Dealing with customer complaints and compliments procedure

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1 Dealing with customer complaints and compliments procedure Classification: Policy Name: First Issued / Approved: 05/08/08 Last Reviewed: Management Policies & Procedures Dealing with customer complaints and compliments procedure n/a Next Review: 2012 ECM tracking number: Responsible Officer: Relevant Legislation: Related Policies: Manager Community Relations Customer Service Complaint Form Customer Service Compliment Form 1. Introduction 1.1 It is important to provide a feedback and recording mechanism for staff when residents acknowledge a task or activity they have done well. 1.2 It is important for a staff member receiving a complaint to define whether it is a complaint or a request for service. Burnside defines a complaint when a customer or staff member: expresses dissatisfaction with a product or service offered or provided; considers the Council has failed to action a request for service within an accepted timeframe; or considers the conduct of a Council staff member has been unsatisfactory. 2. Legislative Requirements and Corporate Policy Context Nil. 3. Interpretation Nil. 4. Policy Nil. 5. Procedure 5.1 Customer compliments If a resident wishes to provide positive feedback, they can do so via the intranet, the telephone, face to face contact with the staff members or written correspondence. The feedback should be recorded on a customer

2 service compliment form. The resident could do this personally by filling in this form which is available at the Cdesk or on the Council website If it is done via personal contact or over the telephone, this action can be undertaken by a Customer Service Officer or staff member, either by using a manual form or entered straight into the Customer Service Request software. All manual forms should be later transferred into the electronic system to provide a consistent record of all recorded activities Once the feedback is received, their manager/ supervisor should be notified and provided with a copy of the feedback form. A copy should also be made and placed in the Personnel file with the Organisation Development Department The Manager will then notify the staff member and if deemed appropriate, provide appropriate recognition (ie mention at team meeting, certificate/ movie tickets etc). 5.2 Defining a complaint A frivolous complaint is one that is extremely minor in nature and is lacking in substance and merit. A vexatious complaint is one that has been brought, regardless of merit, solely to embarrass, annoy, harass or subdue an adversary and the person wishes Council to take action on it. It is unlikely these complaints will need to be escalated beyond the first staff member contact, but will still need to be entered into the Customer request system in case the matter was to occur again or escalate further to an external review. All such complaints, no matter how minor, should be brought to the attention of the appropriate manager to make a decision of an appropriate response, if at all An anonymous complaint will be acted upon if the matter is relatively serious and there is sufficient information in the complaint to enable an investigation to be conducted. If appropriate it may be investigated under other legislation and procedures. Given that no contact details are provided by the person submitting the complaint, no response is required to be provided but should still be entered into the customer complaint system with the words anonymous entered into the contact detail section. 5.3 What is not a complaint? A request for service These are dealt with through our work request system or by directly contacting the appropriate staff member or department. For example, telling a staff member at the Pool there is no hot water is a request for service to fix the problem. A request for service only becomes a complaint if it is not dealt with appropriately A formal request for information Where the information is not freely available these are dealt with through the Freedom of Information (FOI) process A review of a Council decision This is when a customer seeks a review of a decision made by Council, an employee of the Council or a person acting on behalf of Council. These are dealt with through Council s Internal review of Council decisions policy under section 270 of the Local Government Act 1999.

3 5.4 Ways to receive complaints We can receive a complaint via the telephone, by face to face contact, by letter or through our website feedback system. All complaints will be recorded and dealt with in the same way. 5.5 Managing complaints In the first instance, Customer Service Officers or department staff members are responsible for handling initial enquiries about this procedure and initial handling of any complaints. Staff members are to inform any Customers expressing dissatisfaction with a decision or action of this Council or staff of their right to seek a review. To enable effective documentation of the issue, their desired solution and the details of the customer, the customer must do so in writing using a form available from the Customer Service desk or via the website. Alternatively, they can write a letter to Council providing this information If the customer requests to meet with a supervisor or manager immediately to discuss their issue, they should be contacted to see if they are available as soon as possible Upon receipt of a written request, the review form will be entered into the Customer Request System (CRS) template and passed as quickly as possible to the appropriate Manager of the area to conduct a review. If deemed of an extremely serious nature or at the discretion of the Manager, it will be escalated in the first instance to the General Manager of the area. If the General Manager deems necessary, it will be escalated to the Chief Executive Officer Reviews will be conducted as soon as practicable and the customer notified within ten working days. Where this is not possible for any reason, the customer is to be advised by telephone with written confirmation as soon as possible. Where implementation of the recommendations arising from the review falls outside the scope of existing delegations the matter shall be referred to the Council for a decision at the first available opportunity If the customer complaint is via telephone, customer service staff should enter the details directly into the CRS. If a feedback form is used, the initial information should be copied by the Service Officer dealing with the complaint into the CRS. If the issue has been resolved by the first contact staff, the outcomes should be recorded. If a resolution has not been reached, a copy of the feedback form should be provided to the appropriate Manager for action. Once a resolution has been achieved, this should also be documented Written complaints that are of a personal, sensitive or confidential nature are not to be recorded in the customer request system in their original form. On these occasions, once received they should be handed directly to the appropriate Manager for action After the complaint has been investigated and resolved, if it is deemed valid and serious, it should be entered into the customer request system by the Manager with just the resident contact details and the heading confidential matter and the department area listed. The original complaint will be kept in the staff member s personnel file for the remainder of their employment at Council or until a time deemed appropriate by the OD department.

