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New complaints handling research announced

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We’re helping with research by the University of Newcastle Australia into the benefits of good complaints handling in public sector organisations. The research into the return-on-investment (ROI) of effective complaints handling in the public sector is expected to help government organisations improve their processes and save money and time.

The research, which is being conducted by a University of Newcastle research team led by SOCAP board member and Dean of Law at the University of Newcastle, Professor Tania Sourdin, looks at the complaints management processes of three public organisations using aggregated, anonymised data. We are on the Steering Committee for the research.  

Previous research into private sector organisations showed that every dollar invested in complaints handling has potential returns of up to $10 for the organisation. However, “while a key benefit of handling a complaint well for a private organisation is keeping that customer, in the public sector customers often don’t have the option to leave,” Prof Tania Sourdin said. “A calculation of ROI of public sector complaints management needs to consider key differences such as these.”

Understanding the differences in behaviour between private and public customers will be important factors in the research, according to Prof Tania Sourdin. “Such differences can include benefits resulting from complaints being handled effectively, such as greater compliance with government approaches and also enhanced perceptions of trust in terms of government decision making and policy departments,” she said. “There can be significant long term savings for government when effective complaints handling takes place.”

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