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All businesses receive customer complaints occasionally. Having a positive and fair complaints handling policy will help keep your customers happy even during these less than ideal circumstances.
Read on below to find out how to put a complaints policy together and where to find free templates to help you through the process.
What's in this guide?
- What is a complaints handling policy?
- When should I use a complaints handling policy?
- What does a complaints policy include?
- How effective is a complaints policy?
- Do I need a lawyer to write or review my policy?
- Get access to customisable complaints policy templates online
- How do I write a complaints handling policy?
- Where to get free legal documents and templates like a complaints policy
What is a complaints handling policy?
A complaints policy is a document that reassures customers that you are committed to fairly handling their complaints. The policy should explain how to make a formal complaint, all the steps involved in the process, your handling process and how you are committed to improving your service.
Download this template at Lawpath
When should I use a complaints handling policy?
All businesses should have a complaints policy that ensures all complaints are handled fairly and promptly. All reputable companies should publish a summary of their in-house complaints handling process. When a customer requests this information in writing or wants their complaint acknowledged, a company should always have it on hand to provide them.
What does a complaints policy include?
A complaints handling policy should be created in clear language to ensure complaints are dealt with in the same way each time. Your procedure could include the following sections:
- Details on how and where to complain.
- What constitutes a complaint.
- How complaints are recorded.
- Your commitment to resolving a complaint.
- A timescale that lets customers know the time the investigation takes and the time it will take for you to respond to their complaint.
- The stages of complaints handling.
- The categories of complaints and how you will respond to them.
- Who is notified when a complaint is received.
- The processes and procedures required to implement the policy and train staff.
How effective is a complaints policy?
A complaints policy is an effective way for your business and staff to seriously address customer complaints in a consistent way. Having a well-defined process when dealing with complaints will help your customers and staff determine the appropriate actions. Having a complaints policy will ensure all complaints are handled, managed and resolved correctly. Your customers will feel more open to expressing their opinions, allowing you to get more effective feedback to improve your service.
Do I need a lawyer to write or review my policy?
It's highly recommended that you ask a lawyer to look over your complaints policy. You can draft it yourself from scratch or use a complaints policy template before seeking help from a legal professional to make sure that you've included everything to keep you and your customers safe.
Get access to customisable complaints policy templates online
Does your company belong in this list?
How do I write a complaints handling policy?
Feel confident in dealing with customer complaints by using the following tips when developing and writing your complaints policy:
Give your customers confidence
Make sure your customers are given a venue where they can express their opinions and give feedback without feeling embarrassed. Always acknowledge the customer for bringing the matter to your attention. Accept ownership, and never make customers feel bad for making a complaint.
It should be easy for customers to find out how and where to complain. Make details available and clear on your website. Your staff should also know how to advise clients when a complaint has been made. If you have a governing body or association, you should provide their details for full transparency.
Create a clearly defined timescale for the investigation and response. Generally, complaints should be resolved within 30 days. This is as much for your staff as your customers.
State the outcomes a customer can expect. This could be an apology, compensation or changes to a policy. Never make promises in your complaints policy that you can't uphold.
Stay up to date
Change is ever constant, so it's important that your complaint policy stays up to date with current laws. To avoid legal liabilities, keep up to date with local, state or national laws.
Where to get free legal documents and templates like a complaints policy
A complaints policy is a document that can be tricky to get right, especially if you haven't written a policy like it before. This is where using a legal document and template can come in handy. Here's where to find some online.
- Lawpath. Lawpath is an online resource that allows small businesses to gain access to legal documents. Look through a range of samples for free or sign up to access customisation options.
- Law Depot. Law Depot offers a wide range of free online documents to download and customise, including a complaints policy template.
- Wonder Legal. You can browse and download over 140 legal document templates on Wonder Legal's website, including one for a complaints policy.
- Sample Template. Sample Templates have a wide range of free downloadable templates, including legal and professional samples.
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