Tips for good complaint-handling
Handling complaints well means taking the time to listen to people’s concerns and understanding the resolutions they are seeking. Communication issues are central to most complaints received, and many complainants are seeking no more than an explanation or apology. Sometimes, people complain in order to prevent the same thing happening to others. In these cases, it’s important to acknowledge the complaint promptly and let the complainant know what you are doing to avoid it happening again in the future.
There are some important points to consider:
- Your complaint process should be easy and straightforward.
- Complaints should be acknowledged promptly, referred to the most appropriate person to handle them, and the complainant should be told how their complaint will be handled. (This is critical!)
- Communication should be clear, avoiding jargon and making sure the complainant understands what is being said.
- Treat your complainants fairly, and with objectivity and respect.
- Make sure your response to the complaint is clear and informative, and that it addresses the specific issues they have raised.
- If the complainant is not satisfied with the response, you should provide information about any available internal or external review options, and contact ANPA or your insurer for advice.
- If the complaint highlights any systemic issues, these should be considered and acted on. Be sure to inform the complainant what steps you have taken to remedy the issues.
Complaints don’t have to be terrifying, nor do they need to escalate if they are handled promptly and with professionalism. ANPA has been involved in many complaints handling processes on behalf of our members, and we have a Complaints Resolution team who is skilled in helping you navigate through these situations.
In Part 2 of this article, we will look at the government health complaints authorities for each state, and their role in the complaints resolution process.