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International best practice approaches to complaints handling

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Any expression of dissatisfaction that needs a response ... McMillan, 2007. Ways in which people can lodge a complaint. Telephone. In person ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: International best practice approaches to complaints handling


1
International best practice approaches to
complaints handling
  • Dr. Richard Boyle
  • Senior Research Officer
  • Institute of Public Administration
  • Dublin
  • Presentation at HKEU seminar 11th December 2008

2
Introduction
  • Complaints handling often misunderstood and under
    appreciated
  • Primary focus of the presentation is on internal
    complaints handling

3
(No Transcript)
4
What is a complaint?
  • Any expression of dissatisfaction that needs a
    response
  • Where a decision or action is taken relating to
    the provision of a service which, it is claimed,
    is not in accordance with the rules, practice or
    policy of the organisation or the generally
    accepted principles of equity and good
    administrative practice and which adversely
    affects the person concerned

5
Why is good complaints handling important?
  • Complaints provide a window on systemic problems
  • Complaints can stimulate improvement
  • Good complaints handling can defuse a crisis
  • The price of failure is high
  • McMillan, 2007

6
Ways in which people can lodge a complaint
  • Telephone
  • In person
  • Customer comment card
  • Mail
  • Email
  • Link from the website
  • Blogs and chatrooms

7
(No Transcript)
8
Encouraging complaints
  • People often dont know how to complain. They
    need to be encouraged
  • developing specific information and resources
    fact-sheets, posters, translated information,
    brochures
  • regular publications newsletter, email alerts
  • website as a recognised source of information and
    useful links
  • flexible distribution strategies email,
    face-to-face, mail-outs, libraries, government
    and community agencies
  • promotional goodies fridge magnets, pens

9
People may fear complaining or lack confidence in
the system
  • Fear of discrimination or harassment
  • Inform clients that they will not be
    discriminated against as a result of making a
    complaint
  • Establish internal follow-up procedures to
    address the risk of discrimination against
    clients who lodge a complaint
  • Staff may also have concerns

10
First steps in establishing a complaints handling
system
  • Identify good practice complaints handling
    principles
  • Conduct a risk assessment
  • Level of consequence versus likelihood of
    recurrence

11
Dealing with cross-cutting and complex complaints
  • Respective roles and responsibilities in
    administering legislation, making policy and
    handling complaints should be clearly spelt out
    and visible to the public
  • A standardised complaints handling system
  • An overseeing body/function?
  • Specialist staff for complex, high profile
    complaints

12
Dealing with difficult complainants
  • Challenges of dealing with habitual or vexatious
    complainants
  • Good guidance, backed up by skills development,
    is crucial

13
The impact of information and communications
technologies
  • Using websites for complaints handling
  • Complaints tracking
  • Blogs and Web 2.0
  • Not forgetting the computer illiterate and those
    without access

14
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15
Quality assuring complaints handling
  • Need for quality control measures in the handling
    of complaints
  • Tracking a sample of complaints from initiation
    to closure

16
Creating a supportive climate
  • Role of senior management
  • Relationship between the complaints manager and
    chief executive
  • Integrating complaints handling with human
    resource practices such as performance appraisal
    and training and development

17
The complaints ladder
  • First stage The intake officer screens the
    complaint and registers it if it is appropriate.
    Then front-line staff attempt to resolve it.
  • Second stage When clients are still
    dissatisfied, a more senior official or a
    complaints officer investigates their complaints
    and reports the results to them.
  • Third stage Consider using mutually acceptable,
    alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as
    mediation. If this is not possible, a third party
    could arbitrate the matter.

18
Ensuring lesson learning
  • Promoting system-wide lesson learning in good
    practice
  • Variety of players central agencies, Ombudsman
    and Audit offices

19
(No Transcript)
20
Conclusion
  • We must expect dissatisfied customers. We have
    choices about how the public can express that
    dissatisfaction
  • To the greatest possible extent, complaints
    should be handled at a local level
  • Handling complaints effectively is not just about
    value for money. It is about establishing a
    responsive relationship between the apparatus of
    the state and the people who use this apparatus
    (House of Commons Public Administration Select
    Committee)
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