Unacceptable Customer Behaviours and Actions Policy
Policy reference number: FV-POL-CustomerCare2
Date applies from: 1.9.16
UNCONTROLLED IF PRINTED
Aim of Policy
For the purposes of this Policy ForViva and group members are referred to as ‘the Group’.
This Policy outlines the Group’s approach to dealing with customers whose actions or behaviour is considered unacceptable. It has been developed on the basis that customers are dealt with fairly, honestly, consistently and appropriately including those whose actions are considered unacceptable. Customers have the right to be heard, understood and respected, as do employees.
The term ‘customer’ includes any tenant of the Group and any other person affected by services provided by the Group.
Behaviour is not viewed as unacceptable just because a person is forceful or persistent. However, the actions of customers who are angry, demanding or persistent may result in unreasonable demands or behaviour towards employees, which in turn would be deemed as unacceptable. Customer action may also be considered unreasonably persistent if all internal review mechanisms have been exhausted and the customer continues to challenge the Group’s decision relating to their complaint or dispute.
Violence, Aggression and Abuse
Violence is not restricted to acts of aggression that may result in physical harm. It also includes threats, physical violence, personal verbal abuse, derogatory remarks, rudeness and inflammatory allegations.
What amounts to unreasonable demands is dependant on the circumstances and the seriousness of the issues raised by the customer. Unreasonable demands include the amount of information customers request, demanding responses within an unreasonable timescale, insisting on seeing or speaking to a particular employee, continual emails, phone calls or letters and repeatedly changing the substance of a complaint or raising unrelated concerns.
The actions of persistent customers are unacceptable when they take up a disproportionate amount of time and resources. Some customers may not accept that the Group is unable to assist them further than the level of service provided already. Examples of actions include persistent refusal to accept a decision made in relation to a complaint, persistent refusal to accept explanations relating to what the Group can or cannot do and continuing to pursue a complaint or dispute without presenting any new information.
Correspondence that is abusive to employees or contains allegations that lack substantive evidence will not be dealt with. The customer may be asked to stop using such language and advised that we will not respond to their correspondence if they do not stop
Telephone calls will be terminated if the caller is considered aggressive, abusive or offensive. In these cases, the caller will initially be informed that the behaviour is unacceptable and that the call will be ended if their behaviour does not stop
Where behaviour is consider unacceptable, the customer will be given the opportunity to modify their behaviour and to try and reach a voluntarily agreement to reduce or limit their contact to reasonable levels. Where a voluntary agreement is not appropriate or the customer does not keep to the agreement, contact may be formally restricted
Formal restrictions can include taking enquiries at set times, making appointments with a named employee, returning documents to the customer, or in extreme cases advising the customer that further irrelevant documents will be destroyed, and only considering a certain number of issues in a given period. Future correspondence on closed complaints will only be acknowledged or responded to if the customer provides significant new information relating to the complaint.
In extreme situations, such as the threat or use of physical violence, verbal abuse or harassment towards an employee, the Group will report incidents to the Police and may end direct contact with the customer. The Group reserves the right to deal with such cases through the Anti-Social Behaviour process.
Periods of restricted contact will be fixed, usually for a month on the first occasion. Each case will be reviewed within a set period and if the required improvement in behaviour is not achieved further restrictions and/or longer periods of restricted access can be applied as deemed appropriate.
A customer can appeal a decision to restrict contact. Appeals are considered by the Assistant Director/Director of an unrelated service area. They will advise the customer in writing that either the restricted contact arrangements will still apply or a different course of action has been agreed.
We will advise the customer of other means of resolving their issue(s) such as signposting to alternative services and advocates who may act on behalf of customers whose behaviour has led to restrictions on their access to the Group’s services.
Customers in breach of this Policy may have their entitlement to attend meetings and events arranged by or funded by the Group and/or applications for shareholding membership suspended.
The Group will record and monitor all cases where restrictions have been applied under this Policy. This includes the period of the restriction, any correspondence relating to the restriction, details of appeals and referrals to relevant agencies. Decisions to restrict access will be audited to ensure this Policy has been adhered to and cases will be reported to Board as well as executive and/or senior management.