Complaint Management and Dispute Resolution Policy- Red Energy

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1 Complaint Management and Dispute Resolution Policy- Red Energy 1. Overview Red Energy is committed to providing a clear, effective and open Complaint Management Process for its customers and staff. Ideally, most customer concerns will be resolved at first contact. However, should it become necessary to escalate a complaint, there is a clear process to support the management and escalation of complaints. This document outlines the Complaint Management and Dispute Resolution Policy for Red Energy with an overview of the process and procedures established to manage internal complaints. External complaints, that are complaints received from external parties such as Ombudsman, are managed in accordance with the rules of the Ombudsman schemes. Red Energy s management supports this Complaint Management and Dispute Resolution Policy, and receives regular reporting from within the business as to complaints raised, outcomes and process changes arising from such complaints. 2.1 What is a complaint? 2. Complaints Complaint means an expression of dissatisfaction made to an organisation, related to its product/services, or the complaints handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected. Complaints can be made in person, by telephone or in writing (for example letter, , and facsimile). For the avoidance of doubt, complaints include the following type of contacts: Where a customer expresses dissatisfaction and seeks a response or resolution regarding the conduct, action, proposed action, or failure to act by the retailer, its employees, agents, contractors or other representatives. This includes failure by the retailer to observe its published or agreed practices or procedures or ins respect of a product or service offered or provided by the retailer or its representatives; Where a customer threatens to involve, or enquired about the possibility of involving, a third party, for example, the jurisdictional energy ombudsman or Member of Parliament; Where a complaint is directed to the retailer on behalf of the customer by an energy ombudsman scheme. 1

2 Enquiries: An enquiry is not a complaint but is a request by the customer for some general information. Enquiries can be handled and resolved through normal processes. An enquiry can become a complaint if the customer is not happy with the resolution offered or the response given. Faults: A fault report should be handled as per the normal process, it should only be considered as a complaint if the customer complains about the way the fault has been handled. 3. Complaint Management Process - Purpose The Complaint Management Process is designed to assist staff and customers in resolving complaints fairly and efficiently. The process aims at enhancing customer satisfaction by creating a customer focused environment that is open to feedback, resolving any complaints received and providing favourable grounds to the organisation s ability to improve its products and customer service. It supports the values of the company and is consistent throughout all levels of management. The company commits to ensuring that: All Red Energy staff should acknowledge and appreciate the rights of all customers to provide feedback about our company. Red Energy contact staff should be effectively trained and equipped with complaint handling skills and procedures. Our contact staff should attempt to resolve a complaint on the first contact to the customer s satisfaction. Our contact staff should be courteous and helpful if a customer wishes to escalate a complaint. Our Complaint Management Process should be freely available to all customers and all relevant assistance should be provided to a customer if they wish to escalate a complaint to the next level or to an external body. A written version of the Complaint Management Process should be available to customers on request. Our customers should be kept informed of the status of their complaint during the course of the investigation. Red Energy staff should keep promises made to customers regarding updates or call backs in resolving complaints. Our staff should know how and when it is appropriate to escalate a complaint and take full responsibility for managing the complaint to a fair and reasonable resolution. Our staff at all levels should take ownership and accountability for commitments made to customers. All Red Energy staff should abide by the Complaint Management Process and the regulatory requirements of the industry. Access to complaint resolution must be free of charge to a customer. This does not mean that customers are not be charged for supply of energy or related services. If circumstances require, customer confidentiality in making a complaint may be observed, if requested. Such requests will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Complaints are used as a basis for continuous improvement within the business. 2

