It is believed that, companies all over the globe receiving the complaints from customers towards the product or service includes high price, inferior quality, under weight, poor service etc.One of the indicators used by Sellers of consumer goods in commercial and business undertakings to improve customer orientation is to measure customer satisfaction levels. It is in this context, an attempt was made to explore the functioning of prevailing complaint management system in the commercial undertakings in supplying the goods and providing services & the proper framework for Complaint Measurement Process Model.
Normally ,Complaints are received by the companies through various modes such as through telephone, fax, courier, and company’s marketing representatives or personally by the customer themselves. On the receipt of the complaints, the company adopts the following procedures:
1. Receipt of complaint
Complaints are received through various modes such as e-mail, phone call, fax, postal or personal or through company’s field force. The complaints are generally received from patients / patient representatives, physicians, hospitals, wholesaler / retailers or from regulatory authorities such as Food and Drugs Administration, Drugs Control Administrations and so on. On receipt of the complaint, whoever may be the recipient, forwards the complaint to Head of marketing division within the same day.
2. Complaint login
On receiving the complaint from the above, the marketing head logs in the complaint in the complaint register. In his absence, his deputy does the same. Other details such as type of complaint, product details, batch number, complainant contact details etc are also entered in the register. If samples are received along with the complaints, the sample details are also entered in the log book.
3. Evaluation / review of the nature of complaint
A preliminary evaluation is made by the marketing head on the nature of complaint, whether it is genuine or not. He also classifies whether it is quality related or not. If the complaint is related to the quality attributes of the product, it is referred to the head of Quality Assurance for further investigation. All the other complaints are handled by head of marketing and closed at his end with appropriate response and remedy..
4. Marking of complaint to Quality Head
Head of marketing division forwards all complaints related to the quality of the product, to head of Quality Assurance. Head of Quality Assurance reviews the complaint and decides the appropriate course of action to be taken. This includes review of complaint sample to establish genuineness, categorizing the complaints as critical, major and minor. The next step is investigation.
5. Investigation of the complaint
The Quality Assurance team evaluates the batch manufacturing records of the complaint sample to establish the root cause of the complaint. The control samples of the complaint batch are also verified as well as all the analytical data related to the batch release. If required, Research and Development (R&D) team is also included in the investigation process. At the end of investigation, assignable cause is identified.
6. Preparation of response
A detailed response is prepared with proper justification. If the reason for complaint is found out to be improper storage condition or mishandling of the product, the same is indicated in the response with proper scientific rationale. The response thus prepared is forwarded to the marketing head.
7. Intimation to the complainant with response and appropriate remedy
The properly formulated response is sent to the complainant with appropriate remedy, if applicable. The appropriate remedy could be an apology, replacement of defective product, refund, compensation or in the form of suggestions such as “Do’s” and “Don’ts” with the product, to avoid repeat problem at the customer end. In case of serious quality issues, apart from the complainant, the regulatory authorities (e.g.: FDA) are also intimated about the problem.
8. Closure of the complaint
Once the reply is sent to the complainant with appropriate response and remedy wherever applicable, the complaint is closed on receipt of acknowledgement from the complainant. If there is no response from the complainant for more than a month, it is presumed that the complainant is satisfied with the response and complaint is closed. The same is entered in the complaint register / log book. The complaints are also captured and incorporated in the annual product review.
Following Modules are kept in mind while dealing with the complaint management system.
- Inter active modules or the front end dealings with customers and the procedures for receiving complaints.
- Management Modules or middle end where all the feed back is interpreted, organized & analyzed.
- Policy Modules or Back end where short falls are identified and steps taken to rectify such short falls. The rectifications take the form of changes in policies and procedures.
- Complaints received and analyzed by the information system should be documented for future use.
- Feedback should be used in mapping the problem areas, identifying shortcomings.
- These problem areas, inadequacies, should be rectified through suitable changes in policies, procedures.
- Care should be taken while formulating such policies to take into account future requirements also.
It is suggested that for the effective management of consumer complaints, all the staff be trained in the following aspects:
- Consumer orientation
- Communication skills
- Corporate complaint management policy
- Complaint handling procedures
- Consumer protection laws
STEPS INVOLVED IN COMPLAINT MANAGEMENT PROCESS MODEL
- Receipts of Complaint
- Recording &classification of complaints
- Receipt, confirmation & other details passed on to the complaints authority
- Dealt by complaints
- Complaints dealt with by team
v Direct Handling
- Response to customer
- Monitoring of measures
v Steering (direct-finding) team
EVALUATION OF COMPLAINT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
It is therefore apparent that in this project the researcher will examine various aspects of customer complaint management system as listed below:
- Does the organization provide information about how to complain and to whom complaints should be made, including a contact, a phone number, and an address? How is this information disseminated?
- Can clients make complaints in a variety of ways – in person, in writing, by fax, and by telephone?
- Has the organization designated staff to help people formulate and pursue their complaints?
- Do employees know what to do when they receive a complaint?
- Is written guidance on complaint resolution procedures available
- Do procedures allow employees to resolve complaints on the spot if possible, and to provide immediate redress, where appropriate?
- If employees cannot deal with an appropriate complaint on the spot, do the procedures set out further stages, including steps for conducting a full investigation and for providing a full final reply?
- Are there time limits for dealing with various types of complaints, and for each step in the procedure, such as acknowledgment, interim reply, and final reply?
- Does the organization monitor time limits and review them regularly?
- Do employees keep complainants informed of the progress of their complaint?
- Is staff trained to handle complaints?
- Is staff trained in interpersonal skills, including skills for dealing with abusive and threatening behaviour?
- Does the system allow employees to retrieve information about a complaint quickly?
- Has the organization ensured that all complaints are investigated fully and fairly?
- Does the organization deal with all complaints equally, regardless of the status of the persons who complain?
- Do complainants know that the organization will deal with their complaints in confidence, where applicable?
- Does the procedure make clear to employees that clients should not be treated adversely as a result of making a complaint?
- Does the procedure guarantee a response to all complaints?
- Does the organization ensure that it has fully addressed all the points at issue?
- Do responses explain to clients who are still dissatisfied that no further redress is available within the complaint system and, if appropriate, how they may pursue the issue?
- Are there clearly established redresses for all types of complaints?
- Does the organization provide information about forms of redress?
- Do employees express regrets spontaneously, regardless of the nature of the complaint?
- Is there a system for recording complaints?
- Does the organization monitor the recording system?
- Has the organization set performance targets for handling complaints?
- Does the organization monitor client satisfaction with complaint and redress procedures?
- Does the organization monitor the effectiveness of staff training in handling complaints?
- Do managers include information on the handling of complaints and compliments in their regular reviews of staff performance?
- Has the organization made service improvements after analyzing problems highlighted by complaints?
- Does the organization publish information about complaints and their resolution, and make that information available to clients?
From the aforesaid discussion, it is felt that, the updated measures, policies; procedures can be converted into customer service standards to be adhered by the suppliers, sellers of the product in the organization. The model highlighted in this article should also be used as a control measure and the top management to measure service effectiveness.The updated measures, policies and procedures should be shared with all the stake holders of the company. Updating helps employees to understand the culture of customer orientation for helping them and suppliers understand the standard set by the organization for serving them.
It is evident that the complaint management & redressal system is highly dependent on the consumer’s information. The outcome thus obtained also has the ramifications for the efficient complaint management system and rational expectations in the consumer behaviour literature.