Public organisations that manage complaints well reap rewards, new research finds

SOCAP Australia

For the first time, public sector organisations can now measure the social returns on complaint handling, revealing the holistic value of effective customer care. New research, conducted for SOCAP Australia by the University of Newcastle, has found that for every dollar that a public organisation spends on effectively handling complaints, the organisation can reap up to a $5 return on investment (ROI).

The research highlights the importance of public organisations quantifying the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of effective complaints handling. SROI considers the social benefits of effective complaint handling, such as increased customer trust in the organisation and enhanced perceptions of fairness and equity.

SOCAP Chief Executive Fiona Brown said that the key differences between private and public sector organisations highlighted the need for a framework that calculated the ROI specifically for public organisations. “There are differences in customer behaviour where public organisations are involved. Customers cannot simply exit the relationship if they do not like how their complaint has been managed,” she said.

“However, this new research has shown that when these customers have their complaints managed well they are more satisfied and can display greater compliance with government approaches and enhanced perceptions and trust in terms of government decision making and policy.”

The findings outlined in the SOCAP report “ROI of Effective Complaints Management: Public Sector Organisations”, show that public organisations sometimes have systemic issues, which lead to some complaints being incorrectly identified or not recorded as complaints. The differing definitions of what constitutes a complaint across public sector organisations can result in expressions of dissatisfaction being treated only as a client enquiry or

/Public Release.