Complaints are not the worst thing that can happen. Sometimes they can be considered as negative and unwelcome, and they can create stress and bad feeling. Complaints are also an opportunity to put things right and learn for the future too. It is the way you look at them that counts. You can choose to stress about the negativity, or use it to your advantage.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft says: “complaining customers are our biggest source of learning”
We should be looking out for feedback and ways to improve our service. So often we are caught in the depths of compliance, and mechanisms of running our RTO that we miss some simple facts.
The customer, your students, should be at the heart of everything we do, so listen to them.
As an Registered Training Organisation you are required to implement a transparent complaints and appeals policy. In the policy show how you will manage customer complaints in a constructive and timely manner, enabling learners and clients to understand their rights and the RTO’s responsibilities under the Standards.
On another note, you need to have a complaints policy and procedure and an appeals policy and procedure. These do not need to be separated and can be combined into the one complaints and appeals policy and procedure. Whichever way you choose, it is important that the policies are broadly applicable to anyone. Therefore it is not just about the student making a complaint or appeal. If an employer seeks to make a complaint about the RTO, if a staff member wishes to make a complaint about a learner or the learner wishes to make a complaint about the RTO, it is applicable in all of these situations.
Handling any complaints is a very important skill to learn. Providing exceptional customer service is, in fact, critical to your RTOs success. Being effective in handling customer complaints requires patience, strong listening skills, and the ability to identify valid complaints (as opposed to irrational grievances) and effectively deal with even the most difficult customer.
The customer should not be viewed as an interruption, nuisance, problem, or “necessary evil.” The customer is the whole reason the business exists in the first place. Consider anyone who is willing to provide you feedback as someone valued. They are providing you with information about what can be improved. You could always learn something new.
Place a high value on your customers, do all you can to convey a sense of importance and appreciation to each of them. This doesn’t mean that the customer is always right, but it does mean that it’s a “win-win” when the customer is satisfied, and a “lose-lose” when the customer is not.