Customer Complaints Policy (Sole Trader)
This Customer Complaints Policy (Sole Trader) is designed for use by sole traders with no or few employees. This simple policy contains only one stage of complaint resolution with the option for referral to an external body such as a trade association or regulatory body if the customer is not satisfied.
While it should always be the aim of every business to ensure that no customer has a cause for complaint, mistakes – innocent or otherwise – and difficult customers are a reality in most cases. Having a complaints policy and complaints procedure in place not only helps to ensure the efficient and effective handling of complaints but also shows your commitment to providing (and improving) high quality service to your customers.
Written in consumer-friendly language, this policy is designed to be used in conjunction with a Complaints Handling Procedure. The former explains your complaints handling procedure to customers; the latter – using more formal and detailed terms – is designed for internal use to guide you and your staff through the handling of a complaint. The Complaints Handling Procedure for sole traders is available via the related document links.
This document starts by explaining its purpose to customers before proceeding to define what is covered and what is not – in essence, defining a “complaint”. The customer is given clear instructions on how to make a complaint (each instruction is optional and may be removed or altered to meet the needs of your business) followed by an explanation of how his or her complaint will be handled. As noted above, this version of the policy is designed for use either by a lone sole trader or by a sole trader with a small number of staff. An optional external referral is provided for and may be particularly suitable for those who are members of a trade association or whose sector is subject to a particular regulatory body. Whilst the external level provisions do not expressly refer to an ombudsman, a suitable reference could be inserted at this point if there is an ombudsman relevant to your particular sector. Further provisions deal with confidentiality and data protection – of vital importance when dealing with customer complaints – and provide contact details for customers wishing to ask further questions about the complaints policy or complaints procedure.
Optional phrases / clauses are enclosed in square brackets. These should be read carefully and selected so as to be compatible with one another. Unused options should be removed from the document.
This Customer Complaints Policy (Sole Trader) contains the following sections:
2. Purpose of this Complaints Policy
3. What this Complaints Policy Covers
4. Making a Complaint
5. How [I] OR [We] Handle Your Complaint
6. Confidentiality and Data Protection
7. Questions and Further Information
8. Policy Responsibility and Review
This document is fully editable. The requisite details should be entered into the highlighted fields and you may also wish to adjust the wording to suit your purposes.
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