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By Jaidyn Crookston | January 23, 2024 | 15 Minute Read

Finding Complaint Trends: Take Your Institution from Repeat Offender to Everyone’s Favorite Place to Bank

Finding Complaint Trends: Take Your Institution from Repeat Offender to Everyone’s Favorite Place to Bank

Here’s an exciting fact: Many customer complaints are avoidable. 


Ideally, complaints are few and far between. But if your financial institution is a repeat offender, it’s time to change. Instead of waiting for complaints to roll in and resolving them as needed, you can take action and prevent complaints before your customer ever experiences a problem. 


This will lead to happier customers, a better bank/credit union reputation, and a more satisfying job. After all, nobody wants to read complaints all day. Who knows, you may even turn a disgruntled customer into an advocate for your institution (it’s easier than you may think).  


Preventing complaints isn’t easy, but if you care about your customers (and we know you do) and your institution, this should be a priority. 


And the best way to prevent complaints? Find complaint trends and take action to resolve the issue. 


Complaint trends are complaints that pop up again and again. Maybe there’s a problem with one employee at a specific branch. Maybe your website has a recurring glitch. Maybe there’s a flaw in one of your banking products. It’s up to you to find these complaint trends and take steps to fix them. This will prevent similar complaints from happening in the future and will show customers that you truly care about their experience. 


Principles for identifying and resolving customer complaint trends


Track the data


Finding complaint trends isn’t like throwing a dart at the wall and hoping for the best. You need a solid plan to find and resolve complaint trends. And this plan should start with the data. 


There are many ways to collect customer complaints. Chances are your institution collects complaints through various channels, including email, social media, online forms, and comment cards. To find complaint trends, you’ll have to look at all these channels. Instead of working in several systems and trying to cross-reference, you’ll want to find software that helps you gather these complaints in one place (we recommend using Kadince’s complaint management software). 


Once you have all complaints in front of you, it’s time to look at the data. Who’s complaining? What branches receive the most complaints? What keywords do you see over and over? Are customers angry, frustrated, or just a little annoyed? 


This data will guide your next steps and help you see the overall picture of your institution’s complaints. Find trends with software built specifically for it (*cough* Kadince), or try hitting cntrl/cmd F on your keyboard to search your spreadsheet or system for recurring words. Once you’ve found a trend, it’s time to prioritize.




Prioritize the issues


Finding complaint trends means nothing unless you actually do something about it. Hopefully, you aren’t finding tons of trends at once. But if you are, you’ll need to prioritize and deal with the worst trend first. And worst doesn’t necessarily mean most complaints. It means the complaint trend that has the worst impact on your company’s reputation and gives customers the worst experience. 


Say you find two complaint trends. Several people have complained about your bank’s hours of operation and asked you to stay open later. And several other people have complained about a specific employee who is rude and makes comments that don’t fit with your bank’s core values.


Obviously, you should prioritize the trend complaining about your employee. There may not be a ton you can do about your hours of operation, and while you can bring it up to management and ask what they think, you shouldn’t do so until after you’ve taken steps to resolve the bigger issue. 


Resolving high-priority complaints first will have the biggest impact on your institution’s reputation and growth. Take these trends one at a time and work from the worst trend down to the least impactful. You should strive to fix whatever you can, but practice prioritizing them.


And just a reminder that not all complaints can or should be resolved. Some customers will complain about anything, and there’s nothing you can do to make them happy. Take the loss and move on to the next complaint trend. 


Communicate with customers


For many businesses, complaints seem to fall into a void, never to be seen again. But if you really want to get on your customers’ good sides, you should follow up on their complaints and update them once you’ve made some resolutions. 


Communicating with customers and keeping them informed about the status of their complaints is a wonderful way to show that you care and exceed their expectations. Customers don’t always expect you to actually do something about their complaints. They hope you do, but they know that most businesses will just leave them hanging.


So surprise them! Really look at their complaint, come up with a solution, and tell them how you’ve improved. 


Open communication is critical, especially when it comes to resolving complaint trends. Trends typically bring to light real issues that need to be addressed, and following up with your customers once you’ve improved (and maybe even letting them know they weren’t the only ones to experience it) is a great way to turn upset customers into advocates for your institution


Don’t do it alone


Tracking and resolving complaints can be a lonely job. 


Ideally, you’ll have a team to tackle complaints with you. But if you’re part of a small institution or you lack direct support, you may find yourself handling things alone. But that doesn’t mean you should! You can still train others throughout your institution to help you handle complaints. 


Your coworkers—from the tellers to the CEO—should all know what to do if they come across a complaint. Whether that complaint comes from social media, the website, comment cards, or in person, they should know how to report it to you and your team. 


If your institution uses Kadince complaint management software, this is easy. Say a teller is speaking to a customer who complains about your ATM being difficult to use. That teller can go to your intranet, click a Kadince complaint form, and fill it out right there. The form has an internal workflow that notifies the proper reviewer based on your preset criteria (e.g., product, location, keyword in the complaint, customer type, etc.) and gets eyes on the complaint right away. Now you can see if there’s a trend, brainstorm solutions, and respond to the customer once you’ve made improvements. Easy peasy! 


Of course, that teller has to know about the Kadince complaint form and needs to be trained on how to use it (it’s super easy!). They need to know that you’re collecting complaints, and they should know what to tell that customer about your complaints process and when they might expect to hear from you.


