Lade Inhalt...

Complaint Management and Internal Marketing

The role and importance of Internal Marketing in Complaint Management Processes

©2008 Bachelorarbeit 173 Seiten


The first chapter gives a introduction into the topic and explains how the whole work is structured before the key subjects in chapter two will be discussed.
‘Okay Sir, I will put you through to someone else’. Does this sound familiar? Trying to switch to a different contract with a cell phone operator, but nobody seems to be qualified to handle a request. Dissatisfaction arises and the customer would like to report his problem. On the one hand the customer experiences a breakdown in service and on the other hand a second disappointment may follow if a service provider fails to handle the grievance after it is stated. The question arises as to why complaint handling is important nowadays. ‘Complaint handling is not as selfless an act by a company as it may seem.’ A complaint is the cheapest, most honest and most qualitative form of management consulting there is, according to market research into sales force by Pawlik Sales Consultants AG. Companies should not be afraid to face feedback and complaints. According to the Treasury Board of Canada: ‘Research suggests that relatively few dissatisfied clients bother to complain. As a result, every complaint received may provide a window into a much larger pool of dissatisfaction. By dealing with the causes of complaints, the organization can further reduce both the number of complaints and dissatisfaction with its program delivery or service.’ Complaint management is a tool to prevent the migration of customers to competitors, and more and more companies understand that simply recruiting new customers is not sufficient. As a consequence, intensification of defensive marketing, in contrast to offensive marketing actions, becomes more interesting to a company. The aim of defensive marketing should be the development of long-lasting customer relations. For example, Volvo/Saab, the Swedish automobile manufacturer, estimates that the cost of generating new customers is three times the cost of retaining an existing customer. Satisfactory complaint management can create satisfied customers. The key figure mediating between a company and a customer with a complaint is, of course, the employee of the service organization. The role and performance of the employee will determine the success of a complaint handling process and the adequate service recovery. In order to be able to fulfil this goal, employees need to undergo training. Furthermore the management needs to develop a corporate […]








- Declaration of Authenticity

1. Introduction
1.1. Outline and Methodology

2. Definitions
2.1. Complaint and CCM
2.2. Internal Marketing & Human Resource Management

3. Organizational aspects of complaint management
3.1. The importance of processes and Human Resource Management
3.2. Decentralized complaint management
3.3. Central complaint management
3.4. Dual complaint management

4. Basics of Complaint Management
4.1. Process of Complaint Management
4.1.1. Direct Complaint Management Complaint stimulation Complaint acceptance Complaint processing and the role of IM and HRM The concept of complaint ownership Complaint reaction
4.1.2. Indirect Complaint Management Complaint analysis and the Role of HR in process improvement Complaint management controlling Complaint reporting & Complaint information utilization

5. The Role of Human Resource Management and TQM
5.1. Importance & Qualification of Employees in Complaint contact
5.2. The role of Internal Marketing
5.2.2. Employee Branding
5.2.3. Motivation & Rewards, Recognition and Appraisal Systems
5.2.4. Empowerment
5.2.6. Benchmarking
5.2.7. How to avoid Burn out – effect
5.2.8. Mechanism to Increase customer Focus
5.2.9. Communication Value Management Conflict Management

6. Empirical Study
6.1. Empirical Research
6.2. Research Methods
6.3. Research Objectives
6.4. Data Collection
6.5. List of Participants
6.6. Critical analysis of the results
6.7. Results and theory-based Data evaluation

7. Recommendations & Conclusion
7.1. Conclusion and Recommendation
7.2. Future Research


Appendix i


Table 1 Empowerment

Table 2 Occupational and External Stress factors

Table 3 Information & Supply

Table 4 Reasons for conflict in CCM

Table 5 Research Methods


illustration not visible in this excerpt


Figure 1 Complaint Management Process

Figure 2 Maslows Need Theory

Figure 3 Organisational Learning

Figure 4 The influence of market - orientated HR


Skilled personnel play a crucial role in the development of a successful complaint management strategy.

This thesis has been conducted to determine the importance of effective training, motivation and empowerment within a complaint handling process structure. Therefore, it will consist of two main parts. First of all a theoretical foundation is set out. The second part gives details of empirical research carried out among 30 international companies, which investigates and demonstrates the relevance of human capital in Strategic Development with respect to internal and external marketing.

Keywords: Human Resources, Complaint Management, Internal Marketing


I appreciate foremost, that my family was so supportive to me during my whole education. I would like to thank everybody that supported and went with me trough he last four years including my friends and classmates. Your constant encouragement and company helped me not to grow weary. This includes my friends Andrea Bergter, David Kamau and Volker Scholz as well, who helped me not to lose courage in hard times during my exams in particular. Furthermore, I want to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for saving me and strengthen me in all this years. Thanks to my spiritual mentors Pastor Mario Wahnschaffe and Pastor Katharine Siegling; for helping me to learn about faith. A special appreciation goes to all the participants, who helped me to conducted the in – depth interviews. Finally yet importantly, I want to give special thanks to my supervisor Prof. Dr. Kurt Jeschke, who gave me many advises and supported me during the whole process of conducting this thesis.

- Declaration of Authenticity -

Herewith I confirm that this dissertation is my own work, which was written without unauthorized assistance and that all references used are marked appropriately. This dissertation has not been published elsewhere or submitted as part of any other module assessment.

Place, Date Signature: Malte Kempen

1. Introduction

The first chapter gives a introduction into the topic and explains how the whole work is structured before the key subjects in chapter two will be discussed.

“Okay Sir, I will put you through to someone else”. Does this sound familiar? Trying to switch to a different contract with a cell phone operator, but nobody seems to be qualified to handle a request. Dissatisfaction arises and the customer would like to report his problem. On the one hand the customer experiences a breakdown in service and on the other hand a second disappointment may follow if a service provider fails to handle the grievance after it is stated. The question arises as to why complaint handling is important nowadays. “Complaint handling is not as selfless an act by a company as it may seem.” A complaint is the cheapest, most honest and most qualitative form of management consulting there is, according to market research into sales force by Pawlik Sales Consultants AG[1]. Companies should not be afraid to face feedback and complaints. According to the Treasury Board of Canada: “Research suggests that relatively few dissatisfied clients bother to complain.[2] [3] As a result, every complaint received may provide a window into a much larger pool of dissatisfaction. By dealing with the causes of complaints, the organization can further reduce both the number of complaints and dissatisfaction with its program delivery or service.”[4] Complaint management is a tool to prevent the migration of customers to competitors, and more and more companies understand that simply recruiting new customers is not sufficient. As a consequence, intensification of defensive marketing, in contrast to offensive marketing actions, becomes more interesting to a company. The aim of defensive marketing should be the development of long-lasting customer relations.[5] For example, Volvo/Saab, the Swedish automobile manufacturer, estimates that the cost of generating new customers is three times the cost of retaining an existing customer.[6] Satisfactory complaint management can create satisfied customers. The key figure mediating between a company and a customer with a complaint is, of course, the employee of the service organization. The role and performance of the employee will determine the success of a complaint handling process and the adequate service recovery. In order to be able to fulfil this goal, employees need to undergo training. Furthermore the management needs to develop a corporate culture that empowers employees and which communicates a clear internal marketing strategy.

Companies depend on their customers and not vice versa. In times of increasing competition, a service provider needs to create a competitive advantage in order to stay in the market. Even in Germany, which is not renowned for its levels of customer service, an increasing number of complaint handling mechanisms are being implemented and the need for skilled human resources in this field is growing constantly. The aim of this study is to introduce the basic theory concepts and to present the trends in this area.

1.1. Outline and Methodology

At the beginning of this paper, in the second chapter, an overview of the main buzzwords of the field is presented. The recurrent theme in the following two chapters will be the importance of Internal Marketing in processes and the conceptual frameworks of CCM. These terms will be chaperoned in terms of the development of psycho – sociological competence in interdependence in IM. After consideration of the basic structure, Chapter three will discuss the organizational aspects of a complaint management procedure. This chapter will give an overview of how to organize a complaint management process and the role of HR. Basic concepts and models denoting the process of CCM will be demonstrated and discussed in detail.

Chapter four explains the objectives of a complaint management process within an organization and explains the fundamental steps which have to be implemented within the direct and indirect complaint management process. In addition, the importance of Human Resource Management and Internal Marketing will be emphasized in each process stage.

