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IF YOU WANT LOYAL CUSTOMERS, MAKE IT EASY TO COMPLAIN

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IF YOU WANT LOYAL CUSTOMERS, MAKE IT EASY TO COMPLAIN

Peter Whibley, product marketing manager for KANA Software, A Verint® Company

If there’s only one thing worse than a customer complaint it’s not seeing a customer complaint. If you don’t see it, there’s little you can do. For every customer who complains directly about your business there are many more who are equally dissatisfied but don’t bother to complain. They simply stop doing business with you and you didn’t have the opportunity to turn the situation around.

Complaints are inevitable, and customers are unpredictable. It is impossible for businesses to predict every customer service scenario. Everything isn’t always awesome. Yet, as strange as it may seem, complaints can be good for business. In fact, complaints are a business opportunity.

Great complaint handling positively impacts customer loyalty. It’s estimated that customers who voice a complaint are much more likely to repurchase if the complaint is resolved to their satisfaction compared with a customer that didn’t have a problem. This implies that customers understand that mistakes are inevitable. When issues are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, it builds trust between both parties. From the business perspective the customer complaint is another moment of truth with the customer, another touch point — and another opportunity to impress.

Organisations have been creating customer complaint handling processes for years, ready to crank into action when a customer lodges a complaint. As organisations begin to understand the impact of complaint management on customer loyalty — and customer service departments start being viewed as revenue generators rather than a cost centres, the approach to complaint handling is changing.

Make It Easy to Complain

Customers don’t care about channels. They simply use the most convenient method of contacting an organisation with their problem. The era of providing email or voice only complaint channels is over. Leading customer experience and customer service organisations are no longer tucking their customer support in some dark, difficult to find part of their web page. They are making it easy to complain. Almost as a badge of honour, some organisations, such as Chase, are so confident in how they manage their customer service that they have their Twitter support link on their main landing page. Great customer service and complaint handling is becoming a marketing opportunity.
Web

Listen and Ask

Complaint handling used to be reactive. Now it’s proactive. Why wait for complaints to come to you when you can reach out to customers and ask. Organisations are creating Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs to listen to customers and ask for feedback. For example, including enterprise feedback management (EFM) as a final step in the end-to-end customer service process allows organisations to survey the customer experience as close to the transaction as possible, and then quickly identify and remedy problems before they become much bigger issues.
Increase Speed

Speed has always been important in customer service. However, social media has heightened customer expectations. Speed helps build customer trust and reassure customers that a business values them. It also allows organisations to handle minor problems before they mushroom into something bigger. Many organisations are transforming the speed of complaint handling by helping ensure customer feedback from their voice of the customer programs automatically triggers back-end, customer service and case management processes.

Continuously Improve

In addition to potentially building loyalty, customer complaints provide an opportunity to improve. If one customer has complained about a service issue, chances are others have had the same issue but have chosen not to complain. Rather than avoiding complaints organisations should instead seek them out as an opportunity to improve business processes.

About the Author
Specialising in helping organisations architect next-generation customer experiences, Peter Whibley is product marketing manager for KANA, a Verint® Company.
KANA®, A Verint Company®, is a recognised industry leader in the delivery of customer experience solutions and, together with Verint, provides Case Management, VOC and Enterprise Feedback Management solutions that can help transform how organisations manage their customer complaints—turning complaints into a business opportunity rather than something frightening. Customer complaints are inevitable; they can also be profitable.

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Oil prices steady as lockdowns curb U.S. stimulus optimism

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Oil prices steady as lockdowns curb U.S. stimulus optimism 1

By Noah Browning

LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices were steady on Monday as support from U.S. stimulus plans and jitters about supplies competed with worries about demand due to renewed lockdowns to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Brent crude futures for March rose 7 cents, or 0.1%, to $55.48 a barrel by 1210 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for March was up 5 cents, or 0.1%, at $52.32.

“Sentiment was buoyed by expectations for a blockbuster coronavirus relief package … (but) the tug of war between stimulus optimism and virus woes is set to continue,” said Stephen Brennock of broker PVM.

U.S. lawmakers are set to lock horns over the size of a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package proposed by new President Joe Biden, financial stimulus that would support the economy and fuel demand.

European nations, major consumers, have imposed tough restrictions to halt the spread of the virus, while China reported a rise in new COVID-19 cases, casting a pall over demand prospects in the world’s largest energy consumer.

Barclays raised its 2021 oil price forecasts, but said rising cases in China could contribute to near-term pullbacks.

“Even though the pandemic is not yet slowing down, oil prices have good reasons to start the week with gains,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen from Rystad Energy.

Supply concerns have offered some support. Indonesia said its coast guard seized an Iranian-flagged tanker over suspected illegal fuel transfers, raising the prospect of more tensions in the oil-exporting Gulf.

“A development that always benefits prices is the market turbulence that conflicts create,” Tonhaugen added.

Libyan oil guards halted exports from several main ports in a pay dispute on Monday.

