CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
Employees All staff, contractors, consultants and temporary workers of Sunny Energy.
Line Manager An individual employee’s direct supervisor/manager.
Customers Individuals and organisations to which services are provided by Sunny Energy.
Complaint Any expression of dissatisfaction with a product or service offered or provided.
Complainant The person or organisation making a complaint
The purpose of this procedure is to outline the steps taken when handling any type of customer complaint. Sunny Energy is committed to providing the best customer service possible, and will endeavour to process each complaint as quickly as possible. Sunny Energy regards every person who contacts us, for any reason whatsoever, to be a valued customer.
This procedure is relevant to all staff, contractors, consultants and temporary workers of Sunny Energy to ensure that complaints made by customers are handled and resolved in an efficient, confidential, fair and timely manner.
1.4 Enquiries and Faults
Adherence to this procedure will generally ensure compliance with the requirements of the parent policy of Sunny Energy and relevant legislation. Employees requiring assistance with interpretation of this procedure, or who wish to report an incident, should contact the Directors of Sunny Energy.
All employees of Sunny Energy must strive to meet the needs of our customers in a professional and ethical manner and through efficient and courteous service. Employees will, at all times:
• treat all customers with respect and courtesy
• listen to what customers have to say and determine the exact nature of each request
• respond to enquiries in a prompt and friendly manner
• provide relevant and timely feedback to customers
• act with integrity and honesty.
1.5 Receiving Complaints
Complaints may come in the form of:
• Written correspondence
• in person (face-to-face).
Generally, the types of complaints that may be received by an organisation include those relating to:
• products (e.g. faults)
• services (e.g. lack of communication or attention)
• wait times (e.g. long wait times to be served either by phone or at the store front)
• misunderstandings (e.g. miscommunication by the customer or Sunny Energy)
• delivery errors (e.g. incorrect address)
• Personnel (e.g. an employee may have been rude or uncaring to a customer).
2. Handling Oral Complaints
When a customer rings or has a complaint in person, you must:
1. Identify yourself, listen, record details and determine what the complainant wants.
2. Confirm the details received.
3. Empathise with the complainant in a courteous manner.
4. Explain the courses of action available.
5. Do not attempt to lay blame or be defensive.
6. Resolve the complaint if possible, or commit to doing something immediately, irrespective of who will ultimately handle the complaint.
7. Ensure that the customer understands that the complaint is receiving attention, without creating false expectations.
8. Check whether the customer is satisfied with the proposed action and, if not, advise alternative courses of action.
9. Provide acknowledgment, e.g. via a follow-up letter or a telephone call.
10. Follow up as appropriate and monitor to ensure that the customer remains satisfied and receives timely feedback.
Refer to the Complaint Acknowledgment Letter.
3. Handling Written Complaints
This process is similar to in-person or over-the-telephone complaints. You must:
1. Read through the details of the complaint.
2. Investigate the details of the complaint.
3. Respond to complaint in writing within five business days.
4. Dealing with Difficult Customers
As stated above, Sunny Energy employees are expected to treat customers with courtesy and respect at all times and to make every reasonable effort to address the customer’s needs, even when they are rude or difficult.
However, whatever standard of professional and positive customer service Sunny Energy achieves, there will always be a small percentage of customers whose issues cannot be dealt with to their satisfaction. This may be due to refusal by the customer to accept a decision, demands placed on Sunny Energy which are not within our scope or resources to meet, or a level of rudeness or aggression shown to staff by the customer that makes it unsafe or unreasonable to proceed.
Where the Line Manager is satisfied that every effort has been made by employees to address a customer’s complaint, the Line Manager may make a decision that Sunny Energy will not be able to resolve the issue to the customer’s satisfaction.
In such a case, the Line Manager may decide to stop or limit responses to the customer in relation to the issue in question. This may include:
• refusal to accept telephone calls or make appointments with the customer
• a request that all future communications be in writing
• Identification of a single employee as the contact person through whom all communication must occur.
Where the Line Manager has made such a decision, they will ensure that this is communicated in writing to the customer and that the customer is given the opportunity to discuss the proposed course of action with Sunny Energy.
The Line Manager will continue to monitor any further contact with the customer over the issue.
4.1 Rude, Abusive or Aggressive Customers
Rude, abusive or aggressive behaviour may include rude or otherwise vulgar noises, expressions or gestures, verbal abuse of either a personal or general nature, intimidating, threatening or offensive behaviour, physical violence against property or physical violence against a person.
If, in the opinion of any staff member, rude, abusive or aggressive comments or statements are made in telephone conversions, the staff member may:
• warn the caller that if the behaviour continues, the conversation or interview will be terminated
• Terminate the conversation if the rude, abusive or aggressive behaviour continues after a warning has been given.