On the basis of chapters three and four, a general outline of Human Resource management will provide a deeper insight into the topic. Therefore, chapter five shows the role of internal marketing in HRM in order to be effective in handling grievances.

Following on from the theoretical chapters mentioned above, the focuses in chapter sixth will be on the empirical research which is included in this thesis. Hence, chapter six explains how the empirical study is conduced in terms of methodology and research tools. The research hypothesis will be stated and explained. In addition, it will present and discuss the findings from In – depth interviews carried out among 30 companies. Finally, the seventh and final chapter will present conclusions and recommendations. This includes advice for further investigations and research in this field.

2. Definitions

An introduction to the key subject matter of this study is provided in order to give an initial overview of the field of study, before moving on to discuss the process in detail

2.1. Complaint and CCM

Barbor suggests: “A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction with the agency’s policies, procedures, charges, employees, agents, quality of service or goods sold or provided.”[7] Complaints occur because people are upset and dissatisfied with the level of service they have received; a decision; or even the behaviour and attitude of the staff. Complaints give an idea of what distresses customers and this gives an idea of what needs to be corrected within the organisation. A reclamation only occurs if a customer has a legitimate claim and title for recovery.[8] Complaint management is an important tool of Total Quality Management (e.g. ISO 9000) and Customer Retention & Relationship systems. The Customer is always right and therefore a service organization needs to be aware when a grievance arises. To turn a wrong into a right helps an organization to improve service quality and to satisfy and keep a customer. Effective Complaint Management tries to be successful in receiving, handling and solving a grievance. A further crucial part is to analyze the reasons for the problems in total quality management terms. In doing so, the company is able to avoid a repetition of the problem by solving the cause (Straus, Seidel 2003)[9]. According to Wimmer and Roleff: “The consequence will be to increase the satisfaction of the customer and to keep him or her as a customer.”[10]

2.2. Internal Marketing & Human Resource Management

IM and HRM consist of two main tasks. On the one hand they deal with the administration of a work force and on the other hand it needs to design and handle a strategic framework which involves personnel management and personnel development. The optimal use of human resource capital requires the integration of HR into the overall strategic plan of a company.

This is a constant process within an organization, the aim of which is to ensure that employees adhere to desired programs and policies in order to satisfy customer needs and to ensure overall quality. In addition, IM serves as an effective communication tools at all corporate levels. Therefore, traditional marketing tools are of value in constructing an internal marketing strategy. This is realized by aligning, motivating and empowering the whole work force. The employees need to understand and realize how important a customer-focussed attitude is[11]. From there, IM concentrates on the relationship between staff and the customer, because only satisfied employees will create satisfied customers and the creativity and talents of the employees are a decisive factor behind the success of a company.[12] Within IM, the term “Internal Customer” is widely used. This includes all employees from the management on down to secretaries, trainees and temporary employees at all hierarchical levels. When it comes to a change in corporate culture or in communicating corporate goals, IM enables the management to get a message across to the employees and even instil it into his or her sense of self perception.

3. Organizational aspects of complaint management

After discussing the key subjects of the study, a more in-depth study will be undertaken in order to examine the importance of the organizational aspects of CCM.

3.1. The importance of processes and Human Resource Management

The importance of efficient process structuring will be discussed in the following chapter. In this context, it is of value to clarify the term “process” in detail before proceeding. In simple terms, a process describes a course of events and actions that trace an objective. Furthermore, a process is characterised by the fact that functional, organisational and personal boundaries have to be exceeded. A typical example is a sales order. This process includes all sub-processes from the customer enquiry to the delivery. However, each sub-process can be further divided into different steps. This segmentation can continue to the lowest level of all process units.[13] The traditional labor structure in the administration of a process is based on the assumption of Taylor. This system limits the organizational functions into single units and into fields of responsibility. In some Industries e.g. in a Bank (where one employee handles the whole process of allocating a loan), these patterns are of value and still work, but in organisations that operate in a more complex environment, this approach will face challenges and limits.[14] Therefore, Straus and Seidel (2003) hold the point of view that complaint management processes should be based on a horizontal approach,[15] meaning that the culture of communication and responsibilities needs to go beyond the limits of single units.[16] (See 4.11.3 complaint processing for more details). It is the task of management to handle the improvement of the conceptual framework of all corporate processes. Jeston and Nelis (2006) affirm that: “Processes are not a goal in themselves, as they are simply a means for achieving business objectives. Processes will not achieve a business objective automatically or by chance, they need continuous and effective management.”[17]

3.2. Decentralized complaint management

A pure decentralized complaint management process implies that all complaints are solved in decentralized departments independently, without involving the central office. The department that has caused the problem has to manage it. This kind of complaint management is widely used among companies that offer more complex and sophisticated products and services.[18] The first reaction of an employee can be defensive in such a situation, due to the fact that he or she has to solve his or her own mistake. On the one hand, a clear advantage in terms of consumer orientated complaint management is achieved through proximity to the customer and the fact that the problem is immediately solved, but on the other hand the customer is unsure who is responsible for his complaint. Furthermore, the documentation of complaints can be difficult in itself. One has to note that no ownership of the original error is determined.

3.3. Central complaint management

Centralized complaint management is used when a company has to deal with a high number of complaints.[19] A company has a central contact point with skilled personnel that serve as all-purpose contact staff. Companies that choose this form of complaint management deal mostly with simple and homogenous complaints. Therefore the service personnel are able to develop a routine in dealing with issues. It is common that the complaints are received via call centre agents or in written form. Problems may occur in the handling process between the different departments, the result of a conflict of interest between the complaint handler and the department that originally caused the grievance. The customer-service employee faces less psychological pressure, because they are aware of the fact that they have not caused the problem. This enables them to empathize with the complaining customer rather then defending themselves. The complaint handling department works on behalf of the management for the common welfare of the whole organization.[20]

3.4. Dual complaint management

The third approach is called the dual complaint management strategy, which bridges the gap between the two basic approaches mentioned previously. The naive assumption of the classical dichotomy between central and decentralized complaint management can overlook the fact that not all companies have the chance to clearly choose between both alternatives. According to Jeschke, Schulze and Bausersach: “It is appropriate for complex products and services, as well as for businesses featuring broad based direct contacts with customers (such as dealer networks)”.[21] Furthermore, Dual complaint management can be used by companies that can combine of both approaches based on certain issues. In other words, the combination of elements of decentral and central strategies are found in dual strategies. In practice this can mean that there is a central contact point for complaints but that each department within the organisation takes responsibility for it as well. Furthermore, other departments can serve as contact point besides the central

4. Basics of Complaint Management

In the previous chapter in-depth studies of the general process and of the organizational aspects were presented. In the following chapter the process stages in CCM will be discussed. This chapter will explain how Internal Marketing is carried out through the process stages.

4.1. Process of Complaint Management

Boshoff and Leong (1998) hold the point of view that: “Effective service recovery does not occur by (…). It needs to be a planned and well – managed process.”[22] Strauss and Seidel stress that the process of complaint management can be divided into eight basic tasks[23], which are explained in the following chapters. These eight tasks are divided into two sections called direct and indirect complaint management, each containing four areas of responsibility. As the term indicates, direct complaint management focuses on personal contact with the complaining customer and tries to solve the problem. It is generally assumed that “the quality and outcome of these processes is largely determined through psych-sociological competence of the contact personnel.”[24] It is evident from this that IM strategies are a challenge to implement, especially in these four first steps, because here the customer has direct interaction with employees. Indirect complaint management focuses on the internal customer. The objective of these four areas of responsibility is to control and analyze the causes of the service failure. In doing so, weak points are eliminated and service quality improved.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1 Complaint Management Process[25]

4.1.1. Direct Complaint Management Complaint stimulation

It is fundamental in each Complaint Management process that complaints by customers are actually received in the first place.[26] This statement is not as trite as it might seem, because research carried out by the Treasury Board of Canada suggests that relatively few dissatisfied clients bother to complain.[27] In the health care industry, only 5% to 10% of distressed patients actually complain following a dissatisfying experience.[28] The absence of complaints is, therefore, not a true indication of effective management.[29] Many companies fail to receive feedback because they missed the opportunity to solicit the views of their customers by informing them about their complaint handling service. Therefore, a company has to address the discontent of a customer to avoid negative word of mouth criticism of the company by eliminating the barriers to complaining[30]. As a consequence this means: if consumers do not complain the organisation loses the opportunity to remedy the problem and retain a customer.[31] Instead, many silently leave with the intention of never returning.[32] Three main tasks have to be fulfilled within this stage of complaint stimulation:[33]

