Managing complaints in regulated markets: an interview with Netcall consultant Lewis Gallagher [Podcast]

30th Oct, 2018

Poor customer service in the energy sector hit the news again recently, as Ofgem announced it is ordering 11 of the UK’s biggest power suppliers to improve how they deal with customer complaints (read more here).

So what can organisations do to get a grip on complaints – not just in the energy sector but across the board? And is innovation still possible in regulated industries, where it feels like there’s so much red tape? In this latest episode of the CX Appeal podcast, we caught up with Netcall consultant Lewis Gallagher to find out…

Rather listen than read? Access the full episode here.

The way complaints are handled can have huge impact on your brand. Ofgem has recently ordered 11 energy suppliers to improve how they deal with complaints. What’s your view on this Lewis?

Well in the grand scheme of things this isn’t anything new and by the very nature of regulation and consumer protection, regulators will always have a view around how complaints are handled. No organisation is perfect, so problems and complaints will happen, but it’s how businesses react, manage and more importantly learn from mistakes that sets them apart. You might not always get it right but knowing how to ‘make it’ right really counts in my opinion.

Why do you think these findings are so important to these companies and businesses in other regulated markets?

Apart from reports allowing benchmarking within an industry, hopefully commentary like this from regulators is a wake-up call to companies showing that when it comes to CX, there is always work to be done.

There’s a direct link between customer experience and bottom line performance, so businesses who invest in improving CX will benefit.

What do you think the route of the problem is, in terms of how these complaints are being handled?

I personally think visibility is key. Yes it can seem your hands are tied from a regulation perspective, but often technology and processes can hold you back just as much.

During our time with customers, even when organisations are customer centric, we still often see disparate systems, broken processes which don’t directly link to communications. Today’s customers expect hyper-personal experiences, proactive communications and simple interactions with businesses. All too often we see frustrated customers still having to chase things up, compounding matters with manual steps allowing things to fall through the cracks.

Don’t get me wrong there are many complex reasons why issues unfold across all industries, but there are often some quick fixes that can help minimise the volume and severity of complaints.

What should businesses do to improve?

For me companies must not forget to innovate. In a highly regulated industry with monolithic ERP systems, it’s easy to get stuck firefighting with no view of how to change for the better. Or worse come up with sticky plaster solutions to help you get by. Indeed Ofgem has published reports around innovation in the energy market.

Better using customer insights to improve the complaints process. Obviously emerging tech also plays a part in this. Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and indeed our very own Low-code technology are all in the mix in this area.

I also always encourage the people I work with in business to take a step back to see the full picture. Often they get too caught up on specific issues it’s not easy to see wider problems brewing around them.

About Lewis

Friendly Geordie Lewis has been part of the Netcall team for over 8 years, having previously worked within contact centres for more than 20 years. He specialises in workforce optimisation and managed a workforce management function covering work for a host of clients with a wide range of needs and demands.

His wealth of contact centre knowledge & CX-related expertise makes Lewis a firm favourite with our customers.

To find out more about how Netcall’s team of consultants are helping businesses, local authorities & hospitals to transform both staff and customer experience, go to netcall.com/consultancy-support.

Learn more about how we’re supporting businesses in the energy sector with our MATS Low-code platform here.

Don’t forget you can also listen to this podcast in full here

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