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Best practice complaint resolution - workshops for internal dispute resolution


FOS has engaged the services of Nina Harding for a number of years now to run 'Excellence in Internal Dispute Resolution Workshops' around Australia each year. Nina outlines below what these sessions are about and why you should attend one, if you have not already.

During the FOS Complaint Handling workshops we will talk about why some complaints escalate to become FOS disputes, and how FSPs can avoid this happening. Consumers often escalate complaints because they haven't felt heard, haven't been given a satisfactory explanation or simply haven’t been given an apology. If these things had occurred, in some cases the consumer might have dropped the complaint and saved themselves, and the FSP much time and effort.

Most financial services providers (FSPs) put a lot of effort into resolving disputes as early as possible, but one of their biggest challenges is resolving complex complaints in a timely fashion. Many consumers don't understand the effort and time it takes to investigate a complaint and to finally resolve a complaint, so it is important that they are told clearly the steps involved and the time it will take to investigate a complaint. Some consumers will assume they have been forgotten and escalate a complaint to FOS when they don't hear back from an FSP, but if their expectations are realistically managed and they are regularly informed of their complaint’s progress, there is less risk of they will escalate their complaints to FOS. Of course, some complaints will still escalate, but FSPs should aim to have only the most complex and difficult complaints go down this path.

Another issue for Australian businesses handling complaints is the quality of service from call centres. Most of us have had the experience of dealing with an off-shore call centre and feeling like we haven’t been understood. We can have an equally empty experience from a call centre based in our town or city, because ultimately the quality of the call has nothing to do with where the call centre is located: it’s about the communication skills of the operator. Everyone wants to feel that the person on the other end of the phone understands us and is going to make every effort to fix the problem. 

If you haven’t done so already, please come to the FOS Complaint Handling Workshops to get excited about complaint handling. You’ll be able to learn from the other participants, hear about what FOS expects when a complaint is made, and receive loads of tips and ideas for effectively and efficiently resolving complaints.

The workshops are run by Nina Harding, who is is a Complaint Handling Expert. She is a Harvard Law School trained mediator, LEADR Advanced Mediator and former Project Manager at the Centre for Dispute Resolution, London.

For more information on the workshops, including dates and cities, please go to or click here.