How to Become a Mediator in Practice

Feb 19, 2019
At the OCCS we offer advice that assists practices in responding and mediating complaints they may receive. 

Central to our commitment is to assist both consumer and practitioner and it is our firm belief that mediation is the first step to resolve a dispute in a manner that leaves both parties satisfied with the outcome that they receive.

In today’s blog entry we will offer practical advice to practitioners on how to use mediation skills within complaint management. 

Mediation is a process within organisations that can be used to resolve a conflict be it internally or externally. Conflict can occur within any relationship within a business and, often, is best resolved within the organisation itself. Left unchecked, conflict can escalate and lead to feelings of resentment that hinder the development of the individuals involved and the overall wellbeing of the practice. 

Likewise, conflict that may occur between a practice and a consumer can be linked to dissatisfaction with the level of service, the fitting of a product or a prescription. Regardless of whether the complaint is internal or external, mediation always looks to solve the issues involved through an impartial and fair manner. 

Mediation assists those involved to reach a mutual agreement in an informal way that avoids disciplinary procedures, employment tribunals and in the case of the consumer and the practice, legal action. 

As a practitioner, what advice can the OCCS offer to assist you within your own mediation process? 

Firstly, we will discuss and assess with you that the issue is suitable for mediation. By having all parties involved agree that the issue is suitable for mediation it is possible to start to find a way forward and to resolve the situation, 

We always suggest that it is better to start the process sooner rather than later. The earlier that a complaint or issue can be addressed the better it is for all as it is often more effective with issues that have not had the chance to escalate. 

The appointment of key member of your team to act as a ‘mediator’ is vital within the process. 

Choosing a trusted and independent figure within the business allows both parties to feel confident about agreeing to mediation. Key qualities for a mediator can be the ability to listen and understand the complaints of the individuals. The ability to ‘see the bigger’ picture and be impartial is vital as it allows the mediator to understand all the issues involved before offering an amicable solution. 

Finally, when dealing with both internal and external issues it is important to ensure that the conditions and settings are right. 

When understanding the complaint, make sure that the privacy of those involved is taken into consideration through using a dedicated, closed room or space where the individual can feel confident in airing their grievances. 

The OCCS offers comprehensive CET workshops across the UK that help assist practices on how to resolve conflict, leading to a satisfying outcome for all involved. 

For more information on our workshops contact our team by calling 0344 800 5071 or email enquiries@opticalcomplaints.co.uk.
Since 1 April 2014, the OCCS has assisted over 4,500 consumers and practices to resolve their consumer complaints. Jennie Jones, head of the OCCS, explains: ‘We are delighted that the OCCS  is seen as an effective and useful service, providing independent and impartial mediation and advice. The team does an amazing job ensuring that both the consumer and the practice feel heard, understood, and importantly, helped to find a very practical resolution to the complaint. Mediation is not about judgment or deciding who is right. It is about understanding each other’s perspective to be able to find an answer both can accept. We will soon be reporting on our 4th year in action, and look forward to sharing even more insight and useful information for all involved in optics.'