Workshops covering those key topics
Our workshops cover the key areas of complaint handling including Final Response Letters, Distress and Inconvenience awards and Working with the Ombudsman
Targeted training covering key topics in complaints handling
For those looking for something more targeted, our in-house workshops target the knowledge gaps of your staff

Our workshops are written for complaints handlers by complaints handlers making them practical and effective

This option is for you, if you need workshops that address key issues, or your looking for an in-house workshop to address a particular knowledge gap.

Sarah's lowdown on our workshops

‘I’ve always loved writing workshops, even when I was writing them for the Ombudsman Service. There’s something about taking a bland concept and making it more interesting, so that people want to engage with it. 

And that’s bled through into CWSL, because Caroline and I were determined that our workshops would be different. We wanted them to be more than just us droning on about Distress and Inconvenience awards, or Final Response Letters, which trust us, we can certainly do. For us, they needed to be an extension of our passion for complaints and provide people with proper skills and knowledge they could apply straightaway.

That’s why all of our workshops are about us giving you the key information and you applying it. Thats our “all killer, no filler” guarantee!’  

Our workshops

Effective Final Response Letters

The Final Response Letter has a lot of responsibility, you know. It’s not just about outlining the complaint, the investigation and the outcome, it needs to be able to convey empathy, understanding and continue to echo that rapport you’ve built up through the process. Not only that it needs to resolve the complaint to the customer’s satisfaction…flipping heck that’s a lot. 

This course will cover:

  • Customer behaviour and it’s impact on your letter
  • The importance of tone, clarity and timing
  • Whether the outcome matters
  • The important ingredients to include to ensure your customer is receptive to the outcome

This course is for:

  • Front line complaints handlers
  • Complaints team managers and team leaders
  • Senior leaders looking for solutions to cold, formal letters

We know that Distress and Inconvenience awards can often feel like nailing jelly to the wall. How do you know that they are going to land well with the customer, but will the Financial Ombudsman Service agree with your award as well? This course is here to demystify the process for you, by sharing some simple tips and guidance to show you how to make is simpler for yourself. 

This course will cover:

  • Explore what the award is designed to do…and what it doesn’t do
  • Understand how the FOS looks at Distress and Inconvenience awards
  • Explore what different award levels look like 
  • Applying consistency to your awards to manage expectations and repeat complainers

This course is for:

  • Front line complaints handlers
  • Those working to resolve complaints inside three working days
  • Complaints team managers and team leaders

Nailing your Distress and Inconvenience awards

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got years’ of complaints experience, or whether you’re new to this game, the FOS can often feel like a mystery. And we’re not just talking about how it gets to outcomes of complaints, we’re referring to the timescales it works to, the way it’s funded and how the complaints process works behind closed doors. 

This course covers:

  • Why complaints get referred to the Ombudsman 
  • A review of the Ombudsman’s process
  • Key things to look out for
  • Reducing the risks of referral to the Ombudsman 

This course is for:

  • Front line complaints handlers
  • Complaints team managers and leaders
  • Senior management responsible for complaints departments

We’ve come a long way in terms of communications channels. We used to have the phone, faxes (remember them?) and letters, and yet when it comes to complaints people still would prefer to hear a voice on the end of the telephone, rather than an email, or a hashtag on Twitter. That’s why we think it’s still so important that people on the front line know how to communicate effectively over the phone.

This course covers:

  • How to build rapport and show empathy over the phone
  • Dealing effectively with customer emotions over the telephone without escalating things
  • Effective ways to build confidence on the phone and dealing with nervousness
  • Managing calls – beginnings, endings and the middle bit

This course is for: 

  • Front line staff
  • Administrative staff who deal with incoming and outgoing calls
  • Team managers and team leaders

Using the phone for effective complaints handling

Making the most of soft skills in complaints handing

We hear a lot about soft skills, but in our experience we don’t often see people really getting to grips with what they are, and using them effectively when it comes to resolving complaints. It’s not that they don’t know about them, or don’t possess the skills to be a great complaints handler, it’s just when the going gets tough, they don’t get used to their fullest effect. 

This course covers:

  • How to engage empathy and emotional intelligence in difficult situations
  • Using critical thinking and conflict resolution skills 
  • Exploring the three Ps for effective complaint handling 
  • Working from home? What you need to ensure your productivity and motivation don’t evaporate

This course is for: 

  • Front line staff
  • Administrative staff who deal with incoming and outgoing calls. 
  • Complaints team managers and team leaders 

Complaints handing series - three workshops available. Sign up for any number of them or all of them

There’s no denying that times have changed and it’s no longer enough to just deal with a complaint, because there are so many other areas that need to be addressed. