Introduction to this guidance
This guidance helps you understand what’s expected of you when handling complaints. Complaints are a normal business risk - but they can be less daunting if they’re well handled. The SLCC has the power to issue statutory (s.40) guidance to the profession. This draws on our learning, both from complaints that we’ve seen and what helped to resolve them. Your compliance with the principles in this Guidance will be taken into account when we consider a complaint, and in setting any complaints levy.
The better you can recognise and address any concerns, the better you’re managing your risk. Fewer complaints mean less unbillable needed to answer them, and less stress to you and your clients. Good handling of any concerns encourages clients to return to the firm and recommend you to others
This guidance will help you to:
- Recognise complaints at an earlier stage
- Develop - and implement - an effective complaints policy
- Support your staff in dealing with complaints
- Use complaints as a tool for learning and future improvement
A sound policy and approach within your firm will help you deal with complaints more quickly and effectively, and hopefully reach resolution without those complaints being referred to the SLCC.
The purpose of having a dedicated Client Relations Manager and complaints handling process is to try to reach a solution acceptable to both parties. A CRM’s first thought should not be “Who is right or wrong” but “What is needed to resolve this complaint?”
We are of course aware that it’s not always possible to resolve complaints within the firm and we know that sometimes a complainer will still want to approach the SLCC.
Even if your internal process has not been finalised, the complainer may still complain to the SLCC, provided that they have given you at least 28 days’ notice of the complaint. If complaints are made to us, we will work with you wherever possible to try to achieve resolution, right through our process.
Tip: Customer expectations
Complaints can give you valuable insight into the needs and expectations of your clients, so a positive and flexible approach can help you achieve swifter resolution and improve the service you provide.