a complaint management system within any organisation against which an audit can be carried out to confirm that required standards are being met. However, the Specification is generic in terms of the type of business. This supplement and others in this series help interpret the Specification and its requirements for individual business sectors. We must be emphasize that this supplement only guides Travel and Tourism organisation’s interpretation of the Complaint Management Specification. You will need to convince yourself and the auditor that all requirements of the actual Specification have been met to achieve registration to CMSAS 86:2000. Each organisation will need to develop unique complaint processes, standards and systems that suit the nature of its business. This supplement shares some good practices that other organisations are employing both within the Travel and Tourism sector and outside it, but you must take this as input to your own techniques, not as a blueprint solution. We are convinced that this supplement provides high value support in planning and implementing your own complaint management activity and unlocking some of the many competitive advantages and business benefits available to organisations that manage complaints well. 2 Why complaint management is important Complaints are often seen as negative. How wrong can this be? Leading organisations are increasingly realising that a complaint is often a real expression of a customer’s desire to continue a relationship with your organisation despite the fact that something may have gone wrong. Customers may not even think of their enquiry as a complaint. Some organisations use terms other than ‘complaint’ to describe expressions of customer dissatisfaction. The principles, however, are the same and semantics cannot disguise the need to deal with customer dissatisfaction positively and effectively. Travel and Tourism customers may sometimes be committed to a policy or a contract, making it difficult to transfer their business elsewhere. But what about all the other travel products and services they will purchase in future? Customers have long memories whether bad experiences or good. What they quickly forget is mediocrity. The risk of losing a customer’s lifetime business because of a poorly handled complaint about just one of your products or services is high. Effective complaint management: Reduces the ‘Reputational Risk’ associated with publicity around badly handled complaints Improves customer confidence, satisfaction and ultimately loyalty Improves employee satisfaction as they can do the good job for customers that they want to do Better handled complaints lead to higher levels of loyalty Section 12 of this supplement looks specifically at how you can realise business benefits through effective complaint management. © BSI 12-2003 3
  4. 4. Travel & Tourism Supplement Carry out a search on the word ‘complaints’ on the Internet and you will get an idea of the breadth of coverage of the subject: from statistics; to computer systems; customer forums to people setting up websites just to complain about a single company. Trade, consumer and regulatory bodies, such as those listed below, are also becoming more focussed on complaints and how they are handled; Travel: • ATOL • IATA • ABTA • Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) • Transport for London (TfL) • Trading Standards Consumer bodies in the Travel industry: • Which? • Consumer Watch • Rail Passenger Committees • London Transport Users Committee Other bodies in the Travel industry: • Tourist Information Board Consumer Affairs Agency – country based e.g. US Consumer Office Escalated complaint handling - Travel and Transport: Airlines If air travel arrangements are ATOL protected, customers are covered against failures of the tour operator/agency. Air travel firms with ATOL have to provide the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) with financial guarantees. If the complaint is about firms not providing financial protection, the customer should complain to the CAA. ATOL or CAA d o not deal with issues surrounding flight/air holiday or once the customer has returned from the flight/air holiday. Airports The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) may be able to take up a complaint if the customer has exhausted the airports complaints procedure without resolution. AUC is the consumer watchdog for the airline industry. Holidays, Travel Agents & Tour Operators If the customer fails to resolve the complaint with a tour operator then they should contact the relevant trade association. Most tour operators and travel agents belong to an association, details of which should be given in the terms and conditions. ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), AITO (Association of Independent Tour Operators) are the bigger trade associations whose members should abide to their code of practice. ABTA provides an arbitration scheme for reconciliation of complaints between customers and tour operators/agencies. The findings from such an arbitration scheme are usually legally binding. © BSI 12-2003 4
  5. 5. Travel & Tourism Supplement Timeshare If a customer feels that the timeshare resort head office did not resolve a complaint satisfactorily, they have two options. If the timeshare resort is a member of the OTE, they will be able to advise the customer on ways to resolve it, including offering the use of their conciliatory service. If the timeshare resort is not a member of OTE, then the customer can complain to the Trading Standards Office. In all cases, if the complaint is still unresolved then the customer can get advice from the local Trading Standards Office. They will give free advice and may take up the complaint for the customer. Hotels and B&Bs If the complaint is to do with hygiene or general environmental health issues, the customer should contact the local Environmental Health Office for investigation. If your complaint is about other service related issues, for example billing, then the customer should contact the local Trading Standards Office. In all cases, if the complaint is still unresolved then customers can get advice from the local Trading Standards Office or Citizens' Advice Bureau. They will give free advice and may take up the complaint for the customer. Trains If a customer does not receive a satisfactory response from the train operator then they can contact the Local Rail Passenger Committee. These committees represent the rail passenger and can offer guidance and can mediate complaints between passengers and Train Operating Companies (TOCs). Complaining to the Rail Passenger Committee is called a Complaint Appeal. In all cases, if the complaint is still unresolved then customers can get advice from the local Citizens' Advice Bureau. Sea