4 5.6 Authority Any person (panel) conducting a review shall have access to all Council records excluding any records deemed confidential by the Council pursuant to the Local Government Act or personal file or other records where privacy must be maintained Any person (panel) conducting a review shall have access to all Council staff with the authority to conduct interviews, take statements, etc, as considered appropriate Any person (panel) conducting a review shall be entitled to talk to any member of the public and the customer to obtain relevant information The protocol does not normally apply where a more formal appeal mechanism exists (eg DA Appeal process) or where the complaint relates to a formal resolution of the Council. However, where errors of fact or some breakdown in administrative procedure has occurred, a review may be warranted.

5 Complaint resolution process Customer feedback received Officer to confirm whether it is a complaint or a request for service Complaint Is it a complaint that can be resolved at the first point of contact by staff member? Request for Service Action request for service Document details and escalate to Manager Document complaint and resolution Document resolution Resolved within approved timeframe tify resident of delay in resolution Able to complete investigation Complaint escalates to General Manager assessed, and decision made. Complaint received by the CEO for review. Resolved? Complainant may seek a formal review under Section 270 of the Local Govt Act Resolved? Document resolution Document resolution te: Complaints can be directed to the ombudsman at any time within the process by the resident or person making the complaint.

6 Customer Service Complaint Form Council has developed a policy and procedure for Reviewing Council customer service. The procedure will be applied where an action by Council and/or Council s employee is deemed by you to be the cause of a complaint. Whilst all attempts are made to deal with complaints quickly and efficiently without relying on a formal process, this may not always be possible. This procedure provides the basis and opportunity for an action to be formally assessed. This Service Review will not normally apply where a more formal appeal mechanism or statutory process is in place (eg Planning Appeal), or where your complaint relates to a formal resolution made at a Council or Committee meeting. Upon receiving your request, we will review our action. We guarantee that the review will be objective, undertaken within 10 working days and we will notify you of the outcome and our reasons for the decision. What you need to do Complete this form or send us a letter outlining your complaint and a possible resolution, providing as much detail as possible. Lodge your request at the Customer Service desk or post it to the Chief Executive Officer (PO Box 9, Glenside 5065). If you want assistance, please talk to any member of our Customer Service Team. Your personal details Name Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Address Phone Work: Home: Mobile: Signature and Date Do you wish to speak to someone about this matter? By phone In person

7 Your concern is? Tell us what has happened, and the nature of your complaint. (Please attach another sheet if required) Date of occurrence or decision Name of council employee/ department (if relevant) Where did the incident occur? (street, reserve, address - if not your own) What can we do? Can the matter be resolved to your satisfaction? If so - tell us how Review Outcome (Council staff only) Date completed Assessed by and title Resident notified In person By telephone Written response (copy attached)

8 City of Burnside - Management Policies & Procedures Page 8 Customer Service Compliment Form If we have done a job well, we want to hear about it. Your compliments let us know what we are doing well and allow us to acknowledge the staff involved. If you want assistance, please talk to any member of our Customer Service Team. Your personal details (optional) Name Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms Address Phone Work: Home: Mobile: Signature and Date Your service experience Tell us what has happened, and the nature of your compliment. Date of occurrence or decision Name of council employee/ department (if relevant) Where did the incident occur? (street, reserve, address - if not your own) Review Outcome (Council staff only) Received by and title Date received

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