Resolving your complaint directly

Act quickly and cordially

Disagreements in business are inevitable, but the damage they cause is heavily determined by the way you deal with them.

It is important to take a conciliatory approach to resolving your conflict. All dispute agencies and ombudsmen ask that you first attempt a direct conciliation before they offer their services.

For disagreements with service providers, ask whether they have complaints handling policies and procedures in place to manage customer disputes.

Then, if possible, put your complaint in writing. Complaining in writing is an essential part of good business record keeping, and allows you to carefully consider and explain your issues in a professional and cordial manner.

Brush up on your written and verbal negotiating skills. They could save you a lot of time and money. Disputes handled with diplomacy and tact are far less likely to be detrimental to your business.

Seeking help from a third party

If you are struggling to resolve your dispute directly and amicably, you have 2 third-party dispute resolution options.

Consensual processes

Consensual processes include collaborative law, mediation, conciliation or negotiation, in which the parties attempt to reach agreement. These are formally known as alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR offers conflict resolution services outside the government judicial process. Some courts - convinced of ADR's proven effectiveness - now require parties to enter the dispute resolution process - usually mediation - before trying their cases.

Adjudicative processes

Adjudicative processes include litigation or arbitration, in which a judge, jury or arbitrator determines the outcome. These are formally known as the judicial process. Judicial processes are a last resort for businesses when all other dispute resolution attempts have failed.

Also consider...