- Establishment of complaint channels
- Communicate the channels to the customer(external marketing) and employee (IM)
- Ensure accessibility
The main Complaint Channels include:
- Verbal Complaint Channel, which is the direct complaint contact from person to person, e.g. in a hotel or a garage.
- Written Complaint Channel (Letter, faxes etc.)
- Telephone Complaint Channel
- Electronic Complaint Channel ( e – mail, Internet contacts forms etc.) Complaint acceptance

Complaint acceptance is at the heart of a complaint management process. The central goal at this stage is to organize the receipt of the complaint and the documentation of complaint information. Employees who have to deal with direct complaint handling face the most challenging part of the whole process.[34] Jeschke & Schulze state that: “Special skills are required of those employees who collect such information in face- to face contact.”[35] From this it follows that Internal Marketing managers have to bear in mind that this role calls for special attention in terms of skill training, furthering identification with the corporate brand, empowerment and motivation. The organisation trains and indoctrinates its members.[36] It is inevitable that complaining customers will tend to express their complaints in a very emotional manner, especially at the interpersonal level.[37] Employees should be equipped with the necessary skills to be capable of handling this situation and successful CCM starts with Training.[38] This can be achieved by making use of practical case studies and role plays. Part of this training has to be the development of psychological abilities and skills. Methods and strategies have to be developed which enable employees to master complaint dialogues. It is advisable to create these strategies together, in consultation with employees. From an IM perspective this helps employees to identify with the strategies and the techniques. In doing so, the techniques become something personal, something they are involved in rather than merely something abstract learned in a seminar. The primary contact is a crucial experience for the complaining customer. The key requirement in this process is to show empathy and identification towards the complainant. An employee has to be able to understand the emotions of the complainant and his or her own emotions. Complaints are stated on two levels: the interpersonal level and organizational causes[39]. The interpersonal level calls for personal satisfaction and amends to be made for the service failure. Organizational causes call for compensation in economic terms.

In order to process a complaint, certain information does have to be obtained:[40]

Complainant information

- Who is the Complainant
- (Name, Address, Organisation)
- Accessibility of the Complainant
- Role of the Complainant
Complaint-problem – information
- Nature of the problem
- Circumstances of the problem
- Cause of the problem

The documentation of a complaint should be simplified for the employee by implementing an onscreen form generated by complaint software, and multiple – choice questions. In consequence not only will the work of the contact person be simplified, but the information can be transferred for further processing. Complaint processing and the role of IM and HRM

Complaint processing deals with the design of work processes in terms of responsibilities, therefore the logical sequence of the processing procedure must be defined, the responsibilities at each step of complaint processing determined, the processing deadlines fixed, mechanisms for the monitoring of complaint processing installed, internal communication between the processing locations ensured, and complaint processing documented in an appropriate history.[41] The key person in the complaint process is the customer contact staff member. Nowadays, in the era of emancipated customers, a modern conceptual framework for processes has to be designed. This framework has to clarify the responsibilities within the organization[42]. Riemer (1986) alleges that: “Unclear cognizance causes more than one department is involved in solving a complaint. For small companies this may not be the case, due to the fact that their organisation structure seems to be relatively transparent. It has to be pointed out, that by increasing size of an enterprise a need arises for a solution about responsibilities.”[43] A solution to the challenges inherent in constructing a holistic complaint management process can be found in the implementation of a horizontal organizational form of structure.[44]. The traditional organisational management approach based on Taylor sees the organization as a collection of vertical departments or business units.[45] [46] In fact, the vertical approach is focused on fragmented tasks and overspecialisation, and causes turf wars within the company[47]. It should be noted that most complaints require teamwork, so the concept of Dual Complaint Management (see 3.4) once again comes into play at this point. There are cases that cannot be handled by one single department. According to Chung (1994), the advantage of horizontal management is that: “it facilitates smooth transition of intermediate products and services through the different functions to the customer. This is achieved by empowering employees, improving communication, and eliminating unnecessary work.”[48] Horizontal structure enables an organisation to design and to complete a task beyond functional units by focusing on the process as a unit itself. Ashkenas & Ulrich (1995) point out that: “Processes that permeate horizontal boundaries carry ideas, resources, information, and competence and with them, they move across functions so that the end – user; or customer needs are well met.”[49] Functional managers have to be appointed in order to break down vertical departmental barriers. Managers have to be able to think within a wide perspective and they have to be empowered to make decisions along the process flow. Furthermore, they are not focused on a department but on the function of a process.[50] [51] Seidel and Strauss (2003) have developed a “tailor made” horizontal management approach in terms of complaint management. The functional levels are divided between three key persons[52]:

- Process Owner (responsible for the whole complaint management process)
- Complaint owner ( responsible for the individual case)
- Task owner (responsible for one machining step) The concept of complaint ownership

Within the horizontal process structure, the contact person becomes the complaint owner. The first person who receives a grievance is responsible for suggesting a potential solution and for initiating a process.[53] The complaint owner can involve other colleges (e.g. task owner) if the nature of the complaint so requires. This can be the case if the received complaint is not located within the area of responsibility of the complaint owner. Complaint reaction

Straus and Seidel state that: “the term Complaint Reaction encompasses all the complaint management activities that the customer perceives during the complaint handling process and that have a direct effect on the customer’s complaint satisfaction.” In terms of Internal Marketing, decisions have to be made about the competencies to be entrusted to individual staff members in order to be able to act independently. Here the management has to introduce empowerment strategies and it needs to consider what degree of autonomy should be granted to employees. Empowerment in complaint management means that service personnel are allowed to decide how to solve a complaint (e.g. to offer a refund of the purchase price). On the one hand complaint handling can be accelerated by authorising an employee to take certain actions without needing to refer to management and in return this will save both time and money. On the other hand the customer will appreciate the fast resolutions of their complaint. A balanced approach has to be implemented that on the one hand gives employees clear guideline and rules, but that on the other hand gives them the opportunity to react according to their own judgment. Common complaints can be handled according to standardized procedures, while special problems require the individual skills of empowered service personnel. The impartation of communication skills plays another crucial role in this stage.[54]

4.1.2. Indirect Complaint Management Complaint analysis and the Role of HR in process improvement

Within the complaint analysis process employees have to analyze and solve the causes and effects that lead to complaints. In doing so, the complaint-handling staff can filter and detect trends, which can then be used to provide background information about certain weak points within the production or the service delivery itself. A thorough complaint analysis process may be costly in the beginning; however, in the long run, such an investment will pay off. The achieved results from the data preparation may provide Information about central weak points.[55] If complaints are transformed into knowledge about customers, they can provide a valuable reserve of data for enterprises.[56] The Complaint analysis can be divided into quantitative and qualitative analysis. A widely used and recommended quality tool for CCM is the Kaizen philosophy, which can also serve as a customer complaint handling process.[57] One has to note that Kaizen is not a classical tool when it comes to IM, but in terms of CCM it can be used to combine aspect of process improvement and corporate culture. An improvement process can be divided into two approaches. Firstly innovation and secondly Kaizen. The Japanese philosophy of Kaizen has the clear advantage that it results in cumulative minor corrections of weak points in the organisation as a result of the efforts of all employees and their coordinated continuous efforts. The aim of using kaizen is to improve products and services in small steps, rather than innovate whole new concepts, which are very expensive. The direction an enterprise has to choose will be determined by the result of the complaint analysis, or, in other words by following “the voice of the customer”[58] This does not mean that a company takes the line of least resistance in implementing this approach. Although improvements under Kaizen seem to be incremental, it has been proven that this process brings about dramatic results over time.[59] The word Kaizen (Japanese for "change for the better") means, in its broader sense, continuous improvement, which implies the involvement of everyone in the organisation (including managers, workers, external stakeholders), entailing relatively little expense.[60] Thus it is possible to determine that that Kaizen is not only a TQM, but serves in terms of IM as well. It unites the objectives of both (TQM and IM) into an overall strageic bounded and limited method.

