NVQ Unit C5 - Monitor and solve customer service problems - Part 1
Customer service problems come along with all businesses and it only helps the business grow. I have always heard higher management speak about this in meetings; "If there are no customer complaints, then there is something wrong in our service." But the fact is, the same problem should not repeat over and over again. Businesses like to hear from customers, their opinions and what they expect. That way, the organisation learns and grows.
In this hub, the focus is on identifying recurring customer service problems, options to resolve them, the advantages and disadvantages involved in that problem, working with others to select the best options for solving a repeated customer service problem and balancing customer expectations with the needs of the organisation. The contents are more focussed on my job role as I had to identify recurring problems that our organisation was facing.
This is a level 3 unit with a credit value of 6. For ease of navigation and to keep the hubs from being too long, this unit has been divided into three parts.
To have a look at the next two parts of this unit, please follow the links below.
2.1 Identify repeated customer service problems.
When it comes to business, there is no end to customer service problems. These problems are sometimes specific to a particular business, but there are also generic problems generally experienced by all businesses.
Some of the customer service problems recur and the ones that we come across relating to our business are listed below:
P.S: The contents below are focussed on my job role and is organisation specific
- Duplicate booking of respite beds for clients
- Not communicating care costs to clients or providing misinformation
- Incorrect recording of client information in the database; this could even be address, date of birth, etc. that can lead to great errors in businesses
- Not sending required paperwork to partnership organisations in order to help client receive their service on time.
- Delays in discharge, which can cost a lot to the organisation and cause stress to the clients
- Lack of communication regarding rescheduled appointments or when running late for appointments.
Solving Customer Problems
2.2 Explain what the options were for dealing with the recurring problems, what were the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Recurring problems are a major issue that frustrates the customers and downgrades an organisation and its performance. We all need to learn from mistakes and not repeat it. When problems reoccur, one needs to take steps to resolve them at the earliest possible and not simply let it go or let it happen / repeat. There may be advantages or disadvantages, but one needs to put customers first and look at their benefits. Remember, without customers, an organisation cannot run.
I have discussed here some of the recurring problems that happen within the department that I work in. Apart from this there are hundreds of problems that recur in various organisations or various departments of the same organisation.
Options to resolve
Duplicate booking for respite beds
• Lay procedures and guidelines on the booking process • Allocate certain people in charge of bookings • Read only access to respite calendar, to people who are not authorised to book respites • Keep a tracker to see respite movements (cancellation + bookings)
Avoids duplicate bookings, a procedure is in place to follow, people are not frustrated, customers know that the bed is booked, no chance to lose an already booked bed
Sometimes if the person responsible for booking and their alternative access are not available, booking becomes difficult
Not informing customer about care costs Or Keeping clients informed of service changes
• Supplying booklets, leaflets • Briefing about the care process on first contact • Ask them if they are aware of the payment process • Give them links on the internet if they have access to internet
Customers know what to expect and hence this avoids disappointment. Customers know that the organisation does not have any hidden charges for care
Some customers may not understand the reason why they have to pay and some customers may get frustrated, worried or anxious
Improper recording on SWIFT
• Lay policies and guidelines • Check on employees if they are following it • Check reports and give training to employees who do not understand the procedure • Give advice and guidance wherever possible
Efficient working, improvement in performance, employees know that the organisation cares and they know exactly what to do
Costs of training, time consumption
Not sending assessment paperwork to care homes on time
• A tracker to track progress • Confirmation with person who books respite, so a note can be added A confirmation call to care home
Assurance that care is confirmed, customer is happy, it will avoid disappointments, and frustrations with client
Extra work on keeping track, social workers and reviewers can get frustrated that they have to report their progress with arranging care for a client
Delayed discharge issues
• Prompt response • Taking advice where necessary • Keep an eye on fax • Speak to managers in times of difficult situations • Keep manager updated • Start preparing when you know that a client will be discharged in the next few days • Check what care needs need to be in place for safe and easy discharge
Save money, clients are happy, performance improves, organisation will be used by clients in the future
Work needs to be planned well ahead which can be difficult when there are other important tasks to be accomplished
Not informing clients of late appointments or reschedules
• Record all appointments on calendar and snooze alerts as frequently as possible so that you do not forget • You can ask someone to remind you (at times, not an option for always) • Check appointments and schedules well ahead of time and plan Ring client, as and when you know that something has come up and you cannot make it. Do not leave till the last minute
Reduces client frustration, clients are happy, they have a feeling that you care and that you want to help. Does not waste client’s time and does not make them anxious
You may disturb others while asking them to remind you, and it can be a drawback if they too forget. Alerts may be popping up on the screen. Some clients may be upset about rescheduling, especially if this happens frequently
2.3 Describe how you have worked with others to select the best options for solving a repeated customer service problem, balancing customer expectations with th
When a repetitive customer service problem is identified, we need to take the necessary steps to solve the problem. In this process, both the customer and the organisation have to be taken into account. When deciding on the best option to solve a problem, it is best to NOT take the decision all by yourself, but rather take a group decision.
In order to achieve this, you will have to select a group of members from your department or relevant people with knowledge and experience of this problem from various other departments and then conduct group discussions or brainstorming sessions to gather ideas to resolve the problem.
In our organisation and department, we have come across various situations like this, some that have been even emergency situations. In those types of situations, we conduct emergency team meetings or group discussions. In this process
- Short notes of ideas and facts discussed are noted down stating the purpose of each fact that was discussed
- Write down the observation, thoughts and why people chose those facts over the others.
- Research on all the facts and figures that are gathered and arrive at a summary.
- Draw conclusions from the facts and ideas gathered.
Customer complaints and problems are always recorded in files for monitoring, tracking and other reference purposes. A copy of all the information and actions undertaken all along the process are recorded in the customer’s file (manual and electronic).
Problems that repeat are discussed with the person involved, for example the employee who was dealing with the customer, and information is collected as to why the problem happened, and why it gets repeated, gather data about the strategies the employee uses, advice them of alternatives, suggest different ideas, etc. Ask them if they require any special training to perform those tasks. This is then monitored on a regular basis, keeping statistics updated of the progress in the form of charts or graphs or tables, so that it is easier to go through the progress.
In general, problems could be quality issues, problems with policies and procedures or organisations’ systems or complaints against a particular member of staff. So depending on the type of problem and the people involved, the problems are discussed with the relevant people and decisions taken to solve the problems. Most of the problems are dealt with within the team upon discussion with the senior. Anything that goes above a critical point will need discussion with head of services or the assistant director in order to arrive at an outcome or decision
How to Handle Complaints
I hope that you found the information in this hub useful. This is purely for reference purpose only. If you have any questions or wish to share your experience, please do so in the comment section below.
All the best!