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What is your organizations system for the classification of customer complaints?

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 06:48 AM

what is your organization's system of classification of customer complaints?




Thanks in advance !  :smile:  


Kaung San

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 07:53 AM

We have two types of complaints,

1. Safety complaints which is related to our CCPs, operational PRPs and quality of criteria of product.

2. Normal complaints which is related to size and shape of product, color and printing design (not printing information) of packaging, etc.


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Posted 17 August 2020 - 08:18 AM

Think about what you want to get out of the information and that might help you decide how to classify.


For example, I want to know the types of complaints I'm getting so I can focus on the trend and reduce the total number of complaints of that type over time

foreign object

damaged bag

no label

over cooked

under cooked


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Posted 17 August 2020 - 12:31 PM

quality complaints

foreign matter




shelf life

personal preference


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Posted 17 August 2020 - 02:34 PM

We break ours out into 2 main categories, food safety and quality. A food safety complaint triggers an all hands on deck type investigation to be sure we aren't repeatedly sending out contaminated product.

I started some sub-categories for quality complaints, as we had a few that kept springing up (clumping, off color, shipping, damaged/packaging).

Ryan M.

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Posted 17 August 2020 - 07:32 PM

  1. Actionable
  2. Non-Actionable
  3. Isolated


We further classify each as:

  • Quality
  • Food Safety
  • Other (usually around shipping / transportation, packing issue)


This was at a facility where we co-packed for other brands so we shipped pallets of product to DC's and warehouses.


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Posted 19 August 2020 - 07:58 AM

Think about what you want to get out of the information and that might help you decide how to classify.

Very much agree with this!

At present we've got a list of various categories:
Micro - safety

Micro - quality

Physical - safety

Physical - quality

Chemical - safety

Chemical - quality





Order management/processing

Food fraud

Food defence / malicious activity



Any one complaint can have up to five of these assigned to it.

Each complaint then also has a valid / not valid tag and a production source (site/line) assigned to it, and a separate risk status rating of 1-5.

This automatically feeds in to a live dashboard and various templates that generate lots of analysis, graphs, complaints per million units figures that link into production outputs etc. It's possibly overly complex for some applications but I wanted to create a system that could readily cope with more than we'd be likely to throw at it, whilst still creating lots useful output for us that is easily accessible. Also I quite like data and making spreadsheets ;)


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Posted 19 August 2020 - 01:14 PM

I think it would depend on your products. As a packaging manufacturer we have only 2 types in procedure:


Critical Complaint – Notification of an alleged injury or illness or a product defect that could potentially lead to injury or illness. (Safety)

Non-Critical – Notification of a quality or other undesirable situation outside of the agreed upon specifications. (Quality)


Within the non-critical, a determination is made by Customer Service and Quality after investigation for response. Typically this is related to issues arising post shipping. Sometimes a well intentioned person down chain reports what they believe to be an issue. I would say about 95% of customer complaints are dismissed after investigation. We have had only one critical (safety) issue raised that I was involved in and it was found to have happened at a store (Used elastic bandage found in a carton) by their employee.

Jim E.

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Posted 04 September 2020 - 09:36 PM

We have our complaints broken into 3 main sections

1. Foreign Materials

2. Packaging

3. Quality


These three bases then are broken down further respective to the actual complaint.

Example FM further broken down to 10 possible FM types, Packaging 6 types and Quality 10 types


Works well for trending and analysis.


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Posted 20 September 2021 - 03:35 PM

Many of the responses so far seem to be oriented around the nature and severity of the complaint. This is fairly rational, but the alternative I've used is to classify complaints according to the systems that are likely to have contributed to their occurrence.


To illustrate, a complaint might address the quality of the product the customer received, or the complaint might address the circumstances under which the customer received the product.


Product quality examples:

Colour, texture, damage, shape, malodour, size, etc


Delivery conditions examples:

Temperature on delivery, residual shelf life, late delivery, evidence of pest activity, tanker seals broken, etc


If you consider storage and distribution partners to form part of your quality management system (and you should, because you approve them and monitor their performance), this type of classification is useful because it targets the rest of the investigation. Product quality complaints are likely to have something to do with the processes that contribute to the manufacture of the product, while delivery condition complaints are likely to have something to do with the processes that contribute to the receipt of the product by the customer.


In a very similar line of thinking, I use 'attributable to a raw material fault' as a category for product quality complaints - so for example, if you receive a complaint that a consumer found a capstem in a hot cross bun, you can usually attribute that complaint to a fault with the raisins and sultanas. This helps target the investigation toward the raw material supplier.

For the sake of clarification, targeting a complaint investigation toward a raw material supplier doesn't absolve your quality management system because your QMS approved and monitors the performance of your ingredient supplier. A preventative action might mean delisting that supplier, or negotiating a tighter raw material spec - and these are actions that your QMS would need to undertake.


If you're looking to identify weaknesses in your QMS, it's fairly useful to use these categories for complaints, and treat classifications such as 'colour' and 'damage' as sub-categories.

Edited by Duncan, 20 September 2021 - 03:36 PM.

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