Client loyalty is influenced very strongly by how firms deal with a complaint, as this helps to re-establish trust and respect.
We’ve deliberately used the term “explore”, because we’ve seen many firms immediately attempting to prove who was right or wrong, rather than finding out what the complainer expects their complaint to achieve.
Every complainer essentially feels that you didn’t live up to their expectations in some way. Switching the focus and trying to understand exactly why they’re unhappy might help you to find a quicker and more pragmatic solution. Did you perhaps not manage expectations or communicate as clearly as you could have? If the complainer is simply asking for an apology or a small reduction of fees, it’s worth weighing that option up against the time and stress involved in crafting a detailed explanation.
Be aware that complainers can find it emotive and difficult to express concerns
Keep notes of all calls or meetings with the complainer as you might want to refer to these in your response and your complaints log.
If you are in any doubt whether the actions that the firm took were in fact good practice, you might like to get input from the Law Society’s Professional Practice Team before replying.
Whatever your decision, even if you manage to resolve the complaint without needing to write a lengthy explanation, you should still note in your complaints log what you learned from the process as well as the result.