HANDLING CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS
Handling Customer Complaints
Customer complaints can come in all manner of forms, some being more serious than others. It helps to have a process in place to handle all customer complaints as they materialise. Many organisations use mediation as part of their complaints handling process to minimise costs, reduce the resource needed to handle the situation, and to protect their reputation. Mediation helps by achieving a quick, fuss-free resolution in the majority of cases.
It’s easier if you already have a third-party mediation partner in place ahead of any complaints arising, as they will be there and ready to go when you need them. They will also have a thorough understanding of your organisation. You can however bring in mediators at any time, it’s just much more effective when introduced early in the process before complaints escalate and become more problematic for you to handle.
The benefits of using mediation to handle customer complaints
Mediation is quick and efficient. It also results in sustainable resolutions as it empowers those involved to find their own solutions with the mediator’s guidance. It’s not the mediators job to offer ideas for a resolution, it’s to guide the conversation. When people create their own solutions they’re much more likely to see them through. They become more attached to them and they want them to work.
The other key benefits of mediation are:
- It’s people-centric
- Resolves issues fast
- Diffuses complaints to avoid escalations
- Provides a learning opportunity – you see things from the complainants point of view
- Helps you avoid similar complaints in the future
Mediation is a proven method of handling customer complaints which saves you time, money and resource.
How we work
We aim to provide the perfect setting for a constructive discussion that helps both parties reach a suitable outcome. Understanding each other’s concerns is key to this process. That helps us to facilitate a positive discussion that can lead to a resolution.
Once a case is referred to us we will contact the business and the customer separately to get an initial understanding from each parties’ perspective. We will also look to identify what a positive outcome would look like for both parties.
We will then arrange the mediation session. In most cases that will involve us inviting both parties to attend a joint, face-to-face meeting at a neutral venue. Sometimes this may not be appropriate so we can look at alternative methods if needed, such as shuttle mediation or other forms of communication. Each case is different so our approach is always flexible.
During the meeting we simply guide and facilitate the discussion, empowering you and your customer to reach a resolution. Often with customer complaints it can simply come down to a misunderstanding. Once the parties’ see the case from the other’s point of view we can often reach a resolution quickly.
If the case requires a follow up session we will arrange that for a suitable date depending on the circumstances and the actions required after the first session.
Who can benefit from using mediation to handle customer complaints?
Housing associations, police departments and local authorities use mediation to handle customer complaints regularly. It’s also suitable for a wide range of other sectors. If you get complaints that you find difficult to resolve, or they’re particularly complex or challenging in some way, we can help. We can also help if you have certain chronic complaints that have been an issue for a long time, or if particular complaints keep resurfacing.
This service can also help you handle complaints that don’t come from your own customers. For example, a building company working on a customer’s property could inadvertently cause damage to a neighbouring property resulting in a complaint from that resident. We can help in this type of scenario too.
If you need our help or want to find out more about our mediation services, contact our team today. We can work with you ahead of time to help you get the right processes in place so that we’re here when you need us. We can also get involved on an ad hoc basis. But remember, mediation is more effective the earlier you implement it. Talk to us now.