The approach analyzed here is an uninterrupted activity whose aim is to focus on more than just the enhancement of operating efficiency. For this reason, kaizen is a process that, when carried out in an appropriate manner, results in a simplified workplace by eliminating troublesome and unnecessary work. The objective is to achieve economic efficiency in terms of time, cost and quality. One general strategy is to teach employees how to perform analyses of their work by making use of a scientific method, and to learn to spot and eliminate waste in corporate processes.[61] This indicates that Kaizen plays a crucial role as a tool for the empowerment of the whole workforce.[62]

Imai (1986) proposes that kaizen needs to be implemented when three fundamental principles are in place:[63]

1. Consider the process and the results (not just results)
2. “Systemic thinking” through the whole process rather than just concentrating on the immediate issue at hand in order to avoid creating problems further along in the process
3. A learning, non-judgmental, non-blaming approach will allow for a re-examination of the assumptions that resulted in the current process.

For this reason the three attributes stated above indicate that major tools have to be implemented and disseminated to all employees within the organization. These basic tools include:[64]

- Kaizen and management
- Process versus result
- Following the PDCA cycle (Plan Do Check Act)
- Putting Quality first
- Speak with data
- The next process is the customer

All in all, it is therefore not surprising that Kaizen involves IM management by making use of human related activities, such as learning together, teamwork, enhancement of morale and encouraging employee input.[65] The leadership has to develop a timeframe for improvement actions and has to lead by example[66]. In conclusion, one has to note that it is not just the result of the analysis, but rather the alterations within the sequences of actions in relationship to the human resources involved that are of real value. Complaint management controlling

Generally speaking, controlling is a function of organizing, directing and staffing. Companies make use of this tool in order to check for errors and to oversee developments within the company in terms of effectiveness in various areas. Furthermore, controlling provides the means of measuring the actual performance of a process and corrective actions may follow a controlling process. Within CCM, the executive has to take care of the complaint management process. He or she should give feedback about the effectiveness of the whole conceptual framework of the CCM. Controllers make use of the data gained via the complaint analysis.[67]

Controlling in Complaint Management includes three main tasks:[68]

- Evidence – Controlling (Gives Information about the dimension of received complaints and will give information about the actual proportion of received complaints )
- Task –Controlling ( controls to what degree the tasks of the complaints management process are fulfilled by making use of objective management ratios)
- Cost-benefit controlling (Controls the profitability and the efficiency of the activities of the CCM.) Complaint reporting & Complaint information utilization

After the controlling process is conducted, all information received within the CCM processes has to be stored in a database.[69] As mentioned before (see. the Kaizen philosophy suggests that managers should base their decisions on data. The complaint reporting team is charged with editing the gained information for internal Users.[70] When the dissemination of the data takes place, one needs to be aware, that the information has to be divided in terms of position and task. Consequently the question arises as to what kind of information (quantitative or qualitative) and when (daily, monthly, early) these data should be released. In addition, the publishers have to bear in mind how to separate the information, so that everybody receives suitable knowledge about the cases relevant to his or her area of responsibility and sphere of influence.[71] The communication consultant Kerstin Block holds the point of view that: by losing sight of this goal, the various internal customers may get side-tracked by floods of information that may not be of value for them, and they will end up burdened with unnecessary data that should be designated for the interest of someone else.[72] Tools like Six Sigma and Kaizen can be applied. Especially Six Sigma can be implemented as a complementary tool, due to it’s emphasize on statistical data analysis of processes.

5. The Role of Human Resource Management and TQM

In the preceding chapter a description of how Internal Marketing is achieved within the process stages was provided. In order to widen the understanding of IM, an introduction of the key elements in respect to CCM will now be given. An explanation of the functional as well as the intangible aspects of IM will be included. This chapter will conclude the literature review.

5.1. Importance & Qualification of Employees in Complaint contact

Most complaints are stated in a verbal form. Front office employees face the major challenges in the complaint reception stage. Customers expect that professional skill will be accompanied by friendliness, politeness and an ability to express empathy. Existing skills have to be nurtured and expanded through training. One has to note that social skills can be improved and refined to a certain extent but that an applicant needs to have the basic character and personality suitable for these type of tasks before an organisation can even being training him or her. This is the challenge in the whole process, because mythological and professional knowledge can be acquired much more easily when the employee possess adequate perception, than basic aspects of social and emotional competency can.[73] IM management has to create a suitable recruiting process appropriate to the needs of the organisation.

5.2. The role of Internal Marketing

5.2.1. Recruiting

This leads to the important issue of how to recruit suitable employees to fulfill the role of customer care contact staff and what such a process could look like. IM has to clearly state, from the beginning, the needs, requirements and challenges of CCM. In doing so, a target group will be attracted and unsuitable candidates will quickly lose interest before even applying for a position. After initial applications have been received, the usual next step is to invite potential candidates for a job interview, in order to test their motivation.[74] Assessment centers serve as a location for the selection procedure. In this method of testing, the candidates have to deal with simulated real life situations and the employer gains an impression of the ability of the applicant to cope with stress and their emotional competence .

5.2.2. Employee Branding

In simple terms employee branding can be defined as marketing the organisation to the employee. It has to be pointed out that the process of employee branding goes beyond the traditional concept of IM, due to the fact that it only focuses on the goal of motivating employees to achieve organisational needs.[75] Two main objectives are stated in employee branding. Firstly, a desired image of the organisation shall be instilled in potential new staff members. Secondly, the existing workforce has to be brought on board. In CCM, this second objective is emphasized. Internal Customers have to be treated like external customers and their needs should be satisfied by every available means at the disposal of the organisation. The branding process is realised by the use of varoius organisational systems (including IM). This “corporate socialization” can be interpreted as a long term process that brings about the acceptance of norms, values and solidarity with the company. This is accomplished by creating an image that is to be internalized. To put it in a nutshell, Mangold (2004) defines IM as follows: “IM is the process by which employees internalize the desired brand image and are motivated to project the image to customers and other organisational constituents.”[76] One has to note that companies benefit from positive advertising done by their own staff, and, conversely, are damaged by negative advertising by their own staff. The establishment of a positive brand image has to be the intial step. In doing so, employees may express their opinions and expectations of the employer Thus, they will impact stakeholders and co – workers. This behaviour will not only change the internal athosphere, but the external one as well. As a consequence, potential new employees, customers and stakeholders will be influenced by word of mouth. A brand image is something that only exists in the mind of a customer. Therefore it does not necessarily have to accord with reality, but is of value for the image as well.[77]

5.2.3. Motivation & Rewards, Recognition and Appraisal Systems

Due to the very nature of CCM, it is not surprising that customer care employees have to face negative emotions and negative feedback from customers. Even if this kind of feedback is not a result of their own actions, it causes stress and frustration. Depression and lack of motivation can be the result. To avoid these kinds of consequences, IM can introduce motivational actions as a preventive measure . First of all IM has to point out that the controlling of CCM is not about control but that it is supposed to serve as mean of improving the overall processes[78], which in return will simplify the work of the employee. Furthermore, the fact that it results in process improvement will be communicated to staff as an additional benefit. The workforce will thus generally assume that the management cares about their needs. Secondly, IM makes use of other motivational tools as well. Literature on the subject presents several motivational theories. One of the most popular and commonly used approaches is the so called “Maslow Need Theory”.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2 Maslows Need Theory

Perhaps owing to its simplicity, Maslow’s approach gained wide acceptance among managers and is found in most management literature.[79] The theory focuses on the five basic needs including: physiological needs, safety needs, love needs, esteem needs and self actualization. After the three first basic needs are met, the social needs come into the picture. In terms of IM for CCM, one has to bear in mind that customer care personnel can experience a shortcoming in the satisfaction of these last two needs and therefore IM has to take actions such as the introduction of various tools of appraisal and recognition, which could include material rewards (bonuses or prizes ) or social reward (praise for achievements). No matter which tools used for IM, the ultimate goal has to be to ensure the motivation of the workforce and to substitute the missing sources in terms of social needs.