Travel All of the major shipping companies are members of the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), the trade association for this industry. If customers remain unsatisfied with the company's response then the PSA offers conciliation and/or arbitration services. This applies to holidays, which include sea travel, ferries and so forth. Complaints however should be referred by the company rather than by the customer so they may need to be prompted to do so. The PSA runs a consumer protection scheme as a safeguard against insolvency etc. For complaints concerning Caledonian MacBrayne there is statutory body the Caledonian MacBrayne Users Committee (CMUC) that deals with appeals. In all cases, if the complaint is still unresolved then customers can get advice from the local Trading Standards Office or Citizens' Advice Bureau. Taxis, Buses and Coaches For Taxis customers should complain to the relevant local licensing body (for example the Public Carriage Office in London, or Local Authorities Licensing Officer in other cases). For Buses and Coaches customers can have a complaint referred to the local Bus Appeals Body. These are run by the Confederation of Passenger Transport, the trade association for this industry. In all cases, if the complaint is still unresolved then customers can get advice from the local Citizens' Advice Bureau. Vehicle Hire Most Companies are members of the British Vehicle Leasing and Rental Association (BVLRA), the trade association for this industry, which has a code of conduct and offers a conciliation service for unresolved complaints. In all cases, if the complaint is still unresolved then customers can get advice from the local Trading Standards Office or Citizens' Advice Bureau. © BSI 12-2003 5
  6. 6. Travel & Tourism Supplement The regulatory framework is not static either. There will be changes in the framework over the forthcoming months and years that affect the way that complaints are managed and escalated. In addition, other standards bodies and quality registration organisations such as ISO, EFQM and Baldrige are taking complaint management very seriously when considering how well organisations are dealing with their customers. Even with this regulation, the standards set by the Travel and Tourism industry bodies can only be considered as minimum standards. To provide a best-in-breed complaint management capability and to use it as a competitive advantage, organisations need to do far more that the minimum. 3 How we know what’s actually going on One of the elements of this supplement is to share with you the degree of effort that the Travel and Tourism industry is putting into dealing with complaints. We can do this using information TM provided by QCi Assessment Ltd. from their CMAT (Customer Management Assessment Tool) approach. This assessment and benchmarking approach has been used by over 600 organisations globally to understand how they are currently managing their customers compared to best practise. It focuses on the delivered reality of people, process, systems and practices rather than management plans and intention. It provides a unique insight to what’s really happening. The assessment is against a wide model of customer Travel management and a wide mix Insurance of company types. The Other financial services statistics we use in the remaining sections of this Banks supplement are taken just Building societies from the section called Other sectors ‘Managing Dissatisfaction’ and just from Travel and Publishing and media Tourism Industry Motor companies. To put Retail this in context the overall scores for Managing Telecoms Dissatisfaction (where 100% Technology is best practice) for the various Energy Travel and Tourism Industry sectors are shown here against other sectors. 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 © BSI 12-2003 6
  7. 7. Travel & Tourism Supplement 4 The good practice checklist Each section of this supplement proposes good practices that can be adopted to deliver excellent complaint management as well as give the best possible chance of meeting the requirements of the specification. Not all of the proposed practices will be relevant in all situations but together they form a good start point for the set of practices that you need in place. In order to assess where your organisation is against these practices you can use each section in this supplement. In addition, you can use a new, free, on-line service launched by BSI in conjunction with the supplement. This service has been developed in conjunction with QCi Assessment Ltd who own TM the CMAT service explained in section 3. The service is easy to use and provides a quantitative indication of how well your organisation is currently delivering the good practices identified in this supplement. The service can be used as many times as you like, for different business units within your organisation. It is accessible at Looking even a bit more specifically at this sector, the following research data indicates how satisfied customers in the Travel and Tourism sector are, both overall and with the way their problems have been handled. This data comes from research data compiled by The Leadership Factor. Average Satisfaction IndexTM by industry 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Health 84.1% Financial services 81.3% Consumer service 79.1% Retail 78.6% Manufacturing 77.5% Travel and tourism 77.2% Business service 77.0% Public sector 76.2% Communication/utilities 74.4% IT 72.1% © BSI 12-2003 7
  8. 8. Travel & Tourism Supplement Note that through the use of an appropriate satisfaction index, it is possible to accurately compare across multiple sectors. In this case it indicates that Travel and Tourism as a sector is somewhat average in performance as perceived by customers. Average satisfaction with problem handling by industry (out of ten) 5 6 7 8 9 10 Health 8.67 Communication/utilities 7.75 Retail 7.58 Manufacturing 7.46 Business service 7.41 Financial services 7.37 Travel & tourism 7.22 IT 7.19 Public sector 6.79 Consumer service 6.29 In comparing satisfaction with problem handling, Travel and Tourism drops, unfortunately, a bit lower in the rankings. Clearly, in either view above there are opportunities for improvement as is the case with a number of other sectors identified above. © BSI 12-2003 8
