Quick note on Working with the Ombudsman Service

What do we mean by working with?

We know it sounds like a strange concept. The idea that when you have a complaint referred to the Ombudsman you are essentially working with them. But, you are! Yes, they might be looking at what’s happened, but you’re the person with the answers and the knowledge about what has happened.

We believe that if you look at the experience as ‘working with’ rather than being put under the microscope, you’ll be able to see the experience as something to learn from rather than something to be dreaded, resisted or just made much worse than it needs to be.

Why do you need to make the most of the process?

The Ombudsman expects businesses to learn from the experience of having a complaint and essentially ‘learn lessons’ to avoid repetition. You might believe that this only applies to big businesses, but it can equally apply to the smaller ones, when a flaw has been spotted.

But on the flip side, you can learn a lot about how the Ombudsman process works and how it looks at certain things. You can spot issues with the person you’re working with at the Ombudsman service and you can learn what you can do to make yourself heard without having to vent frustrations.  

Pushing back the right way

To be clear there is absolutely nothing wrong with pushing back on things, especially if you feel that the points you have made or key evidence has been missed. But there is a way to do it and that means that both you and the ombudsman staff member come away feeling comfortable with things.

If you’re unhappy with the investigator and what they’ve concluded then ask for it to be reviewed by an ombudsman. But do it in a clear and concise way, putting all of your points in writing so that you can show why you feel things have been missed or overlooked.

What if you feel you've received poor service from the ombudsman service?

No business offering a service that involves people will ever be able to satisfy 100% of people, 100% of the time. So, things can go wrong with any service and this includes the Ombudsman.

If this happens to you, you should know what you can do about it. And it’s simple, you can refer the matter to the Independent Assessor. She is there to look at problems from consumers and businesses that have service issues.

However, the Independent Assessor can’t look at the outcome of the complaint, hence the importance of making sure you get your points across to the investigator at an early stage and not the last gasp when an Ombudsman has issued a decision.

Wanting more?

Then it's time to book on to our Making the most of your experience with the Ombudsman course.

During the one day workshop we cover everything you need to know about the Ombudsman Service including:

  • Walk through the process of a typical case
  • Titles and the present structure 
  • Lines of communication – types of contact and tips for managing calls from investigators
  • Reading between the lines 
  • Not agreeing with outcomes – what to do at various points of the process
  • Pushing back the right way – preventing communication breakdown
  • How to make a good case to persuade the ombudsman
  • What to do if you don’t agree with the ombudsman