3 4. Principles 4.1 Our commitment to our customers Customers have the right to provide feedback to the company regarding our service and products. Our staff should ensure that all complaints are acknowledged courteously and customers are provided with the correct information when they are lodging a complaint. All staff must respond to customer concerns quickly, efficiently and courteously. 4.2 Key Principles The key principles for effective complaint resolution are governed by timeliness, ownership, appropriate resolutions and business improvement. Acknowledge Resolve Escalate Record Communicate Report Feedback Action Red Energy staff should respect the customers right to voice their concerns. All complaints received should be acknowledged to the customer either by telephone or in writing. Red Energy staff should aim at first contact resolution for all customer concerns. Our staff should investigate customer concerns in detail before negotiating a resolution. All Red Energy staff should use their relevant discretions to achieve a mutually acceptable resolution to complaints. All staff should aim to escalate the complaint if the customer remains dissatisfied with the investigation and/or resolution offered by their first point of contact at Red Energy. All complaints where customers request to speak to a higher level representative, should be also be escalated. Our staff should aim at recording all relevant information, on the customer s account in Gentrack, in regards to customer concerns along with details of all discussions had with the customer in the process of investigating and/resolving the complaint. Detailed information on the resolutions offered to address customer concerns should also be clearly recorded. Red Energy staff should remain in constant touch with the customer while their concerns are being investigated. Customers should be informed of all steps of the investigation and the resulting outcome at appropriate times. Red Energy should report on all complaints received by their different business areas. The reporting should include information on the number as well as type of complaints being received, the status of these complaints from time to time and the resulting outcomes or resolutions offered to close them. Red Energy should aim at regular and intensive reviews to identify possible trends in the complaints being received. These reviews should be aimed at highlighting improvements required to avoid complaints being repeated. Red Energy should aim at effective implementation of improvements suggested directly by customers or highlighted by complaint trends. 3

4 4.3 Positive Customer Experience It is our aim to make every customer contact a positive experience. Even a complaint can result in a positive customer experience if it is resolved to the customer s satisfaction. Listening to a customer and providing a solution can increase customer satisfaction and provide reassurance and confidence in the company. If a complaint needs to be escalated, customers must be kept informed of the process and the timeframes for resolution. Also, if a complaint gets resolved after being escalated internally, we should aim at delivering high standards if customer service while resolving the customer concerns to ensure that the organisation s relationship with the customer does not get damaged. 5. Customer Rights Our aim is to resolve all customer enquiries and complaints at first contact. If a Customer Solutions Consultant manages and resolves an issue raised by the customer on the first contact, it should still be recorded as a complaint. Also, details regarding the explanation provided and the agreed resolution should be recorded. 5.1 Our obligations to customers Educate customers on our Complaints Management Process by ensuring easy and convenient access to the process as well as clear communication on how to utilise the process. Assist customers in lodging a complaint upon receipt of details of their concerns regarding our products and/or service. Inform customers that they have the right to escalate a complaint to a higher level within the company if they are not happy with the resolution provided at the first point of contact. Assist customers to escalate their concerns when it is necessary to escalate to a Team Manager or other business area. Inform customers that they have the right to refer their complaint to the Energy Ombudsman of their respective state if they are not satisfied with the resolution provided after escalation within the organisation. Maintain transparency in informing customers regarding the status of their complaint. Take ownership of investigating and following up on customer issues and keep promises. Establish and maintain a Complaints Handling System in accordance with the Australian Standard. Ensure that complaints are addressed in accordance with the set procedures. Ensure staff at all levels are trained and committed to providing fair and efficient resolutions to all customer concerns. Ensure that appropriate support and infrastructure are available for staff to record and acknowledge customer feedback whether positive or negative. 4

5 Provide a clear, accessible and fair process for customers to voice their concerns. Maintain the highest standard in monitoring and resolving customer complaints. Utilise this valuable information to improve services to our customers and increase customer satisfaction. Ensure that there is no charge to a customer to make a complaint. Customer confidentiality must be respected at all times wherever reasonably possible. Employees must be aware of Red Energy s internal Privacy Policy 6. Complaint Management Process- Internal Red Energy has a process in place for addressing internal complaints in a quick and effective manner. For all inbound customer complaints that require further investigation, the customer should be advised that they will be contacted within two days with a resolution or an update in regards to their concerns. The aforementioned time frame can be altered depending on the type of investigation required. E.g. where a response is awaited from the network and the B2B time frames need to be adhered to. If the customer s issue is not resolved at the second contact (after two days) and needs further investigation, customers should be kept informed about the time frame when Red Energy would next contact them in regards to the matter. Customers should be advised when they lodge a complaint the approximate time frame for a response. If the case is complex, customers should be given a time for the call back which should be no more than 30 days and a contact name and number should be provided as a reference for the customer. All written complaints should be acknowledged within 5 days of receipt of the complaint from the customer and all complaints received via should be acknowledged within 48 hours of receipt. All complaints should be investigated and dealt with impartially. All correspondence, agreements, payments, resolutions and other relevant information must be kept on the customer's complaint file and recorded in Gentrack on the customer s account. If a customer is not satisfied with the resolution provided by the first point of contact, the complaint can be escalated to a senior consultant (CSSC/CISS) or a Team Manager and alternative offers of resolution can be discussed. In the event where a customer is not satisfied upon discussing their concerns with Team Manager or requests the complaint to be escalated internally, the complaint should be referred to the Manager for the relevant business area. Reasons for Escalated Complaints: Complaints can be escalated if: The customer explicitly requests to speak to a supervisor or manager. The resolution offered by the contact staff during initial stages of the complaint is not accepted by the customer. The nature of the complaint is complex and requires extensive investigation. The complaint is about the attitude or behaviour of a staff member. The complaint has not been resolved within the agreed time frame. 5