  9. 9. Travel & Tourism Supplement PART B – MANAGING COMPLAINTS 5 Openness to hearing about dissatisfaction Every customer is justified in making a complaint to you. But you will not agree with all complaints and some customers may simply be looking for compensation. But most customers simply want the problem quickly resolved and research has clearly shown that as many as 50% (?) of complaining customers want any form of financial remedy in the Travel and Tourism industry. More worryingly, many customers cannot be bothered to complain and most will be reluctant to use a formal or official process. A customer who takes the time to complain and is confident that the recipient will take note and listen is a customer who wants to be loyal. An organisation with a high level of complaints might be open and responsive to customers rather than having a high level of customer dissatisfaction. A complaint that is escalated to senior people in the company, solicitors or even to a regulator is time consuming and may not be constructive. Escalation is often a result of a less than ‘open’ reaction to the complaint lower down the organisation and earlier in the process. One household name organisation changed its whole philosophy on Complaints Satisfaction complaint management. Instead of 200 targeting regions on reducing the number of complaints each quarter, it 150 changed to targeting an increase in the level of complaints. The number of 100 complaints nearly doubled but customer satisfaction increased 50 substantially as customers realised that their complaints were being dealt 0 with effectively. Q1 2001 Q2 2001 Q3 2001 Q4 2001 Q1 2002 Q2 2002 Q3 2002 Q4 2002 © BSI 12-2003 9
  10. 10. Complaint Management Specification requirements Your complaint management philosophy should be open and encourage customers to complain when things go wrong or their expectations are not being met.. Your organisation needs a culture of ‘accepting responsibility’ and ‘getting things right’. Your complaint process should be visible and easily accessible to customers who want to complain in person, by phone, in writing, by email or any other contact method they prefer to use. Avis has a Minicom service for the deaf that allows them easy access to Avis whenever they need it – 24 hours a day. You need to widely publicise information about how to complain in places such as: - Retail locations and offices - Renewal notifications - Product literature - Right-to-cancel notices - Websites - Call centres Also, subject to regulatory requirements around contractual language, you will need to provide help to customers with limited literacy skills and those requiring support in languages other than the normal operating language of your organisation. This might be achieved by directing them to organisations that can help them to complain. Good practice checklist Look for indicators of dissatisfaction before complaints occur and pre-empt them. Examples are early settlement enquiries or requests for the name of the Chief Executive. Encourage an ‘open and responsive’ attitude to complaints when they occur. A well-known automotive organisation assessed that for the 30,000 complaints that were being received at Corporate Customer Relations, there were actually 6 million problem experiences annually among their customer base. Many customers were failing to complain at all – instead just going to the competition at the next opportunity. Have a clear and wide definition of a complaint so that all staff know when to deal with customer contact using your complaint management process. Use consumer ‘education’ practices to reduce the number of unjustified complaints. A consumer services company analysed the ‘root cause’ of over 50,000 complaints. Less than 30% were due to a physical service failure or product shortcoming. More than 70% were due to a mismatch between what consumers thought they were buying into and what they actually got. After further analysis half of this misunderstanding was due the customer-facing staff (including sales people) not being clear on what the organisation was promising to consumers. Provide easy access to your complaints process - on every contact method you use to deal with customers and prospects. An organisation carried out an analysis of how comprehensive its complaint process was. It found that for each complaint that went through its formal head office complaint management process it could identify 28 indicators of dissatisfaction in its day-to-day dealings with customers. Half of these had NO COPYING WITHOUT BSI PERMISSION EXCEPT AS PERMITTED BY COPYRIGHT LAW
  11. 11. Travel & Tourism Supplement been identified at the local level but half had not been communicated to the organisation at all by the customers. Provide support in operating the complaints process to customers with limited literacy skills or limited language capability. Introduce targeting and reporting that encourages staff to record all complaints as a positive means of improving customer service How Travel & Tourism organisations are doing 55% of Organisations have senior management who demonstrate that complaint management is a critical business process. Only 21% can clearly demonstrate that they actively publish telephone numbers to use for complaining. Measures for success The following can be good indicators of the openness of your complaint management: The trend in the total number of complaints compared to the overall customer satisfaction level. Number of defecting customers who didn’t complain before leaving – If customers defect without even complaining then they probably have little faith in the complaint process. Number of complaints that are about the complaint process itself – As many as 70% of complaints can actually be due to frustration with not getting an earlier complaint dealt with. Poor attitude of staff towards the complaints process in staff attitude research – Staff can often provide a more candid view of the organisation than simple process measures. Proportion of complaints made to regulatory bodies where the organisation was not previously aware of the issue – If customers bypass an organisation and go straight to a regulator they probably have little faith in the vendor. © BSI 12-2003 11
  12. 12. Travel & Tourism Supplement 6 Clear complaints policy and processes Customers and staff want a complaints policy that is visible, clear and easy to use. Complaint management is one of those business areas where policy and processes absolutely need to be clearly documented and communicated. Informal policies and variable processes often cause more complaints than they help resolve. Even in organisations where the management style is more ‘free-flowing’ it is critical to have a high degree of formality and control around complaints. Complaints Management Specification Requirements You should have a documented complaints policy that is endorsed by senior management and is available to all staff, even those who do not deal directly with customers. It needs to be made available by means that are appropriate to the organisation and the staff. So it is not sufficient to simply make a hard-copy version of the policy available at head office. The policy should, for example, be available in the company intranet or emailed to all