Settlement and education Partnership in York Region (SEPYR)
To establish a process for resolving issues that affect client service or the client experience.
To ensure that complaints and other indicators of need for service improvement are systematically reviewed at a management team and the information used to address issues and mitigate future risk.
CCSYR will provide avenues through which service issues identified by clients can be recognized, tracked and resolved.
Employees who are informed of a concern or complaint expressed by a client or member of the public, have a consistent response to offer the client, and a way to obtain support in resolving the complaint. CCSYR has a way to track complaints and resolution.
All requests for conflict resolution and complaints shall be addressed and resolved as quickly as possible.
GENERIC CLIENT COMPLAINT PROCESS GUIDELINIES:
The response to a complaint from a client is an opportunity to distinguish ourselves as an agency, and to express our core values. An effective complaint response is also good business, promoting a positive relationship with our community, and providing learning opportunities for us so that we can learn over time to serve people better. CCSYR serves the community through specialized services, (such as Counselling) and several partnerships, (such as the Welcome Centre). These services and partnerships develop client complaint processes to best serve the needs of their clients, and their partners. For that reason, this policy sets out a generic CCSYR process to follow in the absence of a specific complaint process.
The nature of client complaints is that there are no two alike, and it is expected that, while being consistent with the basic approach described here, staff should exercise discretion and creativity, whether they are using this process or a similar process used by one of the partnerships or specialized services. There is a specific process and form for AODA related feedback from clients.
Respect confidentiality at all stages, to the extent the client asks.
Clients choose whether or not to give their name. In order to take corrective steps to resolve a complaint, it is sometimes necessary for someone else to get back to the client, and therefore to know their contact information, and at least their first name. It is the client’s choice to give or withhold this information. Their complaint can still be received and acted on if they give it anonymously.
Document the conversation on the Complaint / Service Improvement Form to keep a record of the conversation. The client does not need to complete the Form, nor to give a name or contact information. The information given by the client needs to be recorded even if it is given anonymously.
For Staff receiving the complaint:
If you are a volunteer and you are the first point of contact, seek out a staff person to handle the complaint.
Respond quickly - The client may make a complaint in writing, by telephone, or in person. Return a telephone call or e-mail message promptly the same day or the next day at the latest, even if you only have time to arrange a time to talk.
Listen Completely - Give the client complete attention. Write down what they are telling you and get specifics from them. Confirm that you understand. Focus only on them. Give the person who is making the complaint time to describe the problem in his or her own words, at his or her own pace. Ask questions to clarify the concern. Tell the person what you will do next and how long it will take, and when they can hear back from CCSYR if they desire by a certain date.
Use body language- Maintain eye contact and don’t cross your arms over your chest, if you are feeling defensive. Avoid the urge to roll your eyes, if you are feeling exasperated. Instead, nod and smile, no matter how irritated you may feel.
Let the client vent - Don’t interrupt. Don’t explain, defend or justify. They don’t care why the problem occurred and they don’t want your side of the story. They are angry and they want to vent, so let them.
Apologize and mean it - This is often hard especially if you did not cause the problem. When you apologize in this situation you are not necessarily taking blame for causing the problem. You are apologizing for the customer having a bad experience. Put yourself in their shoes. Be sincere.
Ask the client how we can make things right - Too many staff have either no response to complaints or a generic, stock response. Clarify the person's concern ask them what they want. Most people don’t want much. They usually just want you to listen. Try to resolve the complaint in a way that is consistent with CCSYR policies, and is satisfactory to the person who made the complaint. Explain the reason for the situation, if known (for example short staffed due to illness). But, if you don't know, say so and offer to try to find out. Keep in touch with them and call them back.
Assure the client you will seek a resolution to the problem - Because you listened and you confirmed their complaint in writing you know why the client is upset. Take the next step and assure the client you will take action to prevent it from happening again. Otherwise, why would they come back? (By the way, you need to fix the problem too.)
Thank the client- Without direct client feedback we have no idea if we are delivering the service our clients want. When they tell us we have failed they are offering priceless information on how we can improve our service delivery. These complaints will form part of our process in our continuous effort to improve service delivery
Resolution - Get back to the client as soon as possible with a resolution with a decision that is consistent with CCSYR policies, procedures and practices and explain it clearly to everyone concerned. Don't be afraid to say "no" but take the time to patiently explain why and answer questions. If this is not accepted advise them their complaint will be forwarded on to the Program Supervisor.
Submit completed form to your supervisor within 2 days of receiving the complaint, whether or not it has been resolved by that time.
For Program Supervisors
When client or member of the public chooses to speak to a supervisor about a complaint the supervisor will attempt to find a solution that is consistent with CCSYR policies, procedures and practices and is satisfactory to the person who made the complaint.
When the event, practice or standard that is the subject of the complaint, or the manner in which the person making the complaint is responding, potentially places the organization at risk, this is to be reported to the Program Director as soon as possible.
The Complaint / Service Improvement Form is passed on to the Director with any further actions or remarks noted by the Program Supervisor, within 2 business days.
If the supervisor cannot find a solution that is satisfactory to the person who made the complaint the supervisor will forward the complaint to his or her Director. The supervisor and Director will try and work out a solution that is consistent with CCSYR policies, procedures and practices and is satisfactory to the person who made the complaint and advise the client service staff person of the resolution. The Executive Director will be notified of any complaints that reach the Program Director’s level.
When the event, practice or standard that is the subject of the complaint, or the manner in which the person making the complaint is responding, potentially places the organization at risk, this is to be reported to the Executive Director as soon as possible.
The Complaint / Service Improvement Form is submitted to the Executive Director with any further actions or remarks noted by the Program Director, within 2 business days. The form is copied to the Senior Executive Assistant, for review by the Senior Management Team.
Senior Management Team reviews all Complaint Forms gathered by the Senior Executive Assistant since the last meeting. SMT tracks the themes of the complaints, monitors the outcomes and reports to the Executive Director at minimum every six months on complaints and actions taken.
If the program Director is unable to reach a resolution the Executive Director will get involved to resolve the complaint. That decision will be deemed final.
When the event, practice or standard that is the subject of the complaint, or the manner in which the person making the complaint is responding, potentially places the organization at risk, this is to be reported to the Board of Directors or the Executive and Finance Committee at the next meeting, if not earlier.
If the complaint has become public and CCSYR has been contacted by the media the Executive Director will handle the media relations and will contact the Board Executive prior to giving an official statement to the media. Complaints will be filed and will be reviewed in order to improve service delivery as part of our Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) process.