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Customer service complaints -- comparing by industry

Customer service complaint numbers vary by industry, says call center expert Lori Bocklund, so customer service managers should network with other businesses to compare their complaint levels accordingly.

Is there a standard for complaints per number of calls? For example, if we had three complaints for every 10,000 calls that come into the call center, is that good or bad? Is there a reference that we can use?
There is no standard number or ratio of complaints to contacts that can be applied generally across the board. Each business is unique in its approach and tolerance to customer dissatisfaction. What may be a perfectly acceptable ratio of complaints in one business or industry could be viewed as extremely high in another.

There are several customer service organizations available to assist you in networking to compare numbers with...

other businesses. In addition to these, most vendors who offer call center technology and solutions also sponsor customer user groups specific to their technology -- for example, your telephone system vendor will sponsor a group that is specific to customers who use their system. Frequently, there is a cross section of businesses and IT representatives within these groups with which to network and compare operational statistics and standards.

Following are two large customer service organizations that should be able to help you further:

  • International Customer Service Association (ICSA)
  • Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP)
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