people on the email system. The complaints policy should clarify: - What type of contact is considered a complaint - The key points in the complaints management process - The relationship with legal requirements and regulatory bodies - The relationship with quality and service delivery objectives - The roles and responsibilities of all staff with respect to complaint management - Where to refer the complaint to It is also critical that the complaints policy and process documentation are kept fully up-to-date. Updates should take into account a wide range of input including customer research, staff input, input from intermediaries and comments and feedback from regulatory bodies. Clear targets for complain resolution timescales should be put in place covering the various stages of the complaint process (Acknowledgement, Initial Response, Final resolution etc.) Audits of the complaint process should be carried out periodically by staff who are as independent as possible from the activity that is being audited. The audits should provide information on whether the complaints management system fulfils the stated policy aims and that the system has been implemented effectively. Management should also monitor complaint management performance on an ongoing basis to identify areas of the business that could be improved. Monitoring can include: - Like for Like ie Complaint surveys related to sales revenue and transactions, in the same time period - Levels of customer satisfaction at how complaints were handled - How well the complaints management system meets it targets - Whether repeat problems are being identified and corrected - Complainant surveys - Establishing the relationship between complaints and sales revenue and/or reservations Good practice checklist Formally document your complaints policy. Ensure that all cross-border considerations are identified and considered in your complaint management policy. Make sure that there is explicit and visible senior management endorsement of the complaint policy and processes. © BSI 12-2003 12
  13. 13. Travel & Tourism Supplement A retailer requires all store managers personally to handle at least 10% of customer complaints, including contacting the customers. Store managers also spend at least one day a year dealing with complaints in the central customer service office. Document your complaint management processes in a way that assists in communication to staff and intermediaries. Make sure that every member of staff has easy access to the complaints policy and processes in a way that suits their location and way of working. Have a customer-facing version of your complaint policy that is offered to customers at an early stage of complaint. Seek input from internal staff and intermediaries on the operation of complaint processes and how these can be improved. Seek feedback from regulatory bodies involved in the escalation of customer complaints on how your policy and processes are operating. Make sure that the complaints policy sure that your complaints policy and processes are regularly reviewed and updated. Carry out periodic audits of your complaint management process using resources that are as independent as possible. Ensure effective recruitment and training as well a clear job descriptions. How Travel & Tourism organisations are doing Only 42% of organisations have a completely clear definition of what constitutes a complaint. Less than 19% report progress back to complaining customers during the process of dealing with the complaint. Measures for success The following can be good indicators of how clear your complaint policy and processes are: The number of complaints that are about the complaints process itself or that are escalated because of failures in the complaints process The level of ideas for improvement received from staff, intermediaries and regulators The level of senior management involvement in the review of complaints policies and of complaints management performance Regular reviews to the policy and procedures. Root cause analysis activity to prevent reoccurrence of problems. © BSI 12-2003 13
  14. 14. Travel & Tourism Supplement 7 Skilled and motivated complaint handling staff A clear policy and effective processes are a pre-requisite for good complaint handling but these are of very limited use if the staff that operate them do so half-heartedly or without the skills they need. The vast majority of your staff will want to do a good job for customers and will particularly want to help customers who are dissatisfied. They need training and they need the support of the organisation in dealing with complaints. Complaint management is a specialised business discipline and is not something that can be staffed by people without a certain character and mind-set. The chances of dealing with customer complaints effectively is greatly reduced if the main complaint management teams are dissatisfied with their roles and do not feel valued by the organisation. The management of the whole dissatisfaction process is also a specialist role that needs a customer service professional as opposed to just being part of a larger and more general role. Outsourcing of the complaint handling process to a call centre or other type of organisation does not remove the responsibility from your organisation, only the resourcing. An outsourced complaint management facility requires the organisation to be just as demanding of the staff recruitment, training and motivation as for an in-house resource. Customers will not make allowances. Complaints Management Specification Requirements All staff, even if they are not normally customer interfacing, should have a basic knowledge of the complaint management policy and processes within the organisation. They should at least be able to direct a customer into the complaint management process or preferably be able to deal with basic complaints themselves. Staff who deal with complaints as their main role should be given suitable training for the type and level of complaints being dealt with. Staff should be given clear guidance on the conditions under which they can or should break off discussions with a person who is complaining. This will typically result in some form of escalation. All complaint management staff should be able to input to the development and improvement of the organisation’s complaint management policy and processes. The organisation must also be able to show that it has allocated an appropriate level or resources to complaints management. Good practice checklist Encourage a clear “no-blame culture” that encourages staff to see complaints as positive - and not hide them for fear that they will reflect badly on them as individuals. Make sure that all staff know the names of the Chief Executive and the Customer Service Director (or equivalent). Have clear resourcing assumptions in place that enable accurate calculation of the relevant level of complaint management resource that is required. Have flexible resourcing for complaint management so that peaks in complaints can be handled without deterioration in service. Set and communicate a clear limit of responsibility for all staff in terms with the type and nature of complaint with which they should be expected to deal. Provide relevant, high quality training to people who are likely to receive or deal with customer complaints. Make full use of coaching and mentoring techniques using the skills and experience of successful complaint management staff as well as supervisors and managers. © BSI 12-2003 14
