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Rail Aug23 71106532255 (3)

Utilising Complaints Management: A Strategic Pathway for Savings in the Rail Industry

Tuesday, 5 September 2023

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) complaints rules came into effect in April this year and provided the rail industry with the opportunity for a transformative shift in customer complaints management. In this dynamic landscape, train operators and rail licensees are presented with a unique opportunity to not only comply with regulatory requirements, but also to strategically enhance their operations and save money in the long run.

The Evolution of Complaints Management

The ORR complaints rules represent a decisive step towards a more transparent, accountable, and customer-centric rail sector. By emphasising accessibility, transparency, fairness, and accountability, the rules underscore the importance of creating a robust complaints handling framework. However, beyond regulatory compliance, lies a broader canvas of advantages that rail operators can capitalise on.

Streamlined Operations, Reduced Costs

  • Resource Efficiency: Specialised complaints systems like EQ’s Complaints Professional serve as the cornerstone of resource optimisation. By automating workflow processes, complaint categorisation, and response allocation, rail operators and licensees can significantly reduce manual workload. This, in turn, translates into lower labour costs, as employees can focus on higher-value tasks instead of grappling with repetitive administrative work.

  • Faster Resolutions: Swift complaint resolution isn't merely a customer service necessity; it's a financial imperative. Specialised systems expedite the identification of issues, route them to the right department, and facilitate prompt investigation and resolution. Timely resolution not only enhances passenger satisfaction but also mitigates potential escalations and costly legal actions.

  • Data-Driven Insights: Specialised complaints systems offer comprehensive data analytics and reporting functionalities. By scrutinising complaint trends and patterns, rail operators can proactively address systemic issues. This predictive approach curtails the recurrence of complaints and the associated costs of repeated problem-solving efforts.

Enhanced Customer Retention and Loyalty

  • Positive Customer Experience: An effective complaints management system contributes to a positive overall customer experience. Swift, empathetic, and satisfactory complaint resolutions foster customer loyalty and encourage repeat business from passengers that may have opted for other transportation. Satisfied passengers are more likely to recommend the services to others, thereby expanding the customer base without incurring additional marketing expenses.

  • Brand Reputation: Efficient complaints management elevates the brand reputation and builds trust within the passenger base. A solid reputation draws more passengers, attracts partnerships, and ultimately contributes to the bottom line.

Cost Avoidance and Regulatory Compliance

  • Penalty Avoidance: Non-compliance with the ORR complaints rules can result in substantial penalties. Implementing a specialised complaints system helps rail operators adhere to the regulations, thereby averting financial penalties and reputational damage.

  • Legal Expenses: A well-configured complaints system such as EQ’s Complaints Professional facilitates fair and impartial investigations. This reduces the likelihood of escalated disputes that could lead to costly legal battles, safeguarding the rail operator from unnecessary legal expenditures.

Embracing specialised complaints systems in the face of the new ORR complaints rules isn't merely a regulatory necessity – it's a strategic investment with profound long-term benefits. By streamlining operations, improving customer/passenger experience, and ensuring compliance, train operators and rail licensees can generate significant cost savings over time. As the rail industry sets forth into this new era, harnessing the power of technology-driven complaints management is not only a pathway to regulatory adherence, but a gateway to sustainable financial growth and success.