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The "Complaints Management Evolutionary Scale"

 After working with so many Complaints Management departments from some of Australia's largest companies over 20 years now, we're able to categorise a company's approach to Complaints Management into 5 levels:
  • Level 1: Complaints Management in the Stone Age
  • Level 2: Complaints Management is Medieval
  • Level 3: Complaints Management is in the Renaissance
  • Level 4: Complaints Management is in the Industrial Era
  • Level 5: Complaints Management has reached "Peak Evolution"
 At Causia we call this the "Complaints Management Evolutionary Scale". Here's how the levels can be visualised:
Complaints & Quality - Maturity Model
Let's dive into each level a little deeper so you can assess where you fit in:

Level 1 - Stone Age:  

  • You don’t have or need any policies around handling complaints.

  • You see complaints as a sign of failure.

  • As far as systems go, you might have a spreadsheet - these aren’t the easiest or most reliable ways of systemising your complaints handling. Data entry is ‘clunky’ and prone to error.

  • Processes - what processes?

  • The way you handle customer complaints leaves much to be desired - customer satisfaction is... Through the floor.

  • You don’t have any insights into improving your complaints management 

Level 2 - Medieval: 

  • You’ve at least got a policy with an added layer of privacy for handling complaints in place (unlike Layers 0-1).

  • But you too still view complaints as a sign of failure.

  • You’re a little further along in the evolutionary scale and have an Internal Built Database to systemise your complaints handling - it’s not the easiest thing to use.

  • You’ve managed to implement basic processes to handle complaints

  • Customer satisfaction is slightly better than Levels 0-1 - but still LOW.


  • You’ve figured out that extracting data from complaints is a good way to get insights to improvements.

Level 3 - Renaissance: 

  • You’ve got policies that centre around legal compliance.

  • Unfortunately, you still see complaints as a sign of failure.

  • Your system is further along, you use a CRM or Helpdesk.

  • Your process for handling complaints is ‘Better’ than Levels 0-2.

  • Customer satisfaction at Level 3 has started to creep up a little and is now ‘OK’. (still far from ideal).

  • Like Level 2, you’re aware of the value of data extraction to get insights for improvements

Level 4 - Industrial Era: 

  • Your policy is in plain language and easy to understand.

  •  You’ve finally evolved past seeing complaints as failures - you now view them as a ‘Fact of life’.

  • You now have a dedicated Complaints system in place - BOOM!

  • Customer satisfaction and processes have both surpassed the last three levels to at least be ‘Good’.


  • Your insights into improving the way your organisation handles complaints are still stuck at just extracting data.

Level 5 - "Peak Evolution":

  • Congrats you’ve reached the peak of the evolutionary model (it doesn’t get much better).

  • Your policies are easy to understand and written in plain language.

  • You’ve finally evolved to the stage of viewing complaints as an opportunity to improve - not a point of failure.

  • You’ve got a dedicated Complaints and Quality System in place to streamline the complaints process.

  • Your processes adhere to best practices and your customers couldn’t be happier with the way you handle their complaints (well as happy as someone complaining can be..).

  • You have an entire system in place to gain the most in-depth insights to improvement:
    Real-Time Alerts > CAPA > RCA > Change Events > Impact Monitoring
By the way ... This also happens to be the level of evolutionary excellence Complaints Pro customers can expect to reach!
And that ladies and gentlemen, is the "The Complaints Management Evolutionary Scale".
The first step is always to understand where you’re at. Awareness breeds action.
Complaints & Quality - Maturity Model (1)
From there, you can find the right experts and tools to help your organisation evolve.
Which level is your Complaints Management process at?





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