DMC chief: Ramp up customer service or risk demise

dataData management and privacy issues continue to be a thorn in the side of the marketing industry, according to the organisation that polices the DMA membership, triggering a call for all businesses to get their customer service operations in order or risk a mass exodus in these “challenging” times.

Despite revealing a sharp fall in complaints, from over 130 in 2018/19 to just 63 in the 2019/20, the annual report of Data & Marketing Commission (DMC) also shows that door-to-door company Postra Communications has been booted out of the DMA.

In the year from July 2019 to June 2020, the DMC investigated 23 complaints involving DMA members, 15 of which were consumer complaints and 8 were about B2B issues. The majority of these issues relate to data, privacy and quality (62.5%), with contractual (25%) and customer service (12.5%) problems making up the remainder.

The remaining 40 objections involved organisations that are not members of the DMA and so were referred to other statutory or self-regulatory bodies. However, in some cases, particularly where they involved consumers unable to unsubscribe from unwanted communications, the DMC did reach out to the business to provide a reminder of its legal commitments and request that it unsubscribe the individual.

DMC chief commissioner Amerdeep Somal said: “Understanding how customers think and feel, and what drives their behaviours, is key to customer management and to maximising loyalty. Underlying all the complaints that we see is the standard and quality of an organisation’s customer service.

“How does a business capture the right information to get to the heart of what matters to a customer, then act on this information to improve customer experience? This will be more important than ever during these challenging times, the pandemic and post Brexit.”

Over the past year, the DMC Board conducted a formal investigation into Postra Communications following complaints from two businesses who had ordered a door drop delivery. Neither complainants were satisfied that the deliveries had been carried out adequately and they had both described their relationship with the member as strongly lacking in terms of engagement, responses and assurance that their leaflets had been delivered.

Following further failures to engage with the clients or the investigation, the DMC recommended the removal of the company from membership, a sanction that the DMA Board approved and imposed.

The company, incorporated in 2018 by sole director Fern Tranter, has since been hit with a proposal to strike off, although this was suspended last month.

Somal continues: “The impact the pandemic has had on our society cannot be underestimated and we all have a crucial part to play in weathering the storm. More important still is the change that is required within the industry itself to ensure it retains, and in some cases regains customer support.

“That means keeping front of mind the lessons of the lockdown that the success of the industry is founded on customer support, which should never be abused or taken for granted.”

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