Where a conversion is terminated, the staff member must then inform their Line Manager of the incident and make a diary note of the event. Where appropriate, the Line Manager will then discuss the matter with one of the company directors (Daniel Matovic or Jarrod Taverna) to determine what action should be taken with respect to the customer’s behaviour.
If, in the opinion of the Director, any correspondence to Sunny Energy contains personal abuse, inflammatory statements or material clearly intended to intimidate, it will be placed on the relevant file and not otherwise acted upon.
5. Processing Complaints
5.1 Referring Complaints
As the person receiving the complaint, you are the employee responsible for managing what happens to the complaint.
You may decide that you cannot handle the complaint because:
1. Sunny Energy policy directs you to pass the complaint to a more senior person or someone in another area of operations because:
• the monetary value of the complaint is above your limit to handle
• the complaint was made to the wrong person
• the problem is clearly caused by a different area.
2. the person has become very angry and you want to calm them down by referring the problem to someone more experienced or with more authority
3. you cannot understand the complaint because of the level of technical detail
4. the complaint is suspicious and may be fraudulent, or false physical threats have been made to you
5. you do not understand the complaint because of a language or communication difficulty and want to refer it to someone more appropriate.
When referring a complaint, you should provide the person to whom the complaint is being referred with the necessary information to follow this up. This includes:
• the record of the complaint that was initially made by the customer (refer to the Customer Complaint Form)
• any relevant documents that you accessed when starting to follow up the complaint, including policies, legislation and Codes of Conduct
• a record of actions and investigations to date.
Once you have referred the complaint, you are responsible for following up with the customer in writing (by email, fax or letter) to inform the customer of:
• how long the process will take until an option is ready to be discussed with the customer
• any further actions the customer is required to take, details of the person now handling the matter and the contact details of that person
• details of what is being done to investigate and resolve the complaint
• any relevant details of Sunny Energy policy regarding the complaint.
If the responsibility for communication with the customer is retained by yourself, you will need to get back to the complainant on a regular basis, depending on the timeline you gave them and any documented promises that you made to them.
5.2 Offering Solutions to Complaints
When a customer complains you should always offer them a solution to the problem. If you cannot directly fix the problem, offer them something else to try to keep them satisfied.
Replacement – If the product is broken, offer a replacement. If an exact replacement is not available (or not wanted), you can replace it with a similar make or model. Discuss this with your Line Manager before replacing a product.
Refund – If a customer is extremely unhappy with a product or service, they may want a refund. If they request a refund, you must have noted all the reasons why the customer is unhappy with the product or service and then discuss these with your Line Manager. Your Line Manager must approve the refund before you offer this resolution to the customer.
Consider offering a partial refund if there is a minor problem, such as slight scratches on a product.
Repair – If there is a problem with a product, and you can’t fix it, refer the product to the Sunny Energy technical department or service department to see if the product can be repaired.
Money off Next Purchase – For smaller problems, it may be satisfactory for you to offer the customer money off their next purchase. This must be approved by the Line Manager before it is offered to the customer as a resolution.
Apologise – Sometimes one of the most effective forms of a solution can be an apology; an informal apology may be sufficient for minor problems, but a written apology should be provided for major problems. A formal apology should be made in writing within five business days.
If a customer has a problem with our service, try taking steps to solve the problem and prevent it from happening again.
If the problem is an employee, refer the issue to your Line Manager. The Line Manager is to consider giving a verbal warning and discussing possible training options to improve the employee’s problem.
Refer to the Complaint Resolution Letter.
5.3 Recording and Reporting
All complaints received must be recorded by completing the Customer Complaint Form and forwarding this to Administration to be logged. All complaints must logged within two business days.
It is imperative that all complaints are logged to enable Sunny Energy to improve our product and service offerings to our customers.
Refer to the Customer Complaint Form.
Refer to the Customer Complaints Log.
6. Procedure Implementation
This procedure is to be implemented through the policies and arrangements established under Sunny Energy, which have been designed to provide the highest level of safety for both employer and employee.
6.1 Procedure Review
This document will be reviewed annually or as required to reflect changes in business practice or legislation.
6.2 Dissemination of Procedure
A copy of this policy will be made available to each employee upon commencement of work and additional copies made available upon request.
6.3 Authority and Responsibility
This procedure is issued under the authority of the Director of Sunny Energy – Matthew Wildy
7. Supporting Information
a) Parent Policy
i) BM – Customer Service Policy
i) BM – Customer Complaint Form
ii) BM – Customer Complaints Log
iii) BM – Complaint Acknowledgement Letter
iv) BM – Complaint Resolution Letter