5.2.4. Empowerment

The term “Empowerment” repeatedly occurs as a central key term within CCM processes due to the fact that it serves as a strategic key instrument of modern internal marketing. The introduction of a horizontal organizational structure requires empowered employees. This need is met and realized in the concept of “complaint ownership” (see Murrel and Formisano (2000) describe empowerment as follows: “actions – enabling the growth of individuals and organizations as they add value to the products or services the organization delivers to its customers and the promotion of continuous discovery and learning”.[80] This can be achieved if the management frames rules and sets up general guidelines, which have to be met by the staff. Training and education is the basis for empowerment. It is expected that the contact person shall act as the customer would have wished.[81] [82]

IM management has to promote certain factors if they want to realize empowerment in the design of the corporate culture. These may include:[83]

- Encouraging service providers to take a positive and proactive approach to complaints.
- Developing service provider skills in handling complaints; being explicit about the level of authority employees have in complaint management (see
- Providing support and encouragement to employees in taking responsibility
- Taking action to overcome the causes of complaints and generating ownership of the improvement opportunities that complaints bring. (see.

An approach of transferring control and authorising employees serves as a powerful means of increasing customer satisfaction when resolving complaints. The first contact person is able to support a customer and this brings with it the clear advantage that customers will not find themselves in a situation in which they will be transferred from one department to another without finding someone who is able to help them. The internal customer will have the impression that employees need the organization as much as the organization needs the employee. In addition, empowerment serves as a motivational tool to encourage employees.[84] Staff members will understand that their work is of value to the customer and therefore to the organization.[85] Realizing this importance, an employee may feel more confident.[86] The complaint management consultant Uli Gmachl-Fischer goes so far and states: ”I hold the point of view that Empowerment is as important as functional systems and processes, because the best processes can not satisfy a customer, but people who take action. When they are gone, all processes are like hot air.”[87] It has to be pointed out that the conceptional framework of a company has to shift from a traditional approach (Taylorist work organization) to a horizontal organizational approach with cross functional teams in terms of a so called Dual Complaint Management (see 3.4). As mentioned in the preceding chapter, the means of empowerment in each sub-process can be summarized by the empowerment model of Cook and Macaulay, as described in the following Table.[88]

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table 1 Empowerment

IM has to face the challenge that empowered employees need more education and training and the information flow needs to be guaranteed.

5.2.5. Training

Implementing Empowerment as an IM tool entails training everyone in the organization about concept and terminology in corporate culture from an IM perspective. The training includes three objectives for two target groups. The two target groups include on the one hand the service employees and on the other the organization’s leaders. The first stage is to prepare the employees to identify with the organization (mission statement, values, and rules). Once this foundation is laid, the training can focus on the practical skills, which should include the fostering of the so called “psycho- social” skills, especially in CCM. Interpersonal abilities shall be acquired, which prepares employees for real life situations. This simplifies the complaint handling for both the customer- care employees and the complainant. These “soft skills” will determine the success of the process in the final analysis. Last but not least, practical skills have to be developed, which could include training on how to solve the complaint itself. The emphasis within the service personnel training is to point out the importance of sophisticated communication skills[89], which prevent the occurrence of avoidable stress, and to offer a formula for handling complaints. Even if each complaint is stated in a different manner, the company must see to it that the general guidelines on employee behavior are implemented.[90] Furthermore, the employee should bear in mind that training sessions are a valuable opportunity provided by the management, which will enrich the daily work of the staff.[91] Supervisors in empowered work environments can participate as consultants and coaches in the training sessions.[92] Companies can make use of a variety of communication channels as training tools in order to achieve the learning goal. These may include written and electronic training material. In addition, real life situations can be simulated in role plays[93] and instruction given in the workplace by a coach. It is advisable to promote the idea of a mentorship program, meaning that an experienced employee serves as a “sponsor” by training and passing forward his or her acquired knowledge to a new employee. Not only do service personnel have to be trained, but even the management will be confronted with the challenges of CCM.[94] These challenges may include the need to admit to their own mistakes, learning time management skills when solving complaints and appropriate communication with subordinates.[95] Supervisors have to be trained not only to control the performance of the staff, but they also function as “coach” and as “catalyst” for interpersonal conflicts. These problems could include conflicts with customers, problems with oneself (e.g. stress & burn out), or interdepartmental conflicts (e.g. front vs. back office). A high level of capacity of understanding, empathy, judgement and discernment has to be developed by leader’s through training. This includes tact and sensitivity as a requirement for implementing empowerment.

5.2.6. Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a commonly used tool in TQM and it involves the gathering of ideas and information about best practices from other companies. IM mangers study the process and actions of other organization. In this way improvement potential can be realized by comparing outside practices with those of one’s own organization and thus suggestions for improvement can be adopted. [96] It is intended to enable organizations to learn, but not necessarily copy, from each other to avoid reinventing the same programs and techniques that others have already designed and tested.[97] Not copying but learning from the best, describes the process of benchmarking. IM mangers investigate how other companies solve complaints and how they involve employees in the process. Making use of the someone else’s experiences saves money and enables mangement to avoid repeating certain mistakes. The complaint management consultant Uli Gmachl-Fischer warns in this context that benchmarking has limits. Not all companies can be compared with each other. Only trends can be compared. This is due to the fact that CCM is difiend and organised different in each organisation.[98]

5.2.7. How to avoid Burn out – effect

In 1936, Dr. Hans Selye, the father of modern stress theory, defined stress as the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it. He describes this “demand” as a threat, a new challenge or any other kind of change that one has to face and to which an employee has to physically adapt. This adaptation process can cause physical and psychological reactions.[99] Scholars differentiate between positive stress, called eustress, and negative stress, called distress. Stress can be caused by three factors: internal, external and the occupational.[100] IM management has direct influence on the handling and treatment of external and occupational factors, the way in which the work environment and the work itself are designed, for example. IM can also offer additional programs to help employees to deal with internal factors. The table below shows what external and occupational factors consist of:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table 2 Occupational and External Stress factors[101]

Employees who have to deal with complaints directly face a heightened risk of burnout due to the level of “emotional labour” in CCM. According to Seidel, these employees: “ tend to perceive the customer relationship more anonymously and to find fault for most of the problems with the customers themselves. In order to avoid these serious consequences, management must proceed in an active and preventative manner.”[102] The prevention of stress has to go hand in hand with the diagnosis of stress within the workforce.

To diagnose stress and burn out at an early stage, it is necessary for the employee and management to be able to identify the first signals and symptoms. Recognizing these symptoms at an early stage is very important to prevent damage to the employee’s health, which could lead to long-term sickness and absenteeism. First of all, it needs to be understood that individuals react to stress in different ways. One employee may display changed behaviour, while another employee may display actual physical symptoms. Indicators of excessive stress could include: listlessness, insomnia, problems with concentration, increasing insecurity and obliviousness. Many employees are afraid to admit to symptoms of stress. One tool for identifying stress could be to conduct a survey for the whole workforce.[103] Various possibilities exist for solving stress on an individual basis, for example yoga, sport, diets and psychological training. This approach is limited in that it treats the symptoms only; it does not act on the root of the problem. This can be achieved by better design of the working environment (empowerment, feedback, job rotation etc.) Furthermore, cognitive behavioural therapy can help to get to the root of various problems.

5.2.8. Mechanism to Increase customer Focus

Unhappy customers “do their talking with their feet…they don’t complain…they just don’t buy from you again.”[104] Customer focus is one of the most critical factors in ensuring success in today’s business marketplace. During the employee training phase the company vision needs to be properly imparted and this should be a vision that focuses on the customer. A service mentality has to be adopted. Shep Hyken points out some key elements when it comes to instilling customer focus in an employee:[105]

- Train the employees to understand their role in the company’s customer service strategy and understand how their department and individual responsibilities impact the customer.
- Train the employees to recognize the many opportunities to make positive
impressions with both your outside and internal customers within the moment of truth.
- Train the employees to enhance the experience that both customers and fellow employees have with your company.
- Train your employees to develop a mindset that will help solve problems for both outside and internal customers that turn complaints into satisfaction.

Increasing customer focus means much more than reducing the number of defects. Langewin defines it as follows: “The underlying premise for Customer Focus is that quality is judged by customers and must take into account all product and service feature that contribute value to customers and lead to customer satisfaction and retention. It requires constant sensitivity to changing and emerging customer and market requirements.”[106] IM needs to be aware of the need to nurture the right attitude in employees. In doing so a foundation is laid that ensures successful complaint handling.

