Underneath the Surface of a Complaint

Oct 03, 2019

In part two of our ongoing October blog series we examine the feedback provided by attendees at our CET training courses. 

The courses, which run throughout the year, focus on various aspects of mediation and complaint resolution. The feedback provided by the attendees provides a useful insight into how the CET courses move from conceptual ideas into real-world, applicable knowledge and tools. 

With this in mind, this week’s news entry focuses on how a complaint may be very different from how it appears on a surface level. Throughout the training sessions, the structure is built around the following:

  • Create context
  • Provide suggestions and strategies for implementation
  • Apply the above into a process

During our CET event, attendees were encouraged to foster debate and to meet revise insights into their own experiences that could be shared with their peers.

‘Excellent case studies to highlight even simple problems can escalate into complaints if poor communication between Optom/Practice and Patient.’

Do simple problems require simple solutions?

In the eyes of the OCCS this could very well be the case. More often than not, the complaints that we receive follow a pattern of escalation, exasperation and ongoing frustration. By the time a complaint reaches the OCCS, more often than not, both practice and client are both looking to resolve the situation. 

The role of the mediation service offered by the OCCS is multifaceted, with one of the key areas being to establish a groundwork for trust and the inevitable communication that can follow on. However, the above quote illustrates a very simple and very effective point - simple problems do often lead to complaints if there is poor communication. By providing clear lines of communication between practice and patient, understanding that it may be more beneficial to resolve the matter sooner rather than later and updating the client as to the progress of dealing with the problem, it can be possible to avoid full blown complaints that may seem to get out of hand.

‘Gained insight into unpicking complaint and how best to deal with them.’

Unpicking a complaint follows on from the concept of clear, effective and balanced communication. By establishing clear communication it is possible to manage the expectations of a client, keep them updated as to the progress of their matter and foster a relationship where questions can be asked and answered. 

By creating such an environment it may be possible to not have to unpick a complaint and, if a complaint does arise, get to the heart of a matter and provide a solution that is acceptable to both parties. 

If you would like to learn more about how the OCCS can support your CET event please contact our team via 0344 800 5071 or 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.'