Complex Complaint Case Management is So Much More Than CRM Software

A Bad Workman Can’t Always Blame Their Tools

Let’s start with the skills required to be an effective complaints case manager. Sure, there are a multitude of like-to-have skills that most employers would embrace in any employee but when it comes to complex case management in organisations such as Ombudsmans, Adjudication Services and Regulators, the importance of the must-have skills for an effective Case Manager cannot be under-estimated. Communication skills, organisational skills, interviewing skills, customer service skills, conflict resolution skills, time management skills….the list can and does go on.

 

Prior to a complaint case being raised on CRM, a team member in the organisation is typically responsible for assessing an initial enquiry from inbound channels such as phone, email, webform, letters etc., where they determine the eligibility for upgrading the enquiry to a complaint. During this assessment, the team member will identify what services are most appropriate to resolve the enquiry, concluding with either resolving it through the provision of information – which can sometimes include referring or linking the customer to another service provider, or, upgrading the enquiry to a complaint and assigning it to a case manager, thus initiating the complaint case management process.  This initial assessment step alone requires unique skills of the team member to empathise and connect with the client, opening an opportunity to resolve the enquiry without the need for raising a complaint. Therefore, effective interview skills should be exercised as well as outstanding customer service & documentation skills to support writing effective and accurate case notes.

Case Coordination and Investigation

Case managers are the first line of oversight and coordination of the entire complaint case. They are responsible for collating and making available on CRM, all documentation related to the case such as emails, web forms, social media, correspondence, letters and reports. They are also responsible for delegating action tasks to relevant personnel, monitoring the progress of these, managing all communications to the complainant and relevant 3rd parties and ensuring action timelines are being met, supporting achievement of case performance KPI’s. It is especially important for a case manager to prioritise cases by importance when dealing with vulnerable, sensitive and complex cases – allowing sufficient investigation time to achieve a resolution. Time management, organisation, communication and multi-tasking skills are all imperative for a case manager to possess in order to juggle so many balls while maintaining professionalism and adhering to strategy, process & regulations.

The many steps in the complaint case management process involve colossal information collection as well as working with multiple clients at once, collecting data on hundreds of points, corresponding with clients and collaborating between case worker colleagues and 3rd parties.

There’s no question that an effective complaints management strategy will be substantially supported by a powerful tool such as a customised CRM – in fact such a tool will provide the very support that the case workers need to resolve and close cases in line with organisational KPI’s – likely delivering enhanced job satisfaction for employees and potentially improving staff retention. But as a bad workman might be tempted to blame his or her tools, the importance of the case workers has to be acknowledged as more important than the tool itself.

While there is a clear importance in having a reliable system to support tracking of all the complex case information in one location – the information collected can only be effectively leveraged with the right people to manage, interpret, communicate, evaluate and resolve it.

Fast track to year end and consider the satisfaction of publishing your annual report, highlighting excelled performance of cases closed from the previous year because the people with the necessary skills and the CRM tool were all working simultaneously to deliver your company goals.  

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