Good customer service increasingly involves good Alternative Dispute Resolution. All businesses are required to signpost to ADR when a complaint can’t be resolved, but to a certified ADR provider like ProMediate. Those ADR providers have been given the approval of Chartered Trading Standards Institute, so they should provide a good ADR service. We are partnered with the GMCC in Greater Manchester to provide a Dispute Management Service.
According to Ombudsman Services’ third annual Consumer Action Monitor there were 52 million complaints in the UK last year, but there were still 66 million issues that were not acted on.
For example, in Manchester more than 480,000 complaints about poor service last year but it is estimated even more complaints, nearly 650,000, could have been made. Residents made 1,292 complaints about their energy suppliers alone last year. The most common complaints relate to billing issues, or problems with changing suppliers. The company also recorded a further 481 complaints about communications firms
In the region, there were nearly 5.6 million complaints, but almost 7.2 million issues were not taken further. That amounts to 7.2 unhappy customers.
As the Chief Ombudsman is quoted as flagging up about ADR :
“At a time when it is becoming more expensive to take court action, alternative dispute resolution, including ombudsmen, is an important and growing part of the civil justice system as a whole.
“Those that live in Manchester are actively standing up for their consumer rights, but there’s still more that can be done by businesses to make ADR more accessible.”
He also shared some tips for complaining: tips from the Ombudsman
- Firstly identify what you want to achieve, have a clear idea of what it is you want to achieve from complaining
- Don’t get emotional – keep your anger in check and don’t get mad. Be assertive without being aggressive
- we would say, don’t rush to social media or review sites to complain before raising the issue first
- Don’t be embarrassed – it’s your right to complain if you’re not satisfied
- Admit your part in the problem if you have any fault
- Address one complaint at a time, ensure what you say is clear and fair
- Keep records of all correspondence, paperwork, bills and receipts, if asked to send them anywhere make sure you send photocopies and keep originals
- If you’re not getting results complaining directly to the company, identify the person or organisation who has the power to make changes and help
- If your complaint has not been resolved quickly (normally within eight weeks), you can take your complaint further to ADR, but only if the business agrees to do so.
Our top tips for businesses include:
- Signpost unresolved complaints to a certified ADR Provider
- don’t be defensive – use a complaint as an opportunity to improve
- agree to use ADR – you never know until you try it and you might be surprised at how good it is at resolving complaints and can save reputation, time and cost
- when the complaint is concluded, send a “deadlock” email or letter explaining the options to the customer