Housing Series: Confident complaint handling skills – 7 key questions to ask

Housing Series: Confident complaint handling skills – 7 key questions to ask

 

Housing Series: Confident complaint handling skills – 7 key questions to ask

1st March 2024

Housing Sector

How equipped your team members feel they are to handle any complaint and feedback that they receive will have a direct impact on how satisfied your tenants are with your organisation’s complaint handling. As the Housing Ombudsman’s updated Complaint Handling Code becomes statutory and UK social housing organisations prepare to publish their first set of Tenant Satisfaction Measures (TSMs), it’s important to review how confident people are about handling feedback and complaints.

We know from working with multiple social housing customers that people working in the sector are facing high demands. Our experience is that they are motivated to make a significant contribution while facing an ever-challenging environment shaped by pressures on residents, the economy, market forces, delays, resource challenges and backlogs. Many report to us that they consider themselves to be coping or surviving, doing the best they can, rather than managing well or thriving at work as they should be.

Handling feedback and complaints can be a significant contributor to team members feeling under pressure. To help them excel in complaint handling, there are some specific questions you can consider to ensure everyone is well equipped to manage anything that comes their way at work.

The questions to ask

Consider a situation where a customer has a significant complaint that they need to raise with your company which will require a robust and focused response.


1 – As that complaint is received either by the contact centre, on social media or in a face-to-face situation, what do you believe would be the immediate reaction or response from your people, what do you think you would see or hear?

2 – Are they in a good place and strongly positioned to respond confidently and positively, or do you see stress or overwhelm as they encounter the feedback or complaint?  

    3 – Do you witness hesitance and uncertainty in how to handle that complaint; what words do they use… are they asking the right questions… do you see or hear them express an ability to take ownership and responsibility, and are they able to respond with confidence?

    4 – What do you hear them saying about customers who are giving feedback or complaining? Is it respectful and empathetic towards the customer and the situation, or do they view complaints as a nuisance, unjustified or even a threat?

    5 – Do people in your organisation have confidence and know when to escalate issues or ask for help if they are unsure of the best way forward?

    6 – When you review more complex or escalated complaints do you see points along the timeline where intervention could have been taken to address the issue if those dealing with the situation had more empowerment, confidence or skill?

    7 – Do you see your people coming forward with ideas and solutions on how to fix challenges and problems, or do they seem powerless to do anything meaningful, or try to avoid the situation?


    Your people need to be confident in their ability to respond straightaway with the right words and actions to demonstrate to the customer that their feedback is being taken seriously.


    Understanding the current mindset of your people and their thoughts and feelings towards handling complaints as well as their skill level to do so, is important to identify the development and tools they need to excel in their service.

    As we consider the self-talk of individual service-givers in the moment of receiving a complaint, it’s vital that each one can feel supported and certain that the organisation will do what is necessary to fix the situation. They need to be confident in their ability to respond straightaway with the right words and swift action to demonstrate to the customer that their feedback is being taken seriously.

    One tool from MGI’s Customer Service Toolkit will immediately empower your people with greater confidence and capability to respond to any complaint, criticism or feedback. We call it Glad > Sure > Sorry. It is a simple and powerful tool that when used authentically truly empowers and increases a service provider’s ability to respond in any feedback situation.

    Click here to download a copy of our 1-page summary of this go-to tool for complaints and emails.

    Being equipped with the right skills and resources will result in a workforce that is empowered with confidence and capability, safe in the knowledge that they have what it takes to deliver a positive, solution-focused response every time.

    Find out how our Customer Service Toolkit can equip your people with the tools they need to excel at handling feedback and complaints.

    Explore more about our results