Buy with Confidence – Model Complaint Handling Procedure

Guide for Small Businesses

One of the key parts of BWC is that all members adopt a Complaint Handling Procedure. It is essential that this procedure is effectively communicated to all customers and this procedure does  not restrict anyone’s Consumer Rights

The steps below identify key areas with possible suggestions

·       Ensure you have a nominated person   to deal with complaints

·       Ensure you provide a low cost phone number and e mail address for all complaints

·       Ensure this process is should be clearly communicated to all consumers – i.e.  Prominently displayed on your website, included with your Terms and Conditions and verbally communicated to customers including potential customers

·       Be open to complaints. Remember this is feedback about your business. Your website or Terms and Conditions could include the following “Your Satisfaction is important to us, please tell us if you are not satisfied- we’d like to put it right”

·       Collect and record complaints. These records will be subject to a review on a BWC Audit

·       Acknowledge your receipt of the complaint (a phone call e mail or text or messaging is sufficient). Failure to acknowledge complaints will be considered to be poor working practice

·       Assess the complaint for validity

·       Resolve as soon as practically possible. All members should have following  Service Standards e.g. We will provide a response within 5 working days and Full Response within 28 working days. The key message is keep customers informed of the progress of their complaint

·       Give information to the customer about what you intend to do about the complaint and evaluate the customer’s response. Remember regular communication is vital.

·       When all possible actions have been undertaken in your view to resolve complaint, tell the customer and record outcome. If the complaint is still not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction, explain your decision and offer possible alternatives (an Alternative Dispute Resolution)

·       Review complaints regularly – a periodical review may identify if there are any trends or obvious things you need to put right to stop complaints or improve customer care.

If you are a member of any Trade Association or have signed up to any Code of Practice please check to see if they have their own complaint Handling Procedure and make sure you are complying with those standards

We would recommend that members also consider reviewing your Terms and Conditions to ensure that your Complaint Handling Procedure is included and also referred to if you use Frequently Asked Questions on your website

NB For larger businesses please refer to BS ISO 10002:2014 for further information