  15. 15. Travel & Tourism Supplement Disseminate information about complaints handling performance across the organisation and discuss with staff. Effective motivation and recognition of staff How Travel and Tourism organisations are doing Only 25% of organisations have a real ‘no-blame’ culture that encourages staff to look upon complaints as positive. Less than 42% have formal and specialist complaint management training in place. 28% are actively using coaching and mentoring as well as formal training Measures for success The following can be good indicators of how skilled and motivated your staff are: The proportion of staff and intermediaries who have seen and understood the complaint policy and processes for complaints management. The amount of resource allocated to staff development in the area of complaints management. Turnover on complaint management staff. Number of customer complaints about the complaint management process itself. Staff research results regarding their training and motivation in handling complaints. Employee surveys © BSI 12-2003 15
  16. 16. Travel & Tourism Supplement 8 Elements of the process that affect all complaints Complaints management is primarily about retaining and satisfying good customers, the process needs to give customers confidence that they will be treated fairly and honestly. When a customer complains their expectations can easily decay into disappointment if they are not treated well. They then become at risk of defecting, which can seriously damage an organisation’s financial performance. Effective complaints management systems need the appropriate people skills and not just the right processes. A no-blame culture is critical as staff need to be confident that that the complaint they handle will be taken seriously, that it will not swept under the carpet and that they will receive recognition for their contribution. Complaints Management Specification Requirements Your organisation should make a demonstrable commitment to fairness in all complaint handling activity. The principle of fairness should be clearly specified in the complaints management policy and be put at the heart of the process, including those that apply to intermediaries. All efforts should be made to have a process that deals with as many complaints as necessary at the first point of contact. Where this is not possible the organisation should co-ordinate the inputs of the various internal or supply chain groups into a single response to the customer. Customers should be given timescales for the resolution of their complaint and kept informed, by an appropriate method, of the progress of their complaint. They should also be given a contact name if they wish to check on progress. You should cater for the particular nature of complaints relating to cross-border transactions. This can be particularly important in the Travel and Tourism sector, and is also relevant to dealings through intermediaries. Good practice checklist Record all complaints, irrespective of where they are received into the organisation. Develop a simple but comprehensive coding system for use in recording and analysing complaints. Empower staff to provide on-the-spot resolution of complaints in as many cases as possible. A well-known service organisation introduced a scheme to empower staff to deal with complaints at the first point of contact. They set themselves an ‘FFC’ target (Fixed at First Contact) which was met and they estimated that total cost of complaint handling reduced by over 15%. Allocate a complaint co-ordinator to all complaints and communicate this is to the person complaining. Give the person complaining a timescale within which they will receive a response. If the period taken to deal with a complaint is extended then provide progress reports via an appropriate medium. Make sure that only a single response on the complaint goes back to the customer irrespective of the number of internal groups or supply chain organisations that are involved. Audit responses to complaints to ensure clear language and obvious fairness. Make sure that complaints management standards are applied equally across all parts of the organisation, including intermediaries. Check back once a complaint is closed to ensure that the person who made the complaint also thinks it is closed. © BSI 12-2003 16
  17. 17. Travel & Tourism Supplement How Travel and Tourism organisations are doing 25% of organisations now formally allocate a named co-ordinator for all complaints and communicate this to the complaining customer. 32% of Travel Organisations provide complaining customers with a formal timescale within which their complaint will be dealt. Measures for success The following can be good indicators of how well your overall complaint management is performing: The overall number of complaints received. The proportion of complaints resolved at the first contact. Average number of customer contacts during a complaint. Average time to close a complaint. Proportion of complaints where the person complaining was satisfied with the way they were handled. Total number of training days on complaint management. Customer call backs and number of reopened cases © BSI 12-2003 17
