“Understanding Your Customers: the true power of Feedback and Complaints in Aged Care”
In the current changing world of aged care service delivery, knowing your customers inside out is crucial for success. The Aged Care Royal Commission highlighted the real need for providers to focus and transform their organisations around their customers. One key aspect that drives continuous improvement is feedback and complaints. By actively seeking feedback at every customer touchpoint, you can gain valuable insights to enhance the overall customer experience.
This article delves into the importance of understanding how your customers perceive your brand and services, as well as the role feedback plays in addressing their needs and expectations. The importance of capturing both active and passive feedback to gain comprehensive insights into customer preferences and behaviours all within the Aged Care Standards.
By embracing a well-rounded feedback program aligned with your business needs, you can fulfil your obligations and create a system that fosters accessible, confidential, prompt, and fair complaint resolution.
Customer Science Specialist Consultant Christine Davis has over a decade of experience within the aged care sector and shares insight and tips on how you can approach and manage a successful customer feedback program.
So, how well do you know your customers?
A key focus of feedback and complaints is continuous improvement. With the aim to seek feedback at every touchpoint with customers. Then use that information to continuously improve the customer experience. Knowing how your customers perceive your company and the services you offer is a fundamental first step to your being able to bring about improvements in their overall experience of your brand. Customer feedback is used to understand how well your business and employees know your customers and to determine if you are successfully addressing their needs and expectations. It also tells you how you’re stacking up against competitors.
Feedback and complaints are also a very important part of the Aged Care Standards. As such your organisation is required to have in place a way for your consumers to feel safe, encouraged and supported to give feedback and make complaints. And for them to be engaged in that process. Standard 6 also requires your organisation to have an accessible, confidential, prompt, and fair system to resolve complaints.
A high-quality feedback and complaints function in an organisation is one where there is understanding and oversight over the two elements of handling feedback and complaints:
- the system or process for handling feedback, and
- the interpersonal skills your people hold to manage the feedback well.
The ‘gift’ of customer feedback
Let’s first look at the interpersonal skills your people need to deliver a high-quality outcome. Customers who provide feedback and complaints should be valued and treated with care and respect. Make sure your team are skilled in being able to manage all feedback including complaints so they can respond to compliments or comments in a timely manner or calm an angry or upset consumer while working to solve the problem wherever possible.
Customer feedback, whether a compliment or complaint is a ‘gift’ for your organisation and customers should be encouraged and supported to make them. When well used this information can help your organisation improve your service delivery to better meet the wants and needs of your customers. It helps you understand the drivers behind consumer decisions and provides data and insight to design improved experiences and new innovations. All while helping you meet your compliance obligations.
Capture ‘passive’ as well as ‘active’ feedback
When considering the feedback system or program you need to understand how well you are gathering valuable feedback from your customers. Are you gathering feedback using active and passive methods? Many providers employ active feedback methods such as direct questioning via customer surveys, focus groups and customer interviews. But many are not collecting the data from passive feedback methods that occur when the customer initiates an interaction on a variety of channels such as live chat, support calls, social media, and online reviews or websites.
Each active or passive interaction with your customer offers you a chance to gain feedback and insight into their habits and behaviours, their satisfaction, and their loyalty to your brand. All you need do is ensure that your feedback program is capturing data systematically with a methodology that best aligns with your business needs. And this will help you satisfy your obligations under Standard 6 to provide a system that supports all consumers to make a complaint or give feedback. And contributes to resolving complaints in a way that is accessible, confidential, prompt and fair!
In conclusion, embracing a comprehensive feedback and complaints program in aged care is vital for understanding and meeting customer needs, driving continuous improvement, and fulfilling Aged Care Standards, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience and fostering a culture of care and excellence.
Christine is currently offering 30-minute 1:1’s to brainstorm aged-care-specific challenges to support growth and improvement in FY2024. Feel free to complete the form below and Christine will reach out to you.
Written by Christine Davis