The Legal Ombudsman (LeO) were overwhelmed by complaints this year, finding it extremely difficult to process the requests in an efficient and timely manner. They have therefore set up an online complaints service that should streamline the complaints that are relevant to LeO; the others will be forwarded to the correct regulator.
By using complaints handlers to sort the requests, complaints will be organised which will mean the consumer’s anxieties will be dealt with more quickly.
LeO have attempted to respond to the results from their 2017/18 annual report which found that the number of complaints for investigation increased by 4%. This additional influx of complaints meant that their 60% target of resolving issues within 90 days was missed by 51%, with only 9% being dealt with in this time limit.
Whilst 63% of cases were dealt with within 180 days, 7% of cases were still outstanding after a year. Under the new system, consumers will instantly understand if their complaint can be handled by LeO. If it can’t, it is passed to the relevant organisation straight away, avoiding delays.
The results seem to indicate that customers are getting that instant response that will make them feel valued. From the 3,000 complaints that were tested, 500 people were informed that their complaint needed to be forwarded to a different organisation. Complaints handlers then offered the advice and information needed to make the transition a lot easier.
Where people assume that their request is being ignored, 350 people were told that they needed to wait for an allotted period of time in order for the legal service provider to respond.
Wanda Goldwag, chair of the Office for Legal Complaints, said: “Consumers today are often looking for quick responses to their questions. Our customer assessment tool is a great way for them to access our services and understand how and when we can help them.”
These figures equate to around a third of the 3,000 complaints that may have otherwise been languishing in the inbox, awaiting a reply. Here, it is hoped that an initial point of contact will at least streamline the complaints and ensure that customers feel as though their issue is being dealt with.
When residential conveyancing was amongst the most complained about legal profession last year, will this make the complaints process more efficient?