Tool

Complaint management system

System allowing customers or users to register their dissatisfaction with service, and associated redress mechanism.

DESCRIPTION

Customer complaint management is a system that allows customers to register their dissatisfaction with the organization. It allows organizations to obtain feedback on how to improve their services and to decrease the likelihood of problems with the customer base.1

PURPOSE & LINK TO INTEGRITY

An effective customer complaint mechanism can improve accountability, make sure that customers’ expectations are met and ensure that the goods or services that the organization provides are continuously being improved.2,3

A customer complaint system is an effective tool to enhance good governance. Without effective complaint mechanisms, and where awareness about the rights and responsibilities of organizations and consumers is lacking, customers are unable to seek redress4. By unveiling quality problems, customer complaints might help to detect illicit practices as these are often resulting in low quality and efficiency.

KEY REQUIREMENTS

HOW TO

Customers should be provided with various ways of filing complaints. Everyone should be enabled to file a complaint and no-one should to be discriminated against (e.g. illiterate customers, those without mobile phones etc.). Ways of filing complaints include:

  • Establishing complaint committees
  • Installing complaint boxes accessible to customers
  • Setting up complaint telephone numbers
  • Preparing ready-made complaint forms.

Furthermore, it should be kept in mind that:

  • Information received from complainants needs to be treated in confidence.
  • A register of complaints should be maintained – complaints are a goldmine of information. Evaluating complaints and taking corresponding measures will result in improved service quality.
  • A defined process on how to deal with complaints (filing, registration, addressing, responding) should be developed.
  • The independence of investigation into complaints needs to be ensured, in particular in serious cases of alleged fraud or corruption. In such cases, the person dealing with the complaint must not be the same person that the complaint is directed against.
  • Responses to complainants and communities need to be given within a defined time span (e.g. seven days after being processed by a desk officer).
  • Complaints should be resolved thoroughly.

You might also consider getting ISO certification. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies. The following ISO standard is applicable for this tool:

ISO 10002:2014 Quality management — Customer satisfaction — Guidelines for complaints handling in organizations (https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:10002:ed-2:v1:en): This International Standard provides guidance for the design and implementation of an effective and efficient complaints-handling process for all types of commercial or non-commercial activities, including those related to electronic commerce. It is intended to benefit an organization and its customers, complainants, and other interested parties.

KEY GUIDING DOCUMENTS

U4, 2007, Anti-corruption complaint mechanisms, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre (U4), Norway

Graham and Lennard, 2007, Complaint handling. Principles and best practice, Energywatch, UK

iSight, no year, Handling Customer Complaints, a best practice guide, Isight, Canada

TARGETED EXAMPLES

Kenya Water and Sanitation Services Improvement Project (WASSIP)5

Target group: Utilities, Public institutions

Location: Kenya

An example of strong citizen feedback and communication is the Kenya Water and Sanitation Services Improvement Project (WASSIP), where the World Bank’s water and sanitation programme helps WASREB to reach out to communities and establish water action groups (WAGs). The committees facilitate feedback by holding quarterly focus groups and biannual public hearings. The WAGs provide citizens with a grievance redress mechanism by ensuring that unresolved complaints can be taken from utilities to WSBs and then to the national regulatory agency. The project has also introduced water and sanitation report cards on which citizens can rate the quality of the water services they are receiving. The report cards are then collected, analysed, and used to identify service gaps.

FURTHER  READINGS

Asís, M. G. De, Leary, D. O., Ljung, P. & Butterworth, J., 2009, Improving Transparency, Integrity, and Accountability in Water Supply and Sanitation, World Bank Institute & Transparency International

Consumer Council for Water, 2011, Complaint Handling in the Water Industry, Consumer Council for Water, UK

NWSC, 2008, Customer services user manual, National Water & Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) External Services Uganda, Uganda

Nordmann, D., Peters, P. & Werchota, R., 2013, Good Governance in the Kenyan Water Sector, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Germany

World Bank, no year, Water and Sanitation Improvement Project, World Bank www.worldbank.org/projects/P096367/water-sanitation-service-improvement-project?lang=en, accessed 28.10.2015

FULL REFERENCES

  1. Customer Expressions Corporation, no year, i-Sight Case Management Software Solutions, Customer Expressions Corporation, customerexpressions.com, accessed 28.10.2015
  2. Asís, M. G. De, Leary, D. O., Ljung, P. & Butterworth, J., 2009, Improving Transparency, Integrity, and Accountability in Water Supply and Sanitation, World Bank Institute & Transparency International
  3. U4, 2007, Anti-corruption complaint mechanisms, U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre (U4), Norway
  4. Nordmann, D., Peters, P. & Werchota, R., 2013, Good Governance in the Kenyan Water Sector, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Germany
  5. World Bank, no year, Water and Sanitation Improvement Project, World Bank www.worldbank.org/projects/P096367/water-sanitation-service-improvement-project?lang=en, accessed 28.10.2015
Last updated 12 April 2019

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