  18. 18. Travel & Tourism Supplement 9 Special factors affecting complaints direct from customers There are five things that can typically happen when a customer is unhappy. - They can suffer in silence - They can defect in silence - They can tell other people about their dissatisfaction - They can go public about their experience, by writing to newspaper, consumer programmes or, increasingly frequently now, posting negative comments on websites - They can communicate their unhappiness to the organisation The final action is the only positive one – giving the organisation an opportunity to put things right and learn for future improvement. And yet only about 4% of customers complain. But where an unhappy customer is likely to tell 10 other people, a loyal and satisfied one may only tell 2. A lost customer also costs more to win back than retaining an existing customer who may be unhappy. 90% of dissatisfied customers who defect say that they will never come back. And yet 90% of customers whose complaints have been handled effectively will not defect. Complaints Management Specification Requirements Customers should not have to produce inessential documentation to support a complaint. Your procedure should aim to collect standardised information, either in a pre-printed form, on-line form or contact centre script, that: - Is easy to complete, in plain language, and jargon free Emirates Airlines provides passengers the opportunity to rate their satisfaction with the meal as immediately after the meal service is complete – thereby gaining quality information in a timely manner. Passengers are also given the opportunity to change their menu for their onward journey. - Allows for personalised input from the customer - Covers the information needed to support the organisation’s complaints management system You should keep detailed information about customers and their complaints but these should be kept confidential as appropriate. Customer data needs to be protected in compliance with the Data Protection Act You should have procedures in place to allow the exchange of information between departments or partner organisations, so that customers do not have to make several separate enquiries and complaints. Good practice checklist Use a customer database to identify all complaints and enquiries from a customer so that any person from the organisation is aware of all related issues when dealing with that customer. Several organisations have integrated customer feedback management software with a customer relationship management (CRM) system to better inform complaint handlers and increase the speed and efficiency of complaint resolution. Ensure that staff who are dealing with enquiries have access to as much information as possible about customers, including information on their value and importance to the organisation. Offer a base standard of courtesy, acknowledgement and response to all customers, irrespective of their value to the company. © BSI 12-2003 18
  19. 19. Travel & Tourism Supplement Develop Intensive care strategies that can be deployed for particularly valuable or important customers when a complaint is received. Make sure that customer information is handled sensitively and kept confidential. Investigate the root causes of all complaints and take effective action to prevent re-occurrence rather than simply applying quick fixes. Where relevant and appropriate give customers the opportunity to meet or at least talk to the staff member handling the complaint. Relating complaints to sales and revenues Reviewing trends in complaints data, new emerging issues and prioritising opportunities fro root cause analysis and prevention Assessing the severity of the complaint from the customer’s perspective How Travel and Tourism organisations are doing Less than 10% have any mechanism in place to reliably record the fact that a customer is in the process of having a complaint dealt with so that the rest of the organisation can see this in any dealings with the customer. Less than 15% consistently check back with complaining customers that they are satisfied with the way their complaint was handled. Around 18% carry out analysis of the root causes of complaints and feed this into product development or business process change. Measures for success The following can be good indicators of how well your complaint management is performing with respect to complaints from end customers: Proportion of complaints flagged on the customer database. Number of intensive care strategies triggered. Number of ‘thank-you’ communications from customers regarding the complaint process Number of root cause issues identified, acted upon and reported. © BSI 12-2003 19
  20. 20. Travel & Tourism Supplement 10 Special factors affecting complaints from or via intermediaries Many customers deal with intermediaries such as booking agents to access or buy travel services. They are still dependent on the end provider for service quality and customer experience. Any failures or breakdowns will have a negative impact on both the intermediary and the travel company. Travel service providers must make sure that complaints management systems encompass dealings through intermediaries, or risk damage to their brand image and market position. When an intermediary highlights a problem with a travel services provider, it is either: - Already a customer problem that they cannot solve - It is going to become a customer problem if it is not corrected, or - It is going to become the organisation’s problem if it causes the intermediary to transfer business away from you The relationship between the organisation, the intermediary and the consumer is not always simple in the travel and tourism industry. This may mean that great care is required in understanding the nature and relationships involved in a complaint from, via or about an intermediary. The complaint management standards for intermediaries must at least be consistent with those that they have for consumers and preferably be complementary and supportive. Complaints Management Specification Requirements Your policy and key processes will need to be common for consumers and intermediaries, with additional features developed as necessary. The principles of accessibility, fairness and honesty will need to be preserved. Escalation procedures and the interface with regulatory bodies will also need to be particularly robust. You should also make sure that your complaint management audit and review processes include complaints that originate from or are handled by intermediaries. Good practice checklist Make sure that complaints management policy and processes explicitly extend to the intermediary network. Get formal acceptance from all intermediaries that they are prepared to share in the basic ethos and principles of the organisation’s complaints management approach. Wherever possible and relevant, put in place service level agreements between providers and intermediaries with respect to complaint management. Check that each intermediary has a detailed complaint process in place that is consistent with that of the provider’s organisation. Document the points at which complaints should be escalated from the intermediaries complaint management system to that of the provider even if the person complaining has not specifically asked for this. Provide intermediaries with access to complaint management processes that enable them to bypass call queues if they are face-to-face with a customer. Provide intermediaries with a named contact within the organisation for dealing with complaints and customer problems. Make sure that the intermediary has a specific senior person with responsibility for dealing with customer complaints. Put in place mechanisms to ensure that information regarding complaints can be efficiently exchanged between intermediaries and providers. Provide feedback to intermediaries on the outcome and learning from any complaints that they pass on to the provider. © BSI 12-2003 20
