Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) offers an ALTERNATIVE to concluding a dispute through often costly, stressful and time-consuming legal action.
The following are some top tips from The Motor Ombudsman to take into account before and during the ADR process.
Always try to maintain an open dialogue and resolve any complaints directly with your customers in the first instance before suggesting they contact an ADR body, such as The Motor Ombudsman. This will help to maintain a positive ongoing relationship with consumers and encourage repeat custom.
Let your customer have a response to their dispute in writing within a maximum period of eight weeks from when the issue is first brought to your attention. Make sure you keep in touch with the customer throughout the complaints process, as proactive communication is much more likely to lead to a resolution, rather than the consumer having to chase for updates or information.
Tell us all the facts about your dispute when our case investigation team gets in touch with your business. If there is a resolution or goodwill gesture that you would like to offer a customer, such as a refund or a replacement vehicle, please do let us know. In addition, make sure you support your position with the relevant documents, such as terms and conditions, sales or repair invoices and job cards.
Early resolution of a dispute is a priority of ours so that you can get on with what you do best. Please help us to do this by responding to any of our requests on time, and by providing the information we need, so our investigations can be quicker and more effective.
Remember that, if you or a customer rejects the outcome of the adjudication, the case can then be referred for an ombudsman’s final decision, the last stage of our ADR process.
Never take a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ when looking to resolve a complaint. If you’re not sure what to do, give us a call and we’ll give you the information you need to get the issue sorted.
Accreditation to one or more of our comprehensive CTSI-approved Motor Industry Codes of Practice, which cover the whole customer purchase and vehicle ownership experience, is something to be proud of, so make sure your customers are aware that you are accredited to The Motor Ombudsman, by having our logo or ‘Smart Badge’ on your website and, where possible, signage and leaflets on your premises.
Take the time to complete our CTSI-approved training modules on ADR, distance selling and the Consumer Rights Act, so that you and your staff stay up to date with the latest regulations affecting your company.
Improvement comes as a result of complaints, and they are something to be embraced, not feared. Make sure you listen to your customers, so that if something is going wrong, you can find out what this is and learn from the issues that have been encountered.
Very rarely, things do go wrong, and therefore make sure you follow your organisation’s internal complaints procedures when trying to sort out a problem with a consumer. If this can’t be achieved, it’s time to direct your customer to get in touch with us.
Effective communication, as well as a calm approach, are key when concluding a complaint, so make it a priority to nip the issue in the bud to avoid it lingering. The faster the resolution, the happier the customer will be.