5.2.9. Communication

Internal communication is highly diverse and fragmented. It spans communication at different levels as well as different communication practices. Various aspects like organisational learning, conflict management, values and information distribution are addressed within the umbrella concept of internal communication. Due to the fragmented nature of internal communication the focus in the following section will be on the need for effective communication in CCM. First of all the general role of information has to be clarified. In many companies the term communication is defined as biased information. To compound matters, the question as to which information is relevant to whom has to be answered. This becomes more critical after the complaint controlling phase when the gathered data and report have to be published and distributed to the different departments (see Too many companies fail to appropriately select information for wider dissemination in an effective manner. These results in one of two extremes: on the one hand an information desert and other the other hand information overload. A sophisticated flow of information is not only important for proper utilisation of the complaint information, but plays a significant role in empowerment as well.[107] Empowered Employees need information in order to be able to work independently and autonomously. An under- or over-supply of information can lead to the following problems (see table):

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table 3 Information & Supply

Another factor in the distribution of information is that there will always be a need for discrimination when it comes to distributing information to staff and between departments, but the more communication exists between departments, the lower the risk of separatism. Whether an organisation is structured horizontally or vertically plays a role in the communication process. Vertical communication occurs between hierarchal positioned persons. According to Andre Latz from Concept Consulting, “A precondition for effective communication has to be the atmosphere for open dialog. This implies that subordinates should have an open attitude towards their employees and their suggestions and questions. It is inappropriate if an employee has to fear and face reprisals and an attitude of disapproval.”[108] From this it follows that it is not only executives who should have the chance to contribute suggestions for improvement, but each employee as well, without the latter having to fear sanctions from above in the vertical hierarchy.

The central objectives that IM should implement can be summarized as follows:[109]

- Create transparency about structures and intralant processes and communicate the work of CCM within the company.
- Improve knowledge about operational structuring. (This is very helpful for the complaint owner)
- Investigate weak points within internal communications.
- The sensitization for concerns in communication.
- Employees should be motivated to participate in the improvement process

A useful tool for communication in CCM and TQM is the introduction of Quality circles. These circles are composed of employees from different departments and different hierarchal positions who meet voluntarily to review and confer about improvement needs. These groups are introduced in the concept of Kaizen in the PDCA-Deming wheel (see This tool can be employed within complaint analysis and complaint controlling. Value Management

In the above aspect of internal communication, values are more than just norms and rules. The term ‘values’ should be seen from an ethical perspective. Just as a civil society needs to be built on certain values (e.g. freedom, equality etc.), a corporate society needs values as well. Values are always a matter of opinion. The management of values creates an objective predefinition of values at all levels. In this way an employee is able to internalize and act in line with the stated values. This can be done by establishing a code that determines the values objectively.

In the field of complaint management, the value management can play two roles: the reactive role and the proactive role. The reactive role is described in the whole direct and indirect complaint management processes. The proactive role deals with the sustentative and preventative side of CCM aimed at pre-empting potential complaints thus preventing them from ever actually occurring. This aspect plays a role in corporate identity and Corporate Governance. Values and norms and roles that are interlinked can create boundaries and guidelines. Dr. Kunze fom P3 Gmbh holds the view that: “Employees have to be aware in which situations they have to fulfil the customer needs and in which situation he or she should stand up for the position of the company”.[110] The guidelines and the code of conduct for CCM have to be in line with the corporate philosophy or should be derived from it. If an employee has a crisis of conscience about the performance of his or her duties, a guideline and supervisors should be available to help him or her resolve the issue. Ideally the values of the organization should have been previously internalised, in order to prevent such issues from ever arising. Conflict Management

When people come together and have to interact with each other, then it is natural that conflict arises. The traditional view of conflict was that is was something wholly negative, but nowadays managers see positive aspects to conflict as well. From a managerial perspective, conflict can produce new ideas that can move an organisation forward.[111] Firstly, the role of the management in such situations has to be discussed. The role of hierarchy is also of importance in conflict management. Hierarchies can cause problems, but are likely to solve problems as well. The communication consultant Birgit Israel says: “If line managers are aware of their executive functions and take these seriously, then many unnecessary conflicts could be avoided.”[112] Secondly, values play an important role in conflict management, if conflicts can not be solved by consensus or a compromise. In the course of the conflict, both parties have to abide by the norms and rules of the company in order to settle the quarrel. In this case values and a code of conduct are useful in supporting an argument. Furthermore, a mediator or a compliance-officer can be involved. A mediator supports different parties in a conflict to solve the different issues. The mediator tries to broaden the perspective of the parties in disagreement in order to find solutions which the involved parties were not able to previously identify for themselves. The use of professional supervised negotiation helps to bring the conflict back onto a goal-oriented path. The question now arises as to when it is necessary to involve an outsider and just who that outsider should be. The following table summarizes some reasons for conflict in the concept of CCM:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table 4 Reasons for conflict in CCM

1.1. Learning through Failure Management & Potential Leadership

A learning organisation needs to establish a corporate environment in which both the individual and the workforce as a whole are aware of their identity, their role, and their actions and the results. IM needs to communicate this attitude of learning and self-awareness. IM once again plays a crucial role in the field of TQM. Most scholars see the Kaizen philosophy as not just a tool for improvement but as a philosophy and a corporate attitude. Knowledge is power. Organisations that are willing to learn are able to improve their performance. Many companies hire external management consultants instead of integrating the ideas and potential of their own employees. The clear advantage of using an employee over a consultant is that the employee knows the company and has been dealing with its processes day by day. An external consultant has first to gain insight into the whole company and its working processes.

Learning can have profound effects on an organisation. Improving the skills and working habits of one employee can cause a whole domino effect throughout the rest of the workforce. In other words, if an employee learns new skills or patterns of behaviour, then the attitude of an organisation and its corporate policy may change as well. Another employee may observe his colleague and consciously or unconsciously copy and internalize his or her behaviour and manners. The figure below shows this phenomenon graphically[113]:

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 3 Organisational Learning

Individual learning focuses on only one person. In figure 5.2.5 the role of IM in training is discussed with regard to how the company can train the individual. Organisational learning relates to collective learning. The goal of collective learning is to change attitudes and patterns of thinking and to enhance knowledge. Changing the way a group thinks and behaves can only be accomplished through people.[114] Collective learning is not meant to be seen in the same way as individual learning, however individual learning is still the basis for collective learning. Another point that needs to be mentioned is the concept of potential leadership. Rieckmann defines potential leadership as a organisation in which the members work together to exchange opinions and experiences.[115] Such a system is apparent in the Kaizen philosophy.

6. Empirical Study

In the following chapter, the research methodology and the role of empirical research will be described and discussed. The general purpose of the study is to determine how several of the aspects discussed in the literature review section of this study are concretely applied in the real world. The objectives underlying this thesis will be presented. In addition, the findings of the in –depth interviews will be analyzed and described.

6.1. Empirical Research

The following research project is based on the concept and the theories of empirical research. The difference between empirical and non – empirical research lies in the verifiability of written results.[116] Empirical research seeks results by making use of the systematic evaluation of experiences and empirical knowledge. Furthermore it combines various disciplines and methods found in social science. On the one hand there are quantitative methods, e.g. surveys, which provide statistical data. The hermeneutical interpretation of these statistically gathered data assists when it comes to putting together a hypothesis. A rational and critical approach and analytical skills, especially in terms of hermeneutical interpretation, have to be employed, due to the fact that even statistical data is not 100% verifiable. Researchers have to interpret the raw data in a wide context. On the other hand, qualitative methods generate hypotheses and theories by interpreting empirical material using a hermeneutical approach. From this basis it follows that qualitative methods focus on the description and interpretation of experimental subjects. Researchers examine a subject in its natural environment in order to develop a generalisation.[117] The table below summarizes the core differences between the quantitative and the qualitative approach.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table 5 Research Methods[118]

To put it in a nutshell, social science tries to capture real circumstances in a previously determined manner and to prove these via comprehensible data. The quantitative researcher can reach large numbers of people by oversimplifying reality, whereas the qualitative researcher deals with the complexity of reality but using more limited numbers.[119]

The in-depth interviews have advantages and disadvantages:


- Provide more detailed information
- Relaxed atmosphere, people task more after one gained their trust in a conversation


- Prone to bias
- Can be time intensive
- Interviewer should be trained
- Not generalizeable

The complaint management process in the various companies is hard to compare by numbers and data (see. 5.2.6. Benchmarking) and therefore not easy to generalize. Therefore the in – depth technique is most suitable especially to gain an impression.

