Effective communication is essential in every facet of life, and complaints management is no exception. This holds true twice over: once through good communication skills from employee to complainant, and the other, between employees. Without the employee-complainant facet, you will inevitably be faced with PR complications and unhappy employees. Yet without the inter-employee facet, your entire complaints management process could be impaired.
Both internal and external communication skills are important for complaints management, especially when it comes to transferring information and processes from one person to another. In this article, we'll be talking about how your company can help instill four best practices of internal communication skills between your employees.
1. Always be organized
The very first thing your company should invest in is organization skills. This primarily translates to organization of communication modes between departments. You therefore must have a hierarchy (though not necessarily top to bottom) of who is supposed to talk to who, so that information is sent in a clear and timely manner.
Let’s take the example of Frank, a Complaints Officer in a mid-sized company. Frank receives routine phone calls from customers voicing their concerns over product failures. In order to stay up-to-date and accurate, Frank probably needs to consolidate his information with several coworkers. This might be done through a spreadsheet or software; the point is that all of these employees must know the protocol of complaints recording from the get-go.
Every employee in your company should know who to report to for problems and where to input their gathered information. So organization in this sense is essential to avoid the inefficiency of rekeyed data, time lost in confusion, and the lack of consolidation of data.
2. Don’t underestimate the importance of good leadership
Next up on the best practice list is the unquestionable importance of leadership skills. No team will ever function to their optimum level without a strong leader to guide and coach. Managerial skills are extremely important for holding together the different personalities that make up any team, and help to smooth over processes and interpersonal relationships that occur between employees--chief among them being internal communication.
As stated in the above point, all employees should have a person that they can directly contact for their questions, concerns, or problems. When communication problems occur, this person should help to clear the air; in effect mediating inter-employee relationships.
Team leaders should also be very aware of which individuals are handling which projects, which leads us to the next best practice below.
3. Always check up on your employees
One of the biggest problems that teams, departments, and even companies, often face is complacent obliviousness to their coworkers or workforce.
Logic holds that if you are working in a conjoint project thats requires several distinct groups, each of the groups should know who is responsible for what. If this does not happen, there may be overlaps between departments, resulting in repetition of work, loss of time, and the overall waste of resources.
To avoid this problem, teams should hold frequent meetings to check up on each others' work and progress. These meetings can range from a short briefing to a long presentations; ultimately, your take away message should be two things: what your team should be working on and what other teams are and will be working on.
If there is a collaboration between teams or departments on certain projects, then the relevant parties should also meet to discuss, plan, and implement action plans, work schedules and deadlines.
4. Invest in training and workshops
Once your employees have gotten organized and efficient, all is well, right? Wrong.
Before you start getting comfortable with the way your internal affairs are going, you should first check for areas of improvement that you might be lacking. This could be in one of two areas:
a. Already present faults
b. New skills in the industry
Internal communication is truly the backbone of any successful company or department, including complaints management. So next time you consider improving your complaints management communication skills, remember that these include two sides of the story: internal and external communication.