The advantages of complaint management outsourcing

Outsourcing public services: clearing a backlog of complaints

What is complaint management outsourcing?

Receiving a complaint never feels good so unsurprisingly there are many organisations who find it difficult to see them as useful feedback. This can lead to delays in responding to complaints, as well as an inability to use them as a tool to drive improvements. This is where complaint management outsourcing can help, by ensuring complaints are dealt with efficiently and objectively.

A backlog of unanswered complaints is a sure fire target for a diligent regulator.  And the question that follows the discovery of the backlog – ‘what did you learn from your last complaint?’ – usually guarantees that a CEO is going to squirm.

Good complaints handling is something that organisations from health, to finance to energy can find difficult.  And there is nothing more corrosive to an organisation’s reputation than a poorly managed, inadequately investigated or entirely unanswered complaint.  The vitriol on social media attests to that.

What are the advantages of complaint management outsourcing?

Outsourcing your complaint management can lead to long term quality and service improvements. By using an experienced consultancy with expert industry knowledge to help you make informed decisions you can enjoy benefits such as:

1) Independent perspective

The difficulty of emotional involvement with a complaint is removed when using an objective complaint management consultancy

2) Additional resources

Receive support if your organisation lacks properly trained staff able to effectively investigate or clear a backlog of unresolved complaints

3) Time saving and increased productivity

Complaint management outsourcing can free up time, allowing you to focus on other key areas within your organisation, leading to increased productivity

4) Improved complaint management systems 

Receive advice, training and practical recommendations on how to redesign your complaints handling systems, therefore supporting your organisation in the long term

5) Enhanced ability to use complaints as a learning tool to drive improvements

Receive support with implementing changes arising from complaints, and how to learn from them

The importance of complaint management

As we discussed in a separate article, learning from complaints is critical to the long term success of an organisation. Having sufficient reporting mechanisms which can verify the necessary changes have been implemented are equally important. This can be a difficult task if the number of complaints is high. Take the NHS for example, which received an average of 618 written complaints per day in 2021-22.

At Verita, we can help you clearly understand the lessons learned from a complaint and ensure they drive positive organisational change. Not only this we can provide complaints management training to develop the investigation skills your staff require for effective complaints handling in future.

Managing complaints properly is a key function for any organisation.  To do this you need an interested board and executive, clear internal & external processes and engaged staff.  And, of course, customers who bother to complain.  Dealing with a complaint at the time and place it arises should be everyone’s business and the first response to an unhappy customer.

Healthcare seems to do particularly badly on that front with frontline staff often inviting patients and relatives to make a formal complaint without even trying to sort out the matter themselves although it might be easy to solve.  And in some sectors, consumers are still reluctant to complain at all. As Lewis Shand Smith, the energy ombudsman recently wrote on his blog:

‘We have seen improvements but there is still a long way to go. Disappointingly, only 5% of consumers who could bring an energy complaint to the Energy Ombudsman actually do, according to Ofgem.’ 

Verita has extensive expertise and experience handling complaints in the public, regulated and voluntary sectors.  We provide an independent complaints review service for a number of public-facing bodies including the Lottery Forum, Arts Council England and the British Council.  And we have helped healthcare organisations manage backlogs of over 200 complaints, some of which were long-standing.

We have developed such a body of knowledge and understanding that we have incorporated it into a software-based diagnostic tool.  The tool allows us to make a rapid assessment of the quality and resilience of an organisation’s complaints system and report the outcome promptly to the board and management team.

For more information, read our case study on effective complaint handling.

If you would like to learn more about complaint management outsourcing then please book a free consultation or contact Ed Marsden on 020 7494 5670 or [email protected].


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