Our customer is the central co-ordinator for all European divisions of a worldwide automotive company, spread over 43 countries and 29 national distributors. The company’s objective is to ensure better co-ordination between the production, sales, marketing, and technical departments in different parts of Europe. The aim is to provide high-quality, consistently, in both products and customer service available to their customers throughout Europe.
At the heart of all activities is the “Customer First” philosophy with the aim to deliver Complete Customer Satisfaction for every single customer. The key elements of this philosophy are to deliver beyond expectations, listen to customers, constantly seek to do things better and go the extra mile to give every customer a positive experience.
The effective handling of complaints is obviously of high importance and all complaints that cannot be resolved at a local level are escalated to the central team.
The company’s customer service team handles an estimated 150 general enquiries plus up to 150-250 complaints per month, coming in from all over Europe. This does not include the complaints that can be handled at a local dealer or distributor level.
The challenge for our client has always been how best to coordinate the receipt and processing of complaints between 43 countries and 29 national distributors. How could it do so in a cohesive, easy-to-use system that provides real value to the business?
As each country and distributor has its own system for handling and resolving complaints, it needed to be easy for national distributors to access the central system directly to avoid replication of work.
In addition, our client was tasked with introducing a way of ensuring a consistently high level of customer service across all markets in Europe. The data needed to be gathered centrally and used intelligently to make sure information was shared to everyone’s advantage. Well-established markets often have successful tried and tested methods for dealing with issues that the newer markets are experiencing for the first time. This knowledge needs to be shared in order to improve service levels and customer satisfaction.
The existing EQ Charter technology solution was expanded to allow all national distributors access to the software for logging and updating cases. The culture of our client nurtures the belief that the person closest to the customer is best placed to resolve the problem. So while an issue may be raised with the central team, it is always discussed with the local distributor and dealer to help find the most appropriate solution.
Benefitting all customers, the result is a best practice and always evolving procedure followed by all national distributors and dealers.
The reporting function within our complaints and feedback technology has greatly enhanced the company’s ability to identify trends and best practices within its market. Detailed reporting enables them to analyse which areas are doing well, in addition to why and how they are dealing so successfully with their customers.
Conversely, they can also highlight areas that are struggling and common themes on complaints that are recurring issues requiring more detailed analysis and efforts for resolution.
From a legal viewpoint on serious cases, EQ Charter enables a set process to be followed that has been proven to reduce the time and increase the chances of a successful resolution. Serious cases are flagged up early (within 24 hours a meeting will be held about it) and a plan of resolution will be embarked upon.
Monthly meetings with the most senior Directors are held to ensure all that can be done is being done to ensure a satisfactory outcome for both customer and company alike. Dual targets of customer satisfaction and brand protection are at the forefront of the decisions taken during a case like this. The pride that our client takes in the quality of both product and service they provide influences everything that is done to resolve the problem.
Our technology solution allows all documentation to be securely held against the case, which is of great help in prolonged and complex cases in supporting the legal team. In addition, the reporting function serves to highlight any precedents and previous experiences that would be useful to help guide future actions in dealing with a particular case.
Our technology solution has added considerable value to the complaints handling service across Europe for our client. As a result of providing a unified process delivering consistently high levels of customer service, they have achieved their aims of bringing together the different markets within Europe to work as a single company.
Our client plans to extend the central complaints management solution into other areas of the business and allow the national distributors to enter all complaints into the system. At present individual countries have separate systems, the ideal would be for all complaints to be logged in one system to enable better analysis of problems and solutions in cases that are not currently escalated to the European team. System integration is vital as a collaborative tool to further increase the consistently high levels of customer service that their customers currently enjoy regardless of where they are in Europe.