If you work with people, sell a product, or provide a service, you deal with complaints, and those complaints can take many forms. Depending on the severity of your complaint, they can require detailed investigation and tracking. In those instances, you cross the line from standard complaint management into full blown case management.
Certain businesses—like healthcare institutions, municipalities, educational systems, financial services companies, restaurants, and retailers—also have to consider how failing to properly track their cases could not only damage their reputation, but create liability due to compromised compliance or even personal endangerment.
As a responsible business, you need to make sure you have a detailed case management system in place. This is especially critical if you serve external customers and your reputation or compliance, in part, relies on making customers happy or keeping them safe.
3 Examples of Case Management
When it comes to the investigation of cases, emotions can run rampant. Case management requires respect, promptness, and objectiveness throughout the entire investigation from the initiation all the way to resolution. Below, we talk about three areas where good case management policies play a major role in making sure customers or employees are happy and safe, while businesses stay in compliance:
- Financial Services
Within the last few years, complaints in the financial realm escalated to the point that the government got involved. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) exists for customers to file complaints against financial services companies unable or unwilling to resolve their complaints. According to the CFPB website (www.consumerfinance.gov), as of January 2016, the CFPB has handled over 800,000 complaints. Whether simple issues regarding loan applications or beneficiary changes to more concerning allegations such as fraud, each concern is a valid case, requiring a full investigation to mitigate any future concerns.
- Tracking HR or Harassment
For most Human Resources departments, harassment reports are a common concern. Higher education and school systems provide good examples of organizations that must carefully handle harassment complaints, for example, against staff, faculty, and other students. Even bullying concerns could be considered behavioral complaints. Effectively managing such case starts with implementing a safe, protected, and private mechanism and process for victims to report harassment. These types of cases, more than any other, require tact, empathy, and understanding in their investigations.
In the healthcare industry, patient complaint and incident case management often involves fielding concerns from a patient’s family member. It could be something as minor as a housekeeping need or something as severe as an error in medication. Internal staff may need to initiate cases to report errors and malfunctions with equipment. Incidents related to safety or hazardous conditions reflect another kind of concern typical of a healthcare environment. Between patients, their families, visitors and staff, a case may come in from any source. The full investigation is often overseen by auditors, so details and proper management are a high concern.
Why You Need a Solid Process for Handling Cases
With complaints coming in from all sources, you need a case management process that keeps the person making the complaint in the loop throughout the course of the investigation. Basic steps normally includes a timely acknowledgement, a process towards resolution, and a final outcome that benefits everyone.
Full case management involves more than just resolving a single concern. It means taking steps to make sure the same problem never happens again. Software companies patch bugs in their software. Manufacturing companies issue product recalls. And, in the case of harassment cases, it may mean disciplinary action, termination of employment, or even potential legal ramifications.
All of these require mechanisms for collecting data and tracking the investigation process, while keeping everyone informed of the progress toward resolution as well as preventing future complaints. Above all, communication with the person that initiated the case is critical.
What’s your case management process? Some companies initiate cases through emails. Others take phone calls, use social media, or implement website pages. Other companies, however, have discovered that using a software application is the most surefire way of tracking complaints from submission to resolution. This also helps with identifying trends, preventing future complaints, and maintaining compliance.
If you’re ready to see how Issuetrak can help you manage your cases from initiation to resolution, contact one of our product experts today!