Managing complaints in your business

A well-developed complaints handling policy gives your business a strategy, guidelines and clear set of directions for handling customer complaints.

Once you have created a complaints handling policy, it's important to implement it within the day-to-day operations of your business.

Creating procedures for complaints

Having procedures in place will help you manage a complaint in 3 stages:

  1. Find out why your customer is unhappy.
  2. Do everything you reasonably can to make your customer happy.
  3. Review the incident to consider potential improvements to service or complaints handling.

Communicating complaints procedures

Be sure your staff are aware of, and skilled in, your business's complaints policy and procedures. It's vital that they understand their role in resolving and recording complaint incidents, and nominating complaint contacts.

You should also take steps to communicate your complaints policy and procedures to customers (e.g. through your website and business communications).

Reviewing your complaints handling policy

Your complaints handling policy will ensure you are keeping good records of complaint incidents.

Schedule time periodically to review your business complaints and check for patterns in the type, nature and handling of complaints.

This review will allow you to identify issues such as:

  • the number and type of complaints
  • customer service weaknesses
  • your staff's complaint-handling skills
  • customer complaint behaviour and your management approaches.

Resolving complaints

While many complaints are easily resolved, some can be very challenging. Resolving complaints with dissatisfied customers requires good business processes, courteous communication and strong conflict resolution skills.

Find out more about handling and resolving customer complaints.

Managing unresolved complaints

If you are unable to resolve a complaint after taking all reasonable steps, you may find a third party dispute resolution service helpful.

If your customer lodges a formal complaint about your business, disputes can be resolved using alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation, without involving the courts.

Mediation can be arranged through non-government providers, and through a dispute resolution centre.

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