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Managing customer complaints - video transcript

In a case study video Jane Clout, manager of Kooringal Oysters, explains how to avoid customer complaints as well as how to manage them if they do happen:

[Jane Clout, Manager, Koringal Oysters]

My name is Jane Clout. I manage Kooringal Oysters which is a family company. We farm Sydney Rock Oysters in Moreton Bay on intertidal sandbanks. We basically grow them right through in the bay, or we try to grow them right through in the bay, so that people know that they're a local oyster grown in good clean water 18kms off the coast. We sell into retail and wholesale, and basically I'm the frontline. I have a lot of client contact, and that's really how I manage the businesses.

We're selling a live animal that's actually in shell. We call it live in shell. So the product itself that you see on the restaurant table is never actually what you see when you buy the product, so it's very important to me to sort of educate my customers in that sense, to try and pre-empt any complaints. So our complaint policy basically is to work very closely with people right from the start, educating them on what they can expect, what we deliver, the process that we run through to get to delivery and how they should handle the product while they keep it, because often they keep it for an extended period of time after we deliver it to them. So it's a very close educational process really, for us.

If there were a complaint, I would immediately talk to the customer about what his complaint was — whether it was related to either the numbers that he'd purchased from me or... so the detail of the complaint basically. And try to drill down through our process in delivering the product to him that might have created that complaint, or created the issue that he's actually complaining about — whether it's product, or service, or time-to-market, or you know, just try to determine exactly what's going on. And then I'd work with them to resolve that. If it's a process of ours, then we'd need to review that. If it's a process that's happened in his handling of the product, I'd try to educate him in that sense.

If it's about — I mean sometimes oysters spawn and we can't pick that and neither can the client, so it's just a completely... that's happened, let's replace the product, it's not an issue and I mean, I'd basically replace the product anyway. But I try to use the process to educate people better, to educate myself better really to what might happen, so that I can risk manage better, because I think a lot of our business is that sort of that risk management.

Watch our managing customer complaints video.