Complaint Handling

Objective
To provide students with a creative opportunity to observe the complaint handling situation and supply feedback to a service firm, as well as help them understand and evaluate the customer service and “recovery” strategies of a specific firm.

Directions
This is a hypothetical (imaginary) exercise and will require the group/s to first write a complaint letter to a chosen service firm, and again the group should write a reply letter to the grievant customer. The detailed steps of how to expedite this assignment and the requirements are listed below:
Step 1.
Choose any one service firm of your choice from within the hotel industry, airlines, banking, insurance, accounting, legal, education, travel, health, consultation services, or beauty clinic. This could be easily achieved by surfing the internet.

Step 2.
Once you have selected your service firm from within the industry listed above; the name and address of the appropriate person to whom to complaint should be obtained (this may take some research).

Step 3.
Now, the student (group) is required to write a formal complaint letter to your chosen service firm from whom the student (group) has, in his/her opinion, received bad or at least less-than-satisfactory service. The complaint scenario could be your past or present experience or an experience related to you by your family or friends. Care should be taken to include all pertinent information (dates of service, names, account numbers, credit card numbers, etc.) as well as a description of the poor experience and, if appropriate, a suggested course of action the company could take to appropriately “recover” in this situation. That is, the resolution being sought from the company should be clear. Do not mention in the letter that you are doing this as a unit requirement (the complaint letter should not exceed one-and-half pages).

Step 4.
The above complaint letter written to the chosen service firm should request a response from the organization and provide appropriate contact information of the student (group), including a mailing address, e-mail address, phone number (if appropriate), and any other relevant information, to give the service firms a chance to respond within a period of two weeks.

Step 5.
Addressing the above issue raised by your group, the service firm (the group in your case) shall now write a reply to the grievant customer addressing the issue/s. This reply letter should address an apology to the customer first, followed by the steps taken by the firm to resolve the particular grievance/s if appropriate, and the care that would be taken in future to avoid such situations. The resolutions offered by the service firm could also include surprise gifts, benefits, bonus, coupons etc., to the grievant customer (again, this letter should also not exceed one-and-half pages).

Step 6.
Having completed the above steps, you would now nominate one student from within the group as the grievant customer who will present the formal complaint written letter to the class, another student as the service firm manager who will address the issue/s. The remaining two members (one in some groups as there could be 3 sometimes) shall critically analyse the nature of the complaint and the resolution offered by the service firm to the class, include other possible ways the group had considered to resolve the complaints.

Requirements
The critical analysis paper should include all of the following elements (and associated Headings):
(1) Introduction
A (brief) description of: (a) what led to the complaint, (b) the resolution being sought (what you wanted the firm to do in response to the complaint),(c)What the firm was expected to do in response to the complaint, and how quickly the firm was expected to respond.

(2) Firm Response
You should (a) describe what the response was, (b) discuss the adequacy of the firm’s response (in your opinion as a customer), (c) provide three reasons why you believe they did not respond in the manner they should have, and (d) suggest what the firm could have done better to delight you.

(3) Discussion
(a) Discuss the effect that the complaint letter might have had on influencing the firm’s response.
(b) Address how you now feel towards the organization.
(c) Conclude the paper with some finalm thoughts, including a discussion of:
1. your perspective on the statement “The customer who complains is the firm’s friend,”
2. what you learned from this experience, and
3. how you will apply what you learned as you enter the business world.

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