You should provide regular updates and training to all employees on handling complaints and what your process looks like. You should make it clear that receiving complaints doesn’t mean your institution is bad or disappoints your customers. Complaints are an opportunity to grow and improve, and resolving them shows customers that you care. 


Every employee should know who to turn to if they have a question, and they should all feel empowered to report complaints, ask follow-up questions, and give you the information you need. By relying on your coworkers to find and report complaints, you can spend more time finding trends and resolving complaints instead of scrolling social media looking for them. 


Running a bank or credit union takes a team, and resolving complaints does, too. 




Be consistent and vigilant


Finding complaint trends isn’t something you do once and call good. Even if you’ve resolved a dozen complaint trends, more can pop up any day. 


You need to consistently check the data for complaint trends. Keep your eyes and ears open, too, because not all complaints will be submitted for processing. 


If you treat complaint resolution as an ongoing process instead of a one-time task, you’re likely to find more complaints and further improve your institution. Remember, complaints and complaint trends are your chance to improve and delight your customers. Don’t take that responsibility lightly.


Something else to think about is that not all complaints are external. What are your coworkers saying? How can your institution improve internally? What stops employees from enjoying their jobs? What incentives might you offer to keep employees on track? Find the trends and take steps to improve. The happier your institution’s employees, the happier your customers.


Tools to find and resolve complaint trends


There’s no one-way-fits-all approach to tracking and resolving customer complaints. Each institution will do things differently based on institution size, complaint volume, employee capacity, and personal preference. 


Here are some common complaint management tools that may help your institution better manage complaints. 


Individual platforms


Managing complaints on each individual platform like email, social media, and website is perhaps the most inefficient way to find and resolve complaints trends (although it’s still common practice among banks and credit unions). 


You really need to take the complaints you receive in each platform and gather them together in another system, whether that be spreadsheets or dedicated software. If you don’t do this and simply see the complaint and respond to it there, you’ll miss out on several opportunities. Finding and resolving complaint trends is really difficult when you can’t see all the complaints together. It’s kind of like working near-sighted. You know the complaint trends are there, but to find them, you have to search through each complaint and hope you remember what’s going on. Not fun. 


Resolving complaints through email, social media, or your website often leads to confusing threads, lost complaints, and employees unsure who should respond. Not a great start to improving your institution.


Rather than relying solely on each individual platform to track and manage complaints, we recommend using email, social media, and your website as a supplement to another system. If complaints come through these platforms, transfer them to another system and search for complaint trends there.


complaints coming from different sources is confusing




Spreadsheets are another widely used tool when tracking complaints. Spreadsheets are at least more efficient than individual platforms, but this method is often manual and time-consuming. 


Tracking complaints on spreadsheets means everything is up to you. You have to create the spreadsheets, decide what you want to track, build your own reports, and search for complaint trends manually (although cntrl/cmd F can make this a bit easier). 


You’ll likely end up with missed complaint trends, as well as dozens of confusing tabs that only a few people can read.


For small institutions without many complaints, this system may work fine. But larger institutions or ones with several complaints coming in will need a better solution. 




If individual platforms and spreadsheets aren’t your jam (and they shouldn’t be), there are plenty of complaint softwares to choose from. 


Each software will be different and should be chosen depending on your institution’s needs. Do some research, make a list of top candidates, and see some demos. Using software to track and manage complaints will make your job a lot easier, especially if that software is built to identify complaint trends and help you resolve them. 


We may be a little biased, but we believe Kadince is the best complaint management software for banks and credit unions (and finding complaints trends is super easy). 


Kadince complaint management software


Kadince software is an easy-to-use complaint management tool that keeps all your complaint data in one place and makes finding complaint trends a breeze. 


Kadince will help you:


  • Collect data

  • Route complaints to the proper reviewer(s)

  • Find trends

  • Build reports

  • Reduce risk

  • Prepare for exams

  • And more!


You can see a snapshot of all complaints submitted and can filter by year, type of complaint, pending tasks, and more. With customizable Kadince workflows, you’ll never wonder who’s in charge of responding again. 


To get complaints into the system, you can train employees to fill out an internal Kadince form that collects the data you need. You can even create an external form for customers to use on your website, social media, or in your branches. This keeps things organized and saves you from uploading all complaints yourself. 



Kadince Feedback software



According to one happy Kadince user, “The biggest success we’ve had since using Kadince is being able to document complaints that we missed before. What took weeks now only takes a few days.” (Learn more about this customer’s experience here.)


Unlike most software tools, implementing Kadince doesn’t have to take months of hard work. You can get into the system and start using it quickly. In fact, one Kadince customer fully implemented the software in just 35 days, reducing implementation time by 350%!  


To learn more about finding complaint trends and tracking complaints with Kadince, schedule a demo. 




Like we said, there’s no one way to manage complaints. But if you take the time to collect complaints, train employees, and resolve complaint trends, your institution can grow and improve. Plus, you’ll show customers that you truly care, and that will set you apart from other institutions. 


So what are you waiting for? Get into your complaint tracking system and start looking for complaint trends today. It’s worth it. 

None of Kadince, Inc., its affiliates, or its respective employees, directors, officers, and agents (collectively, “Kadince”) are responsible or liable for any content or information incorporated herein. Read full disclosure.


Jaidyn Crookston | Content Manager, Kadince

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