Output from Kazakhstan’s giant Tengiz field was disrupted by a power outage on Jan. 17.

(Editing by David Goodman and Edmund Blair)

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Dollar steadies; euro hurt by vaccine delays and German business morale slump

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Dollar steadies; euro hurt by vaccine delays and German business morale slump 2

By Elizabeth Howcroft

LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar steadied, the euro slipped and riskier currencies remained strong on Monday, as currency markets were torn between optimism about U.S. stimulus plans, and the reality of slow vaccine rollout and the economic impact of lockdowns in Europe.

Market sentiment had turned more cautious at the end of last week as European economic data showed that lockdown restrictions to limit the spread of the virus hurt business activity, dragging stocks lower.

The safe-haven dollar declined gradually overnight, and riskier currencies strengthened. It then recovered some losses after European markets opened, and was at 90.224 against a basket of currencies at 1152 GMT, flat on the day.

On one hand, market sentiment is supported by hopes for President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus plans, as well as the expectation that central banks will continue to provide liquidity.

But, in Europe, the extent of the risk appetite was limited by a lack of progress in rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine as well the economic impact of lockdown measures.

German business morale slumped to a six-month low in January, surprising market participants who had expected the survey to show a rise.

“It’s very much a case of hopes for the future against the reality of the first quarter of this year which is going to still prove to be fairly troubled,” said Jeremy Stretch, head of G10 FX strategy at CIBC Capital Markets.

“For now at least, the optimism that we’re hoping for has been somewhat delayed and that has taken a little bit of steam out of the euro and just put a little bit of support back in the dollar but ultimately I think it is still a case of those high-beta commodity currencies, reflation currencies, will continue to perform well,” he said.

Analysts expect a broad dollar decline during 2021. The net speculative short position on the dollar grew to its largest in ten years in the week to Jan. 19, according to weekly futures data from CFTC released on Friday.

The U.S. Federal Reserve meets on Wednesday and Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to signal that he has no plans to wind back the Fed’s massive stimulus any time soon – news which could push the dollar down further.

“The process of tapering QE is likely to be a gradual process which could last throughout 2022, and then potentially be followed by the first rate hikes later in 2023,” wrote MUFG currency analyst Lee Hardman.

“In these circumstances, we continue to believe that it is premature to expect the US dollar to rebound now in anticipation of policy tightening ahead, and still see scope for further weakness this year,” he said.

The euro was down around 0.1% against the dollar, at $1.2153 at 1207 GMT. At the European Central Bank meeting last week, President Christine Lagarde said the bank was closely watching the euro. The euro surged 9% last year versus the dollar and reached new two and a half year highs earlier in January.

But despite this verbal intervention, traders remain bullish on the euro, expecting the bar for a rate cut to be high.

Elsewhere, the Australian dollar, which is seen as a liquid proxy for risk, was up 0.2% at 0.7726 versus the U.S. dollar at 1208 GMT.

The New Zealand dollar was up 0.5%, while the commodity-driven Norwegian crown was up 0.2% the euro.

The safe-haven Japanese yen was flat on the day at 103.815 versus the U.S. dollar.

Graphic: USD, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/qmypmyjdxpr/USD.png

(Reporting by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Ed Osmond and Chizu Nomiyama)

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Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific warns of capacity cuts, higher cash burn

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Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific warns of capacity cuts, higher cash burn 3

(Reuters) – Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd on Monday warned passenger capacity could be cut by about 60% and monthly cash burn may rise if Hong Kong installs new measures that require flight crew to quarantine for two weeks.

Hong Kong’s flagship carrier said the expected move will increase cash burn by about HK$300 million ($38.70 million) to HK$400 million per month, on top of current HK$1 billion to HK$1.5 billion levels.

Hong Kong is set to require flight crew entering the Asian financial hub for more than two hours to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks, the South China Morning Post reported last week, citing sources.

“The new measure will have a significant impact on our ability to service our passenger and cargo markets,” Cathay said in a statement, adding that expected curbs will also reduce its cargo capacity by 25%.

The airline, in an internal memo seen by Reuters, requested for volunteers among its crew who could fly for three weeks, followed by two weeks of quarantine and 14 days free of duty, adding it will be a temporary measure and not all its flight will require such an operation.

“We continue to engage with key stakeholders in the Hong Kong Government,” the memo said.

In an emailed response to Reuters, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said: “In the light of the evolving pandemic situation locally and internationally, the Government will keep reviewing and refining the arrangements applicable to different categories of exempted persons, including air crew, with reference to all relevant considerations.”

Separately, a company spokeswoman said the airline could not detail the impact on vaccine transport specifically in terms of cargo shipments.

The aviation industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as many countries imposed travel restrictions to contain its spread.

In December, Cathay’s passenger numbers fell by 98.7% compared to a year earlier, though cargo carriage was down by a smaller 32.3%.

(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney and Twinnie Siu in Hong Kong; Editing by Bernard Orr, Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter)

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