"Monthly complaints reduced by 36% and complaint escalations reduced from 13% to 0.7%, improving satisfaction levels and reducing management costs"
A large public sector organisation was experiencing extensive problems with its complaints management system (over 13% of complaints were escalating through the system costing a great deal of time and money through investigations and compensation payments, plus the reputational harm caused to the relationship with both customers and the Ombudsman service).
Richard was given the task of finding and implementing a solution to this problem. He undertook ‘back to the floor’ exercises with staff, reviewed a number of historic cases and met with customers and stakeholders to gain a deeper insight into what was causing the problems.
Having gained a clear understanding of the issues and challenges facing the complaints service, an action plan was produced which highlighted quick wins, medium term actions and a number of longer term objectives.
A new follow-up process was implemented immediately to ensure that organisational promises were kept. Complaints literature and letters were reviewed and best practice was introduced. Training was undertaken by all investigating officers and a quality assurance framework was established.
Analysis was undertaken into the reasons for complaints and how these could have been avoided. Data was shared with partners/contractors at regular relationship meetings in order to ensure that all parties were signed up to the objective of avoiding complaints in the first instance and quickly resolving any that did come through. This was supported by a framework for ‘learning from customers’, using customer feedback to drive service improvements.
Relationship meetings were undertaken with the Ombudsman Service in order to provide confidence that the issues were being addressed and to verify that new processes and approaches were appropriate.
Weekly reporting to the senior management team, identifying hot spot areas and teams ensured that this topic was top of the agenda and prompt management action was taken to address any issues that arose.