6.2. Research Methods

Qualitative Research Methods give access to the organizational and operative reality of the management. The empirical analysis used in this research project is based on an explorative qualitative research method. An explorative approach involves the systematic collection of information, which is then more closely analyzed. This information gives insight into the field of study and serves as an effective preparation tool before conducting the main qualitative research part of the exercise. This approach is commonly used if the research topic and the field of research is more or less unknown and not yet defined. An additional advantage to this approach is apparent when it comes to forming hypotheses. The insight gained helps to develop research hypotheses. There is a risk that hypotheses could end up being wide of the mark, due to a lack of knowledge. In order to obtain initial impressions, simple questions were asked, to both potential participants and to scholars in the field of study. The background knowledge gained via this process was a rich source of inspiration when it came to designing and putting together a question manual for the in-depth interviews that were held later. The body of this research project is based on qualitative in-depth interviews. An interview is based on personal communication and the Interviewer has to be neutral in his or her attitude. Lameck describes in depth interviews as follows: “it is a methodical action with a scientific objective, by which an experimental subject is forced to give verbal information by the use of well directed questions”[120] In this study, in-depth interviews with CCM executives from various companies were conducted. In order to ensure the flow of the interview, a certain degree of structuring had to be provided by the question manual. Two aspects had to be considered in the development of the manual and the in-depth interview. On the one hand a flexible attitude towards learning about and to researching various aspects had to be demonstrated and on the other hand guidance has to be provided in order to keep track of all fields of interest. Furthermore, in-depth interviews require a means of checking the veracity of the information obtained. This means that the notes, minutes, statements and recordings have to be saved. In the case of this research project, all conversations were recorded electronically and the content then transcribed. The in-depth interviews were conducted in two different ways: personal interviews and telephone interviews. Personal interviews require face to face conversations between the interviewer and the interviewee. This approach can be expensive in terms of interview and travelling costs as well as in terms of time. Telephone interviews can be used to obtain information quickly. By making use of a qualitative method, the reality of the organisation can be seen through the glasses of the active actors, the interviewed manager, be seen. This means that, the rating and operation scheme of the interviewees can be filtered through the Interpretation of the results. Frankly speaking, the additional benefit of this method is that it leads to critical and practical scientific objectives and revelations.

6.3. Research Objectives

Conceptually, the qualitative analysis is not a classical quantitative approach based on four hypotheses. Even so theory-based research hypothesis have been stated. On basis of the theoretical examination and altercation() with the research topic I conducted a qualitative –empirical study, in which I used a theory-based and corroborating interview compendium with fundamental hypothesis (Kernhypothesen) to the reality of the execution and management in the companies. Nonetheless, it is a qualitative method, because in addition to the categories and topics it reconstructs and reflects the rating and operation scheme of the interviewees. In order to carry out an empirical study, it is imperative to first state the objectives of the study. In this particular research project, the objectives are stated as hypotheses, which then have to be researched and proven.

Hypothesis 1: Internal Marketing in the field of Complaint Management is achieved through a clear and specific corporate structure.

Chapters four and five describe the coherence and the interaction between IM and CCM. The models and theories presented served as a basis from which to understand the world of customer complaint management. Only through establishing a set of values, which are applied in a strategic manner, can the goals of IM be realised.

Key concepts: Empowerment; Decentralisation; Central vs. Dual; Horizontal vs. Vertical; Power relationships; Distribution of power and Decision-making authority

Hypothesis 2: An essential part of Complaint Management is the recruitment, training and supervision of capable employees.

Chapter five (see 5.2.1. & 5.2.5.) gives an explanation of the role of recruitment and training in CCM. The goal is to determine the importance of recruiting suitable employees and to analyze how best to train them in their roles. Furthermore, the interrelation between recruitment and training will and how they influence each other will be investigated.

Key concepts: Communication, Training, Education Recruitment, Values, Supervision, and Selection.

Hypothesis 3: IM in complaint management includes the advancement of internal communication and motivation.

The last part of the literature review emphasized the importance of communication. Communication is a key word in IM. Many of the objectives of IM are based on or achieved through internal communication and consequently the method chosen for IM is important. Communication gives rise to motivation as well. How communication influences motivation has to be researched.


[1] Pawlik, A. 2006, Beschwerden sind eine Chance [Complaints are a Chance], in Hamburger Abendblatt

[2] Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 1996,

[3] NSW Ombudsman, 2004, Effective complaint handling”,

[4] Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 1996,

[5] Mende, M. 2005 Strategische Planung im Beschwerdemanagement [Stratgeic planning in CCM], p. 43

[6] Hjälte, S. & Larsson, S. 2004, Managing Customer Locality in the Automotive Industry”, p. 6

[7] NSW Ombudsman – B. Barbour, “Effective complaint handling”,2004

[8] Haeske, U. 2001, Beschwerden und Reklamationen managen [Managing of Grievances and Complaints], p. 11

[9] Stauss, B. &. Schulze, H.S. 2003, Beschwerdemanagement, [Complaint Management] p. 249

[10] Wimmer, F. & Roeleff, R. 2003, Handbuch Dienstleistungsmarketing-[Handbook of Service Management],p. 23

[11] Looy,B., Gemmel,P. & Dierdonck, R. 2003, Service Management: An Integrated Approach, p. 151

[12] Goerke, S. & Wickel – Kirch, S. 2002, Internes Marketing für Personal Arbeit [Internal Marketing for HR], p. 1

[13] Pfeifer, T. 2001, Qualitätsmanagement. Strategien, Methoden, Techniken [Quality Management, Strategies, Methods, Techniques], p.55

[14] Pfeifer, T. 2001, Qualitätsmanagement. Strategien, Methoden, Techniken [Quality Management, Strategies, Methods, Techniques], p.55

[15] Stauss,.B. & Schulze, H.S. 2003, Beschwerdemanagement, p.181

[16]. Riemer, M. 1986, Beschwerdemanagement, p.193

[17] Jeston, J. & .Nelis, J. 2006, Business Process Management: Practical Guidelines to Successful Implementation , p.20

[18] Hansen, U., Jeschke, K. & Schröder, P. 1995, Beschwerdemanagement – Die Karriere einer Kundenorientierten Unternehmensstrategie im Konsumgütersektor, p.. 83

[19] Hansen, U., Jeschke, K. & Schröder, P. 1995, Beschwerdemanagement – Die Karriere einer Kundenorientierten Unternehmensstrategie im Konsumgütersektor, p. 83

[20] Mende, M. 2005, Planung im Beschwerdemanagement [Planning in Complaint Management], pp 34

[21] Jeschke, K.., Schulze,H.S. & Bauersachs, J. 1999, Internal Marketing and its Consequences for Complaint Handling Effectiveness, p. 199.

[22] Boshoff, C. & Leong, J.1998, Empowerment, attribution and apologising as dimensions of service recovery, p. 24.

[23] Stauss, B. & Schulze, H.S. 2003, Beschwerdemanagement [Compliant Management],, p. 203

[24] Jeschke, K.., Schulze,H.S. & Bauersachs, J. 1999, Internal Marketing and its Consequences for Complaint Handling Effectiveness, p. 206.

