Improve the Bottom Line with Complaints

by Tracey Smith
President, Numerical Insights LLC

For many businesses, the product they offer is offered by many others, or at least something similar. When it’s difficult for customers to distinguish and choose between the benefits of your product and the product of your competitors, it becomes a price war which erodes your profit margin.

How then, do you distinguish yourself from your competition?

The only factors left on which you can differentiate are customer service, quality and delivery. Today, let’s focus on customer service. All things being equal, your customer is going to select the company with the best customer service, so how do you ensure yours is the best?

Use analytics to examine your customer complaint data!

If you’re a large company, you probably have a centralized call center with more data than you know what to do with. Your issue will be determining where to focus your analytical efforts.

But that’s not the case for 90% of companies. Let’s assume you’re a medium-sized business or division with a customer service team of three to eight people. Consider the customer experience when they call.

  1. Did the customer get through or were they placed in a hold queue?
  2. If they went into a hold queue, how long was their wait? Did they wait or did they give up? Did you just lose this sale because you didn’t answer the phone but your competitor did?
  3. When they get through, are they placing an order or making a complaint?

Companies have a habit of focusing on the good from these calls and deem a call successful if the customer placed an order. But it’s an examination of the complaints received that will provide insights to improve your top line.

Customers may complain that:

  1. It took 10 calls to get through.
  2. Your product is defective.
  3. Your delivery is too slow.
  4. You sent the wrong product / you shipped a partial order.

Each of these cost you valuable cash.

  1. After several attempts and not getting through, the customers buys from someone else.
  2. Defective products must be returned for analysis and replaced.
  3. Slow delivery can become a return or lost sale when someone else can deliver the product quickly. (Amazon and Adidas have discovered that their return rates go down when they ship faster.)

How do you gain an advantage through complaints analytics?

Analyzing the quantity of complaints, the frequency of when they happen, the severity of their impact to the bottom line, product delivery times compared to return rates and other aspects of customer service will provide insights on which to focus for improvement.

Envision now, a customer complaint dashboard, visible to all employees which provides transparency, accountability to providing premium service and a focus on items which impact your top and bottom lines.

Until next time,


Tracey is passionate about using data to solve business problems. She has helped both well-known and little-known companies in multiple countries use data to make decisions which impact the bottom line.

You can find Tracey on the web at:
Numerical Insights Web Site
Find Tracey on LinkedIn
Twitter ID: @ninsights


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