Are you tired of tracking customer complaints with inefficient paper systems? So was AFFINA Corp., a Troy, Mich., supplier of market research and database management services. The company uses customer feedback to improve its operations, and it conveys the feedback to 25 other companies that outsource call center activities to AFFINA.

Its solution was a feedback database accessible to every employee at the click of a mouse. The computerized system makes it possible for AFFINA to categorize and track large numbers of comments, as well as track the status of complaint resolution. To provide insight into customer feelings, positive and neutral comments -- even small ones -- are collected, along with complaints.

Employees are encouraged to enter their comments into the system. "Approximately 25% of entries into the system are employee comments rather than direct customer comments," says account executive Margaret Raddatz. "Both types of comments have led to operational improvements, so it would be a mistake to limit the database to customer comments."

The database tracks the number and types of comments as well as complaint resolution time. One of the system's best features, according to Raddatz, is the ability to rapidly identify trends in comments entered by 200 different call center representatives. For example, one client initiated a 700,000-piece direct mail solicitation with a flawed mailing list. Within the first two days of inbound calls, AFFINA noticed that many recipients weren't eligible for the offer. The client was able to remove 125,000 ineligible names before the mailing was completed. The client saved postage and avoided untold customer dissatisfaction.

Copyright 1997 G+J USA Publishing