- What exactly is complaints management?
- Why introduce complaints management?
- What does complaints management aim to achieve?
- Standardized complaints process according to VDA
- Successful complaints management with the right software
WHAT EXACTLY IS COMPLAINTS MANAGEMENT? – DEFINITION
A complaints management system incorporates all the measures that are carried out to limit the consequences of errors resulting from a complaint to the greatest extent possible, to systematically identify the causes of the complaint, to remedy the complaint and to successfully introduce remedial measures. In addition to planning and implementing the measures taken, complaints management first and foremost includes monitoring the effectiveness of these measures.
Complaints management is part of your quality management solution. Complaints management controls both the long and short-term measures aimed at remedying complaints. The first step when processing these measures involves putting together a complaints team made up of experts. First of all, this team determines exactly where the actual state deviates from the target state. In order to avert acute damage from the customer and your own company, emergency measures are then introduced – the effectiveness of which is monitored. Whilst these emergency measures are being introduced, root cause analysis is commenced based on all the findings so far obtained . Suitable root cause analysis tools include, for example, the 5Whys technique and Ishikawa diagrams. Based on the identified causes, remedial measures are then developed, selected and verified so that the errors that have emerged can be avoided. After effective remedial measures have been permanently introduced, the team discontinues the emergency measures initially taken. The effectiveness of these permanently-installed remedial measures continues to be monitored over a longer period of time, with the knowledge thus gained flowing into your FMEA system. Finally, the results are recorded, and the team disbanded after the team’s performance has been accordingly acknowledged.
Complaints management differs from handling customer grievances in that it concentrates on alleviating errors in the long term and on documenting the remedial measures taken, whereas handling customer grievances primarily supports communications with consumers in the B2C area.
WHY INTRODUCE COMPLAINTS MANAGEMENT?
Complaints management also simultaneously manages your reputation. Only through a consistent complaints management system is it possible for a supplier to sustain his business relationships with his customers.
This strengthens the positive image of your company and actively prevents its reputation from being damaged. And within the company, the availability of problem-solving skills, coupled with a problem-solving culture which allows an open approach to errors, contributes to avoiding future mistakes.
The most important problem-solving tool in managing complaints in line with VDA recommendations is, therefore, the 8D methodology and its associated 8D reports.
WHAT DOES COMPLAINTS MANAGEMENT AIM TO ACHIEVE?
Complaints management should aim to sustain or restore customer satisfaction levels and reduce negative effects, such as a change of supplier or damage to the company’s image.
A seamless documentation of the complaints process leads to a considerable reduction in the number of complaints and associated costs. Furthermore, the consistent handling of customer complaints can also serve as a basis for the continuous improvement process within the company.
STANDARDIZED COMPLAINTS PROCESS ACCORDING TO VDA
According to VDA’s “Standardized complaints process” guideline, the complaints process consists of several steps which are divided into four sub-processes.
1. INITIALIZATION OF THE COMPLAINTS PROCESS
- First, the complaint must be recorded and transmitted to the supplier.
2. EVALUATION AND POSSIBLE REJECTION OF THE COMPLAINT
- The supplier checks whether the complaint is justified. If not, the complaint is rejected and the case closed.
3. 8D METHODOLOGY OR VARIANTS OF THE 8D METHODOLOGY
- If the supplier acknowledges the complaint, the complaint can then be processed using the 8D methodology or a variant of this methodology.
An 8D report incorporates the following process steps:
- D1: Putting together a team of experts to solve the problem
- D2: Describing the problem
- D3: Introducing emergency measures
- D4: Analyzing the root cause
- D5: Choosing and verifying remedial measures
- D6: Implementing and validating remedial measures
- D7: Avoiding repeating the error
- D8: Closing the case and acknowledging the team’s performance
4. VERIFICATION/CLOSING THE CASE
- Once the 8D method has been completed, the customer checks the 8D report.
- Should the customer reject this 8D report, the supplier is then required to make improvements to it within the scope of the 8D methodology.
- Through acknowledging the 8D report, the customer confirms to the supplier that the measures have been effective.
- The complaint is closed.
SUCCESSFUL COMPLAINTS MANAGEMENT WITH THE RIGHT SOFTWARE
To ensure that your complaints management process is successful and sustainable, the use of special complaints management software is recommended.
Advantages of using complaints management software at a glance:
- Fast and comprehensive acquisition of all the required information.
- Clearly structured task allocation and tracking.
- Unified representation of the information throughout the entire complaints process.
- Control and monitoring of the complaints processing procedure.
- Provision of conclusive management information.
A complaints management software tool, such as CASQ-it CMEA, for example, helps you to process your complaints quickly and constructively. Complaints management software ensures that the information is recorded according to a standardized schema and systematically avoids complaints being created twice or contradictory data being collected.
For example, our CASQ-it CMEA complaints management software recognizes similarities between different complaints, which can often be traced back to similar or identical causes, whilst they are being entered. In order to optimize the workflows for your employees, the software monitors the progress of the complaint in the background and assigns each employee his/her work instructions at exactly the right moment – and completely automatically.
Integrated 5Whys question catalogs and Ishikawa diagrams support root cause analysis and processing. The software is tightly networked with CASQ-it’s intermediate inspection, SPC and outgoing goods inspection modules – allowing internal and supplier complaints to be triggered.
All your employees are kept continually up-to-date on their tasks in the complaints management process via email. And our integrated deadline monitoring tool makes sure that your processing deadlines are adhered to. The graphical analyses provided by the complaints management software push your company’s strategic improvement process ahead and provide an insight into the quality situation – from the big picture to the smallest detail. Quality indicators provided by the software support negotiations with your customers and suppliers. Quality indicators provide conclusive information on the quality of your deliveries.
Do you have any questions on how to introduce a professional complaints management software solution at your company – or do you need training or coaching on our CASQ-it complaints management tool? Then please feel free to contact us.