1000 irritations or 1 catastrophe?

Woman in perilous situation with circular saw - metaphor for problems

How does your organisation judge it's complaints? If it's like a lot of organisations, it counts them. More complaints=bad, fewer complaints=better. I know that the majority of financial services firms I've worked with do this.

So, what if one complaint is from someone who lost their entire life savings as a result of being sold an inappropriate product and another was from someone indignant that their knighthood wasn't recognised in the salutation on a letter from their bank?

For many organisations, both types of complaints would carry equal weight in their complaints tracking systems. If you have enough of the trivial complaints then you will reward the behaviour that says "fix the easy stuff first" (see What are extrinsic rewards and do they work? for more thoughts on the two types of motivation, and how they affect behaviour)

The financial service regulators in the UK have driven some major improvements in the way customers are treated, but it seems there's still a long way to go before we see customers being treated in a truly rational and fair way.

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