[25] Stauss, B. & Schulze, H.S. 2003, Beschwerdemanagement [Compliant Management], p. 90

[26] Moore, C. 2008, Secrets of successful complaint handling, p. 58

[27] Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, 1996,

[28] Tax, S. & Brown, W. 1998, Recovery and learning from service failure, p. 75 - 88

[29] Zairi, M. 1979, Managing customer dissatisfaction through effective complaints management systems, p. 331

[30] Stauss, B. & Schulze, H.S. 2003, Beschwerdemanagement [Compliant Management],, p. 96

[31] Hirschman, A. 1970, Exit, Voice and Loyalty, p. 34

[32] Andreasen, A. 1935, Consumer responses to dissatisfaction in loose monopolies, p. 135 - 141

[33] Stauss, B. & Schulze, H.S. 2003, Beschwerdemanagement [Compliant Management],, p. 83

[34] Boden, A. 2001, Handling Complaints, p. 46

[35] Jeschke, K.., Schulze,H.S. & Bauersachs, J. 1999, Internal Marketing and its Consequences for Complaint Handling Effectiveness, p. 197

[36] Fürst, A. 2005, Beschwerdemanagement [Complaint Management], p. 53

[37] Brückner, M. 2005, Beschwerdemanagement [Complaint Management], p.21

[38] Tax, S., Brown, S., Chandrashekaran, M. 1998, Customer evaluation of service complaint experiences: implications for relationship marketing, p. 60 - 76

[39] Boden, A. 2001, Handling Complaints, p. 28

[40] Straus, B. & Seidel, W. 2004, Complaint Management – The Heart of CRM, p. 56

[41] Stauss, B. & Schulze, H.S. 2004, Complaint management, The Heart of CRM, p. 73

[42] Grvnfeldt,S. & Banks Strother, J. 2005, Service Leadership: The Quest for Competitive Advantage,p.152

[43] Riemer, M. 1986, Beschwerdemanagement [Compliant Management],, p.193

[44] F. Ostroff, “ What the Organization of the Future look like and how it delivers Value to Customer”,1999, p. 10


[46] Pfeifer, T. 2001, Qualitätsmanagement. Strategien, Methoden, Techniken , p.55

[47] Kerzner, H. 1992, Project Management: A systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Contolling, p. 2- 5


[49] Ashkenas, R. 1995, The Boundaryless Organisation – Breaking the Chains of Organisational Structure, p.12

[50] Ostroff, F. 1999,What the Organization of the Future look like and how it delivers Value to Customer, p.10


[52] Stauss, B. & Schulze, H.S. 2003, Beschwerdemanagement [Compliant Management],, p. 180

[53] Jeschke, K. 2004, Beschwerdemanagement, - Grundlagen und Konzepte, in Beschwerdemanagement in der Praxis, p. 21

[54] Boden, A. 2001, Handling Complaints, p. 22

[55] Haeske, U. „Beschwerden und Reklamationen managen“ [Managing of Complaint and Reclamations], p. 31

[56] Bosch, G. 2001, La Administration de las Quejas como Capital de las Empresas, p.5

[57] M. Abdolshah, A. Jahan , “ How to use continuous improvement tools in different life periods of an organization”, 2006, p. 772 - 777

[58] Burchill, G. & Hepner Brodie, C. “Voices into Choices: Acting on the Voice of the Customer “, 1997, p. 23

[59] Imai,M.„ Gemba Kaizen. A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management:”,1997, p. xvii

[60] Hanebuth, D. 2002, Rethinking Kaizen: An empirical approach to the employee perspective, p. 36


[62] Selders, J. 2006, Empowerment und Commitment durch Kaizen” [Empowerment and Commitment through Kaizen], p.8

[63] Imai, M. 1996, Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success, p. 23

[64] Imai, M. 1997 Gemba Kaizen. A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management, p. xxv

[65] Imai, M.1997, Gemba Kaizen. A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management, p. xviii

[66] Pfeifer, T. 2001, Qualitätsmanagement. Strategien, Methoden, Techniken [Quality Management, Strategies, Methods, Techniques], p. 37

[67] Tinnefeldt, G. 2001,Verfahren und Chancen des Beschwerdemangement [Complaint Management],,p. 39.

[68] Stauss, B. & Schulze, H.S. 2003, Beschwerdemanagement [Complaint Management], p. 87

[69] Jeschke, K. 2004, Beschwerdemanagement, - Grundlagen und Konzepte, in Beschwerdemanagement in der Praxis, p. 17

[70] Boden, A. 2001,Handling Complaints, p. 45

[71] Jeschke, K. 2004, Beschwerdemanagement, - [Compliant Management], p. 17

[72] Block, K. 2008 [Personal Communication]. 15 June.

[73] Looy,B., Gemmel,P. & Dierdonck, R. 2003, Service Management: An Integrated Approach,p. 148

[74] Arthur, D. 2005,Recruiting, Interviewing, Selecting & Orienting New Employees, p.145

[75] Grönroos, C. 1981, Internal Marketing – An Integral Part of Marketing Theory, p. 11

[76] Mangold, P. Employee Branding, p. 65

[77] Goerke, S. & Wickel – Kirch, S. Internes Marketing für Personal Arbeit [Internal Marketing for HR],, 2002, p. 11

[78] Graeme M. & Hetrick, S. 2006, Corporate Relations, Branding and People Management, p. 56

[79] Wagner, J. & Hollenbeck, J. 2000, Organisational Behaviour, p. 149

[80] Murrel, L.K. & Formisano, R.A. 2000, Empowering Employees, p. x

[81] Clutterbuck, D. & Kernaghan, S. 1997, The Power of Empowerment”, p. 198

[82] Frenkel,S. & Sergeant, A. 2000 , When Do Customer contact employees satisfy customer?, p. 11

[83] Shahin, A. 2004, Customer Complaints Management and Empowerment, p.8

[84] Lashley, C. 2001, Empowerment: HR Strategies for Service Excellence, p. x

[85] Hogan, C. 2000, Facilitating Empowerment, p. 4

[86] Dahle, S. 2003, Gaining Customer Satisfaction Through the Empowerment of Service Personel, p. 222 & 223

[87] Gmachl-Fischer, U. 2008 [Personal Communication]. 15 June.

[88] Cook, S. & Macaaulay, S. 1997, Practical steps to empowerment complaint management, p. 27

[89] Brückner,M. 2005, Beschwerdemanagement [Complaint Management], p. 79 – 85

[90] Jeschke, K. , Lohkamp, L. & Schulze H.S. 2004, Beschwerdemanagement Training [CCM Training], p. 4

[91] Jeschke, K. , Lohkamp, L. & Schulze H.S. 2004, Beschwerdemanagement Training [CCM Training], pp .2

[92] Murrel, L.K. & Formisano, R.A. 2000, Empowering Employees, p.1

[93] Hart, C., James L. Heskett & Earl Sasser, W. 1990, The profitable art of service recovery, p. 149

[94] Poell, R. &Kessels, J. 2003, Human resource development: organiseren van het leren, p. 78

[95] Gomez-Mejia, L.R., Balkin ,&. Cardy, D R. L, 2005, Personeelsmanagement, p. 34

[96] Goerke, S. & Wickel – Kirch, S. 2002, Internes Marketing für Personal Arbeit [Internal Marketing for HR], p. 37

[97] Bemowski, K. 1991, The benchmarking bandwagon, p.19

[98] Gmachl-Fischer, U. 2008 [Personal Communication]. 15 June.

[99] Selye, H. 1936, A Syndrome Produced by Diverse Nocuous Agents, Nature, vol. 138, p. 32

[100] Becker, T. & Barz ,C. "was für ein Service!": Entwicklung und Sicherung der Auskunftsqualität von Bibliotheken, p.91


[102] Stauss, B. & Schulze, H.S. 2004, Complaint management, The Heart of CRM, p..244

[103] Wagner, J. & Hollenbeck, J. 2000, Organisational Behaviour, p.152



[106] Langewin Roger 1998, Customer Focus, p.9

[107] Blanchard , J.P. & Randolph, A. 1999, The 3 keys to empowerment, p. 10

[108] Latz, A. 2008. Interview with the author on 4 May 2008 Bonn. [Cassette recording in possession of author]

[109] Heuer, P. & Rohn, R. 2007, Innerbetriebliche Kommunikation [internal communication],

[110] Kunze, P. 2008 [Personal Communication]. 3 June.

[111] Beck, C. 1999, Managerial Communication, p. 278

[112] Israel, B. 2008 [Personal communication]. June 5


[114] Vaterl, P. 2002, Team, Team-Lernen [ Team, Team - learning],

[115] Rieckmann, H. 1996, Managen und Führen [To manage and to lead], p. 185

[116] Ghauri, R. 1995, Research Methods in Business Studies, p. 85

[117] Maying, P. 2002, Einführung in die Qualitative Sozialforschung [Introduction in qualitative sozial Research], p.19

[118] Finn, M. & Elliot, M. 2000, Tourism and Leisure Research Methods, p.8

[119] Finn, M. & Elliot, M. 2000, Tourism and Leisure Research Methods, p.8

[120] Lameck, S. Qualitatvie Sozialforschung [Qualitative social research], p.9


ISBN (eBook)
2 MB
Institution / Hochschule
IU Internationale Hochschule – Internationale Betriebswirtschaft, Betriebswirtschaftslehre
2009 (Januar)
beschwerdemanagement complaint management internal marketing kundenzufriedenheit

Titel: Complaint Management and Internal Marketing