Information & Training. | Quality Assurance. Quality Management.

Complaint Management System

Effective Management of Customer Complaints.

The customer complaint management system.
Having a complaint management system, provides the opportunity to transform complaints and customer dissatisfaction into sources of improvement, opportunity and strategic advantage. The complaint management system, if implemented and supported will ensure consistency in approach to customer complaints, define the course of actions to be taken in identifying the actions to address complaints so that the customer’s concerns are fully addressed, ensure that the organization understands the complaint, will ensure improvement within the organization to prevent future repetition of the original cause of the complaint, and feed into steering the organization’s development towards the delivery of consistently high levels of customer satisfaction.


Defining the “customer complaint”.
As every organization is different and the expectations of customers are directly related to the specific products and services they receive, it is important that there is a clear definition of a customer complaint. Complaints may relate to expectations such as product quality, product reliability, service speed, politeness of staff, cleanliness of offices, impact on the local environment, … etc. etc.. Sometimes a complaint may be related to activities outside the scope of an organization, for example:

“why is a pharmaceutical only available via a medical prescription”, a complaint outside the ability of a pharmaceutical manufacturer to address. In such situations the complaint process may need to help the customer direct their complaint to the appropriate agency, and in doing so, the pharmaceutical manufacturer may improve their own customer relationship.


The customer complaint process.
With a clear definition of a customer complaint, the next step is to define the complaint process. A “Complaint Management Process” needs to be defined, documented, approved and effectively implemented. The process (via approved operating procedures) will detail the key complaint handling activities, plus provide information on how related processes support the complaint management system.

complaint management system

CAPA – Corrective And Preventative Action
Calibration Certification
Change Management and Control  
Quality Management Training
Product and Process Validation  
Supplier Quality Assurance
Audits & Auditing
Ensuring the Quality Management System is Risk based
Etc. …. Etc. …. Etc. …
Information & Training presentation   >>>

The Customer Complaint Management Process (approved SOP) will detail aspects such as:


– complaint definition

– potential sources of complaints

– the process flow to be followed

– complaint investigation methodologies

– the mechanisms to be employed for addressing complaints

– methods for complaint escalation

– responsibilities throughout the complaint process

– standards of performance expectation

– methods of reporting and complaint communication

– senior management responsibilities and inputs

– how complaints feed into the annual Management Review

– expectations for continuous improvement

– information on complaint forms, complaint databases,

– etc …

Senior management and the Customer Complaint Management Process.
The senior management within a organization are responsible for establishing the complaint management system, the complaint structures, provision of the necessary staff and facility resources, set the expected levels of performance, ensure an effective monitoring process is ongoing, review trends via ongoing and annual management reviews and place the customer needs at the centre of the organizational focus and strategy.

Organizational staff.
Staff who interface with customers, need to understand their roles and responsibilities, have the necessary knowledge to correctly receive customer feedback, channel such feedback into the appropriate processes, have the necessary training and competences to confidently reassure customers their complaints will be promptly and effectively investigated, replied to and where necessary appropriate actions taken to address.


Complaint Management Team.
Depending on the level of complaints and feedback received there may be a need for a complaint management team, who will review and respond to complaints, ensure that effective actions are implemented to identify complaint root causes and effective solutions are implemented to ensure similar complaints do not again arise.


The customer complaint process.
All staff who interface with customers will need to be fully familiar with the customer complaint standard operating procedures (SOP’s). The SOP’s needs to be fully and effectively implemented. There should be a single person nominated who has overall responsibility for the complaint handling process, in many organizations this will be the Quality Manager, however, there may be a dedicated complaint handling manager, if the quantity or criticality of complaints justifies.

All potential sources of complaints need to be identified and processes established to ensure all potential complaints are received, recorded, documented and entered into the complaint management process. There needs to be a method of tracking, reporting, trending complaints. All complaints must be investigated. The level of investigation will depend on the criticality and legitimacy of the complaint. Staff performing investigations will need to have capabilities in analytical methods, for example, cause and effect analysis, process capability analysis, failure mode effect analysis, risk evaluation, …etc.. Is it important that complaint investigations are performed in a methodical, balanced manner with the sole objective of seeking the facts and implementing solutions for long term improvement.


Benefits of an effective Customer Complaints Management System.

As previously detailed, complaints can be a source of improvement.

If implemented effectively, customer complaints will drive improved organizational performance, which will support the long term success of the organization.

Complaints effectively and efficiently addressed will result in improved customer satisfaction.

Staff morale will improve, as staff recognize that they work in an organization that is genuinely dedicated to meeting customer expectations.

Operational efficiency will increase, as improvements are continually identified and implemented.

Senior management understanding of customer expectations and experiences will improve and as they steer the longer term direction of the organization, they will be cognizant of ensuring that the product or service provision of the organization strives to match the changing and ever increasing demands of the customer.


Information & Training. | Quality Assurance. Quality Management.

        • The Principles of Quality Management
        • The Quality Manual
        • Quality Standards and Specifications  
        • The Quality Management System
        • Revised requirements of ISO 9001: 2015  
        • Design Quality – Products & Processes  
        • Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
        • Documentation
        • CAPA – Corrective And Preventative Action
        • Calibration Certification
        • Change Management and Control  
        • Quality Management Training
        • Product and Process Validation  
        • Supplier Quality Assurance
        • Audits & Auditing
        • Ensuring the Quality Management System is Risk based
        • Etc. …. Etc. …. Etc. …
        • Information & Training presentation   >>>