Housing Associations: Learn How to Make Rapid & Measurable Improvements to Complaint Handling

Posted by:  Simon Scofield, Director of Learning and Performance                           

The latest English Housing Survey report, shows more than 59% of social housing residents who complained were not happy with the response to their complaint. At the same time the Housing Ombudsman has seen a 139% increase in complaints in the past year.

The Government this week have announced a review of staff to training to improve social housing and ensure resident’s complaints are dealt with effectively.

This is something you can address right now to improve your team’s performance…


Practical Courses to Transform Complaint Handling Outcomes

Hamilton Mercer has developed a programme over four half days to help your teams improve standards of service to both customers and colleagues.

The first two half days are Complaint Prevention: Consistently Delivering Exceptional Service. This training will help to reduce the number of complaints altogether to housing associations, by encouraging a service-focused culture.

Your team will learn to deliver an exceptional standard of service, become persuasive communicators, manage expectations, avoid escalations, and handle awkward situations.

Phase One (Half Day)

Phase Two (Half Day)

Module 1

Service Culture, Philosophy & Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

  • Deliver an informative, empathetic and professional service.
  • Act as an ambassador for your organisation.
  • Handle awkward / embarrassing situations seamlessly.


  • Establishing a Common Service Language
  • Service Vision
  • Service Principles™
  • Creating a Seamless Customer Experience

Module 2

Defining Service Standards

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the approach and mindset required to consistently deliver exceptional service.
  • Identify the desired outcomes and hidden needs of customers to deliver tailored solutions.
  • Improve internal communications and working relationships with colleagues.


  • Service Levels Framework™

Module 3

Service-Focused Communication Skills

Learning Outcomes

  • Increase self-awareness, confidence and professionalism.
  • Become a more believable, persuasive and influential communicator.
  • Consistently communicate a responsive (can-do) approach.


  • Factors of the Voice / Body Language
  • Using Positive and Persuasive Language

Module 4

Managing Expectations Responsively

Learning Outcomes

  • Select the correct levels of assertion during confrontational conversations.
  • Demonstrate a willingness to help by proactively problem solving.
  • Identify desired outcomes and validate the practicality / suitability of requests.


  • Tactfully Highlighting People’s Mistakes™
  • Proactively Saying No to Requests™


The second two half days cover Effective Complaint Handling. This part of the programme will encourage a far more skillful handling of complaints, to significantly improve complaint outcomes.

Your team will develop skills to own complaints and handle complaints across all channels with confidence and professionalism. They will learn to calm people, gain trust, identify mutually beneficial outcomes, and conduct fair investigations.


Phase Three (Half Day)

Phase Four (Half Day)

Module 5

Receiving Complaints: Ownership, Preferences & Attitudes

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the psychology and expectations of a complaining customer.
  • View complaints as an opportunity to retain customers, learn and improve.
  • Understand own behavioural style and adapt responses to build trust and rapport.


  • Introduction to Complaints: L.E.A.D Method™
  • Types of Complaining Customers

Module 6

Engaging Complainants: Listening, Empathising & Connecting

Learning Outcomes

  • Recognise customer emotions and select the correct level of empathy.
  • Defuse emotionally charged customers by neutralising negativity.
  • Engage with customers and build natural rapport – helping to remain in control of conversations.


  • Empathetic Listening: S.I.F.T. Method™
  • Trigger Phrases That Cause Unnecessary Escalations

Module 7

Validating Complaints: Questioning & Root Cause Analysis

Learning Outcomes

  • Validate complaints and respectfully align invalid complaints.
  • Know when to provide an immediate fix vs. conducting more detailed investigations.
  • Pinpoint reasons for the complaint – Root Causes & Drivers.


  • The 3P’s of Complaint Validation™
  • Investigative Questioning Techniques

Module 8

Resolving Complaints: Redress & Expectation Management

Learning Outcomes

  • Ensure the value of solutions reflect the nature / seriousness of the complaint.
  • Link decisions with desired outcomes so customers feel listened to and treated fairly.
  • Reduce the likelihood of being challenged when delivering unfavourable outcomes.


  • Selecting the Most Appropriate Redress
  • Credibly Delivering Bad News™

How do I know this will work?

Because we offer practical live virtual and classroom training. We don’t do ‘talks’ or ‘motivational meet ups’ that leave people feeling inspired for a day or two, but essentially unchanged.

Instead, we offer Service Methodologies™ that your people can start to use right away to change their behaviours and make improvements.

These include physical worksheets, checklists and other tools they can hold in their hands and will provide them with step-by step points to success. It’s a tangible, actionable approach that has had a transformational effect for our clients and could be the factor that stems the tide of complaints for you.


Contact our dedicated Housing and Local Authorities Client Relationship Manager

Why not start improving your complaint handling and resolution now.

 Find out more about these programme by calling our Client Relationship Manager, Oliver Roberts on 0800 121 4660, who heads up projects for housing associations and local authorities.