6 The customer is threatening to take the complaint to an external party. The customer has had more than 2 complaints already lodged. The compensation requested by the customer is not within the contact staff s discretion. If the customer would like an apology or response via a letter, the matter needs to be escalated to a higher level. This is necessary because the authority to sign correspondence on behalf of Red Energy does not rest with contact staff except for cases where a customer has only requested information in regards to their account. If a customer requests for personal information and/or records in the process of an investigation. 7. Time Frames and Response type for Complaints Event Response type Internal Complaints Incoming Call (transfer) Call Transfer Promise to call back Written correspondence As requeste d by custome r Response Time Frame Immediate Within 48 business hours Letter Acknowledgement within 5 business days of receipt Acknowledgement within 24 hours of receipt Level Responsible Team Leader/Customer Solutions Consultant/Customer Solutions Support Consultant/Revenue Specialist/Inbound Sales Consultant/Customer Initialisation Specialist/Customer Initialisation Support Specialist Team Leader/Customer Solutions Consultant Team Leader/Customer Solutions Consultant Time frame to achieve Target Resolution 7 30 days if accepted by the customer or depending on the nature of investigation but time frame should be the customer and Red Energy days if the customer or depending on the nature of investigation but time frame should be the customer and Red Energy days if the customer or depending on the nature of investigation but time frame 6

7 should be the customer and Red Energy 8. How to make a Complaint Our team is available for you: Monday to Friday: 8:00am to 8.30pm and Saturday: 9:00am to 5.30pm (AEST/AEDT) Telephone Fax Website redenergy.com.au Or, you can write to us at: Red Energy Pty. Limited PO Box 4136, East Richmond, VIC 3121 or 2 William Street, East Richmond, VIC Ombudsman Contact Information Energy and Water Ombudsman of South Australia Freecall (except mobiles) Free fax Mail GPO Box 2947, Adelaide, SA 5001 Civil and Administrative Tribunal of the Australian Capital Territory Enquiries (02) Fax (02) Mail GPO Box 370, Canberra, ACT 2601 Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria Freecall Free fax Mail GPO Box 469D Melbourne Vic 3001 Energy and Water Ombudsman of New South Wales Freecall Free fax Mail Reply Paid Sydney South NSW 1234 Telephone Interpreter Service: Servicios de interpretacion 7

8 If you have a hearing or speech impairment, please call via the National Relay Service: Dial from your TTY phone and ask to be connected to If you need a foreign language interpreter please call the Translating and Interpreting Service: Dial and ask to be connected to General Matters 10.1 Annual Review This Complaint Management and Dispute Resolution Policy is reviewed annually Training Red Energy conducts training at an Induction level and then by way of Refresher sessions at regular intervals, regarding complaint management, complaint handling and complaint resolution. This Complaint Management and Dispute Resolution Policy is referred to and explained in that training. Training modules are also subject to annual review Availability This Complaint Management and Dispute Resolution Policy is available to all staff on the Red Energy intranet, and also to external enquiries by the Red Energy website (www.redenergy.com.au) 10.4 Complaints reporting Red Energy has a comprehensive and extensive internal process for regular reporting of complaints, analysis of complaints data and implementation of recommendations arising from such reporting and analysis. This reporting obligation ensures that there is reporting to senior management, the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors on a regular basis. Complaints reporting and systems around the reporting is the subject of on-going review by internal and external method 11. Related Documentation 8

9 Compliance: Australian Standard- Customer Satisfaction-Guidelines for complaints handling in organisations AS ISO Australian Standard- Guide to the prevention, handling and resolution of disputes AS Ombudsman Member Manual National Energy Law National Energy Regulations Energy Retail Code/ Regulations Code of Conduct for Marketing Retail Energy Policies & Procedures: Privacy Policy Hardship Policy Customer Charter Version Control Status Final Document Version 1.3 Last Updated March 2013 Owner Quality and Compliance 9

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