Effective complaint handling stephen haseltine - british heart foundation
Effective Complaint Handling (That doesn’t include dark limousines and large men in dark suits paying unscheduled visits)
Complaints = Opportunities• Complainant is engaged• Complainant is motivated• = What you want your supporters to be• Turning a complainant into a supporter can often be achieved with effective complaint handling.• However, not all complaints can be converted.
What is a complaint?• Official definition:British Standards (BS8600): ‘An expression of dissatisfaction whether justified or not’FRSB:Negative feedbackSomething someone is unhappy aboutA contact that require redressA contact that expresses dissatisfaction
Complaints• Objective• - Where the dissatisfaction comes from failure to meet a stated position (e.g. Administrative)• Subjective• - Where the dissatisfaction comes from failure to meet a perceived position• (e.g. Campaigning, Policy)
Alt definition: Unmet Expectations• The complaint is because an expectation hasn’t been met• Expectation and be reasonable or unreasonable• Therefore one of the worst things you can do when handling a complaint is to not manage expectations by not setting out a clear policy.• Because expectations are often unreasonable, your external policy must be structured and detailed.
Fundraising & Expectation• Donor development depends on relationship building• Humanising campaigns and fundraising• increasingly targeted and personalised fundraising• = More effective fundraising, but can also lead to greater expectations• = Important to record & learn from complaints
Some Complainant Expectations• Everything will stop until complaint is resolved• Everyone knows who they are and their issue• They are the only complainant/silent majority• Escalation yields results (Straight to the top!)• The charity dreads involvement of 3rd parties• Threats (empty or otherwise) work• Green ink, bold, CAPS, and !! are magic• Being ‘outraged’ is the latest thing
Which is why you should:• Have a structured process (see examples)• Give a response timeframe (per stage)• Have a Complaint Coordinator/Named contact• Specify steps and hierarchy (see examples)• Provide details of 3rd party arbitrators (e.g.FRSB)• When appropriate, get written statements• Provide support internally to staff dealing with complaints• Don’t apologise too readily
Wait...Did he really say don’t apologise?• Yes, he did. But to be fair he did qualify it with ‘too readily’• Some complaints require investigation. Premature apologies may be ineffective and inappropriate. (fobbed off)• OK to express regret without making admission of liability.• Informal apologies for simple problems OK, but may require follow up.
Support complaint staff• Show of hands – dedicated support/complaint/frontline/customer service staff?• The value of frontline staff & how to help• Brief staff on upcoming campaigns and issues• Get regular feedback from complaint staff• Empower them to take action/make decisions• Have senior/qualified staff on call to support
By now you’ve guessed• This is geared to exception rather than the rule.• Most charities handle complaints well either formally or informally through customer care• However, sophisticated fundraising can lead to subjective expectations• FRSB guidelines and advice of Record, Resolve, Review, & Revise.
FRSB• Main point of contact• Fundraising Promise /FRSB details/tick mark• Have a written procedure (send to FRSB)• Record ALL complaints – incl. All comm/details• Acknowledge within 14 respond within 30• Full response must detail investigation and further steps (FRSB, ASA, IOC etc.)
Example 1• Please contact (Dept) at:• Informal process• If not satisfied, progress to stage 2 (Formal)• Your complaint will be acknowledged within 14 days and a full reply given in 30• If not satisfied with stage 2, FRSB option (contact details, timeframes, jurisdiction)
Example 2• Please contact (dept)• Informal Process. If not satisfied,• A Complaint Coordinator acknowledge 14 days• Full investigation 30 days• If not satisfied with stage 2, FRSB option (contact details, timeframes, jurisdiction)
Example 3• Please contact (dept)• Informal Process. If not satisfied.• ALL complaints will go to:• A Complaint Coordinator acknowledge 14 days• Full investigation 30 days• If not satisfied with stage 2, FRSB option (contact details, timeframes, jurisdiction)
Example 4• Please contact Complaints Coordinator• ALL complaints will go to CC• Acknowledge 14 days• Full investigation 30 days• If not satisfied, senior member of staff will investigate and respond within (X) days.• FRSB option (contact details, timeframes, jurisdiction)