  21. 21. Travel & Tourism Supplement How Travel and Tourism organisations are doing 35% have comprehensive measures frameworks in place and agreed with their intermediaries. Many of these include a complaint-reporting element. 48% feel that they get full and open co-operation on complaint management from all of their channels, including intermediaries. Measures for success The following can be good indicators of how well your complaint management is performing with respect to complaints from and via intermediaries: Number of complaints from intermediaries Number of complaints via intermediaries from customers Number of complaints received direct from customers about Intermediaries Customer satisfaction figures from intermediaries Customer retention and recruitment figures from existing or potential intermediaries © BSI 12-2003 21
  22. 22. Travel & Tourism Supplement 11 Complaint escalation and the interface with regulatory bodies Escalation of complaints can either be through the organisation’s own complaints management system or to an external adjudicator such as the Rail Passengers Council (RPC) or Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). In some cases, a customer may go straight to the external complaints handler. This section covers both internal and external escalation of complaints. You should aim to deal with as many complaints as possible at the first level of contact but some cases will need to be handled at a higher level. The staff member handling a complaint might not have the knowledge or authority to take action, because the customer does not accept the proposed resolution or because the complaint has broader implications that require senior level review. In whatever case, the organisation needs to have in place clear and effective escalation procedures that are communicated to all staff and that are regularly reviewed as part of the general reviews of complaints management. The interface with regulatory and adjudicating bodies is very important in the travel and transport sector, especially as it concerns areas like consumer protection. But the RPC, ABTA and other adjudicators only regulate certain types and areas of business so it is important that the interface is able to take account of the complex network of regulation and consumer protection and the legislation that governs it. Complaint Management Specification Requirements Your staff should receive clear guidance on when and how to refer complaints through the escalation procedure for action by line management or specialist staff. You should give all staff clear guidelines on which senior employees need to be kept informed in case of serious complaints or those that involve external bodies. You need to be clear about which areas of your activities and business are subject to statutory or regulatory mechanisms to mandatory or voluntary dispute resolution and should use the relevant mechanism or scheme as appropriate. In other areas of business, industry self-regulation might take precedence over your own procedure, internal or external. In all cases, you should have policies and procedures for external review and resolution of complaints that have reached deadlock within the internal system. Whatever external review procedures are used, you must commit to abide by any decisions made as a result of the review process. Good practice checklist Make sure that your complaints policy and processes explicitly cover escalation both within the organisation and to external bodies. Formally document the escalation paths for complaints in each of your areas of business. Build relationships with relevant external bodies and regulators and keep them up to date with your complaint policy and processes. The Rail Passengers Council regularly brief Train Operating Companies on issues raised in escalated consumer complaints. Train Operating Companies’ representatives also attend forums where they can meet with RPC staff. Make sure that there are no barriers in place between front line complaint management and the senior management of the company that will prevent them knowing what is going on with complaints. Make sure that there is a senior staff member responsible for compliance with regulatory and statutory provisions, as well for self-regulation procedure where applicable. Make that all staff understand the role of the regulator and of any other external review procedures. Provide adequate resources to support the external review process. © BSI 12-2003 22
  23. 23. Travel & Tourism Supplement How Travel and Tourism organisations are doing This topic is not covered by the CMATTM approach. Measures for success The following can be good indicators of how well your complaint escalation process is working: Number of cases that are referred to external review bodies. Proportion of the cases settled in favour of the customer. Amount paid out in compensation, refunds and vouchers. Trend data in the level of resources allocated to complaints management. © BSI 12-2003 23
  24. 24. Travel & Tourism Supplement 12 Gaining business benefits from complaints Most people accept the blunt and often quoted fact that it is far more cost effective (and profitable) to retain loyal customers than to acquire new ones. Very few organisations have actually carried out analysis to find out exactly how much more profitable or what are good indicators of likely attrition. We assume that a complaint is an indicator of likely customer loss and some organisations can predict how much more likely a complaining customer is to leave. Other organisations have analysed how much more loyal customers become when they have had a complaint well managed. So, the received wisdom seems to be true. The leading organisations can go one step further and put measures and models around the simple fact. Research has shown that by better satisfying customers in complaint situations and thereby reducing defection rates by 5%, profitability cad increase by 25-50% or more in most organisations. What is clearly true is that loyal customers contribute strongly to profitability through positive referrals, increasing depth and diversity of spend and reduced cost-to-serve. This loyalty must be two-way with the organisation reflecting loyalty to its customers through clear and consistent delivery of its customer proposition and brand promise. The effective management of complaints is one of the few areas left in the highly commoditised Travel and Tourism market where real competitive differentiation can