Many organisations are now incorporating mediation into their complaints policies and procedures. Here we will look at the benefits this brings and why it’s now such a popular way of improving complaint handling processes amongst housing associations.
How does it work in practice?
To showcase this, let’s look at a recent case.
A housing association referred the case to us because a customer would not allow them access to their property due to a previous ‘bad experience.’
Despite that, the customer would still call the repair team to request improvement works as they deemed the property not suitable to live in.
The customer wanted an urgent move but the housing association needed to assess the condition of the property.
The case was at a standstill because the tenant wouldn’t allow the association to do what they needed to do to consider the request to move or to resolve the issues with the property.
Ultimately, the housing association wanted to find a way forward that would make everyone happy.
We arranged the mediation meeting with the housing association and the tenant to discuss the issues.
Ultimately, this helped all parties better understand the other’s point of view. This created the opportunity for everyone to work together towards an action plan so the housing association could arrange the repair work.
Both parties were happy with the resolution and able to maintain an amicable relationship for the future.
Here’s what those involved had to say about the process.
“Thank you for helping us get an action plan together for carrying out the repairs”
Complaints resolution officer – housing
“It is easy to try and defend your colleague when dealing with a complaint. By sitting and listening to the customer I got a better understanding of what happened.”
An organisation involved (the complaint was about a member of staff)
“I am not good at putting things on paper so it was much easier to be able to talk to them with you there. I never thought they would see things from my point of view, but they did. I even got an apology.”
This highlights the power of each party simply seeing the other points of view during the complaints process. Mediation facilitates positive outcomes by bringing all the parties together and then guiding them towards a resolution.
Outcomes are sustainable as mediation doesn’t put forward potential resolutions, it guides the parties involved to reach their own. When those involved are making the decisions themselves they feel empowered. They want what they put in place to work.
The key benefits
To summarise, you can access the following benefits when you use mediation to handle complaints:
- A people-centric approach to resolving complaints
- Resolve issues at an early stage
- Diffuse complaints and prevent escalations
- Opportunity to hear and understand the complaint from the individual’s point of view
- Gain valuable insight to improve your operations and prevent similar complaints
- All parties have a say in the outcome making it sustainable
Make mediation part of your complaints process
At ADR Mediation we can work with you to refine your processes so that you can simply refer cases to us when you need us.
This is a popular solution as it can save you a lot of time and money – benefits that only become more significant the more tenants we work with.
Break the cycle and prevent simple complaints escalating.