Whether you’re a customer with a complaint or a business handling a complaint, we aim to give you excellent customer service.
What you can expect from us
We’ll always try to:
- investigate fairly and listen to both sides
- give you our answer as quickly as possible
- explain things clearly and let you know where you stand
- meet your communication and accessibility needs
Our communication standards
The time it takes to resolve a complaint depends on the complexity of the issue and the current demand for our service. You can find out more about our timescales on the ‘how long it takes’ page.
Once your case has been allocated to a case handler for investigation, you can expect:
- An introduction from the case handler within five working days of them being allocated the case.
- An update on your case at least once a month until the case is closed or progressed to decision, unless we agree differently with you or your representative.
- An acknowledgement to voicemails and emails within two working days.
- Should your case require an ombudsman's final decision, you can expect an update on your case from your case handler every two months.
The frequency of our communication with professional representatives, for example CMCs or solicitors, can be quite different, depending on the representative involved. As a result, these standards may not apply on cases where a professional representative is bringing the case on behalf of someone. Professional representatives are responsible for keeping their customers up to date on the progress of their case.
Conflicts of interest
A conflict of interest is when someone’s judgement or actions at work are, or could be, affected by something unconnected with their role.
It’s our job to be independent and impartial, so we take active steps to make sure that conflicts of interest don’t arise.
We expect all our staff to tell us as soon as they become aware of any circumstances that could give rise, or be seen to give rise, to a conflict of interest. If a member of staff is handling a complaint where there’s a potential conflict of interest, we’ll immediately pass on the complaint to someone else. We set out our approach in more detail in our conflicts of interest policy.
How we handle unreasonable behaviour
We recognise that issues surrounding complaints can be stressful and upsetting – but our staff always deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect. We won’t tolerate violent, abusive or threatening behaviour towards our staff. If this happens, we may decide to take further action. Find out more about what we consider as unreasonable behaviour and the actions we may take in our unreasonable behaviour policy.
How we maintain the quality of our service
We aim to maintain a high level of quality in how we handle complaints. Our case handlers work closely with our ombudsmen, who support them with specialist knowledge and experience of finding fair answers to complaints. And our ombudsmen work together in professional practice groups to make sure we’re consistent in our thinking and approach.
Our Quality Strategy and Framework (PDF 816KB) focuses on measuring our performance against key customer, quality and service expectations at each stage of a case journey (case set up, investigation and final decision). Each month, a sample of cases are checked against our organisational standards.
Our dedicated Quality Team analyses the results of these checks to give feedback to our casework teams and to identify areas of best practice and opportunities for improvement. These insights are then shared across all levels of the organisation through our governance structure.
Complaints about our service
We strive to deliver a good service to all our customers, but sometimes, we know things can go wrong. If this does happen, you are able to bring your concerns to us. We know how important it is to learn from when things haven’t gone well so that we can improve what we do for all our customers in the future. That’s why we have our own procedure for looking at complaints about the level of service we provide.
If you complain to us about the service we’ve given you, we’ll first try to resolve the problem ourselves. But if we can’t, we have an independent assessor who’ll review the complaint impartially and recommend what we need to do to put things right.
Our independent assessor submits an annual report about the complaints they receive to our executive and board.
Find out how to complain about our customer service.