be achieved. This is particularly important where a customer has a portfolio of products with different companies and compare the way that their dissatisfaction is managed. Complaints can also be used to understand the voice of the customer and can feed directly into the development of new propositions and new products and into the continuous improvement of customer processes. Given that complaints management can have a direct impact on customer retention and loyalty, as well as on overall brand image and market position, it must therefore be seen as a critical component of business performance, receiving sufficient board attention and commitment. Complaint Management Specification Requirements You should regularly review whether your complaints management system fits with your overall strategic direction and with changing markets and situations. The reviews should include: - Internal factors such as changes in organisational structure or to the products and service offered - External factors such as changes in legislation, changes in competitive practices, market developments or technological innovation - Overall performance of the complaints management system The complaint management process needs to be capable of providing information for complaints analysis. © BSI 12-2003 24
  25. 25. Travel & Tourism Supplement Good practice checklist Ensure that complaints management is a board-level issue, with regular management reviews of strategy, policy and performance. Disseminate information about complaints performance across the organisation and discuss with staff. Put complaint trends alongside financial factors as a normal part of management review and of the staff communication process. Benchmark complaints management performance against market/industry performance and trends. Carry out detailed analysis of complaints to provide input to service delivery, proposition development, product portfolio development and frontline staff procedures.. Carry out follow-up research with a sample of customers who have complained in order to understand satisfaction with the process of complaint handling as opposed to satisfaction with the outcome. Carry out satisfaction research on a further sample customers an extended period after a complaint to see if satisfaction has increased as a result of the complaint. Build an understanding of the impact of successfully managed complaints on increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Monitor lifetime value information for customers who have complained to identify the potential value of a well-managed complaint. Use the understanding of the value of a well-managed complaint in resource allocation to dealing with complaints of different types and from different types of customers. Comparison of customer satisfaction and staff satisfaction feedback. How Travel and Tourism organisations are doing Only around 5% of Organisations are starting to monitor the transaction patterns of complaining customers to see if it is affected. Only around 15% measure customer retention rates and can therefore understand if complaining customers become more loyal. Measure for success The following can provide good indicators of how well your complaints management is affecting business performance: Customer retention and loss trends for complaining customers. Satisfaction level changes for customers who have complained. Number of ideas / conclusions from complaint statistics analysis that are passed into product and proposition development processes. Average cost per complaint dealt with. Performance against market/industry performance. Comparison to sales and revenues. © BSI 12-2003 25
  26. 26. Travel & Tourism Supplement 13 Understanding the customer experience of complaints Complaints management processes will typically produce a high level of reporting and statistical information. Successful organisations will supplement this quantitative information with a more direct understanding of the customer experience. Understanding of the customer experience requires timely and incisive event-driven research around key moments of truth that customers go through. Mystery shopping can also provide valuable insights into an organisation’s complaint management. Staff can even be encouraged to contribute to the process, by making complaints of their own or by complaining to competitors. Effort needs to be made to ensure that staff at all levels are clear about which of their particular activities affect the customer experience. Many organisations have “back to the floor” programmes where senior staff are encouraged to spend time in call centres handling customer calls or working in branches or retail outlets as the case may be. Complaints Management Specification Requirements You should focus on your customers and on seeing complaints as positive feedback that produce positive business results - this is what distinguishes high performing organisations. Good practice checklist Establish a permanent body, such as a customer panel, that regularly provides feedback on complaints and other customer management issues. Include dissatisfaction management and complaints in time-based satisfaction research. Conduct comprehensive event driven research that covers the key moments-of-truth that occur during the management of complaints. Wherever possible encourage staff to experience your organisations own complaints process as customers. Wherever possible encourage staff to experience the complaints process of competitors. Conduct mystery shopping of the complaints process using specialist independent resources. Even consider doing this on a comparative basis with other organisations. Use recording techniques to enable staff to listen to themselves and colleagues in complaint management situations. Use all the findings from the customer experience activity to improve the complaints management system and to refine the proposition. Compare the customer experience not just of direct competitors but also of other organisations with whom they deal (utilities, retail, local government) in order to understand general customer expectations. Ensure that senior staff spend a proportion of their time dealing directly with complaints © BSI 12-2003 26
  27. 27. Travel & Tourism Supplement How Travel and Tourism organisations are doing Around 18% of organisations have a formal scheme that ensures that senior managers meet a wide range of customers in transactional rather than social situations, including dealing with complaint. 70% still do not carry out any form of Mystery shopping of their customer interfaces. Measures for success Number of customers attending customer panels. Number of satisfaction surveys carried out (time-based and event-based) Number of mystery shopping visits made where a complaint was tested. © BSI 12-2003 27