Complaints! (Huh! Yeah!) What are they good for?
Absolutely… some things. At least we think so. In terms of both workforce compliance and good old business management, consumer complaints are powerful early indicators of organizational problems and opportunities.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, however, isn’t so sure. In the midst of its ongoing transformation under new director Mick Mulvaney, the Bureau is asking for comments on the “usefulness” of one of its quintessential regulatory apparatuses: the consumer complaint database.
“In the last 18 months, the CFPB topped 1 million complaints received in its database. The CFPB takes those complaints, analyzes them, and publishes reports about the number of complaints it’s received, the types of complaints, and the most complained about companies.
But the CFPB now wants to know if those reports are useful and how they might be changed moving forward, along with how the complaint database could be altered.
The CFPB’s request for information invites comments on a number of issues, including whether it is ‘net beneficial or net harmful’ to the ‘transparent and efficient operation of markets for consumer financial products and services’ for the CFPB to publicized the names of the most complained about companies.
Additionally, the CFPB asks whether it should ‘expand, limit, or maintain’ the same level of access to complaint information that is currently available to external stakeholders such as financial institutions and the public.”
That’s right, lenders, now is your chance to file a complaint with the CFPB about the CFPB’s complaint files. But before you do, consider whether you might want to lodge a request for an expanded database rather than a diminished one. Complaints may be painful for the organizations they’re about, particularly if the complaints are unsubstantiated, but the fact is that customer dissatisfaction hardly ever arises from nothing. Smart financial companies know that complaints shine a light on a wide range of minor and major issues that could foreshadow legal disputes or, on the more constructive side, present organizations with an opening to save money, turn a better profit, and cultivate borrower loyalty.
You can read the CFPB’s request for comment here (PDF).
Considering that for every customer who complains, 26 others remain silent, we believe that the database provides crucial insight into consumers’ frequently unspoken needs and desires. In Consumer Complaints: Your Company’s Broken Windows, attorney Michael Benoit and Compli VP of Customer Success Wendy Miller will show you how to leverage this feedback to create better customer experiences and turn complaints into a competitive advantage. Learn more and sign up to watch the webinar here.