Dealing with complaints is an inevitable part of running a business. How you do it from the outset can prevent them spiralling out of control. Making sure you treat your customers fairly may even result in repeat business despite a complaint being raised. The alternative; consumers reporting you to trading standards, posts on your social media accounts, complaints to professional bodies or even civil action being taken against you.
Practical tips to help you deal with complaints
1. Complaints Policy.
Some organisations are required to have a complaints procedure, such as law firms, accountancy firms etc. Even if you are not required to have one in place, in larger organisations it is a good way to ensure complaints are dealt with consistently and in line with how you as a business owner want them to be dealt with. For smaller companies, this will not be necessary if the same person is handling them. Just make sure the complaints handler is trained on the CRA.
2. Investigate and Respond.
Carefully consider the complaint being raised and provide a response accordingly. Remember such correspondence can be used in court proceedings, so getting it right from the start is important. If you can show a willingness to resolve the dispute from the outset but the consumer is unreasonable, this could later be held against them, and vice versa.
3. Remedies/Gesture of Goodwill.
Ensure you comply with the remedy regime set out in the CRA. However, this is the minimum you must comply with. Going above and beyond can help your reputation and secure future business. Whilst you may not be at fault legally, if there has been some misunderstanding by the consumer, a monetary offer based on a goodwill gesture may prevent the complaint escalating further.
4. Accepting Errors.
No one is perfect. Accepting you have made an error and apologising will be appreciated, as opposed to denying every little thing and passing the buck back to the consumer. That being said, do not be bullied by a consumer; knowing what rights consumers have will help you feel more confident in dealing with complaints.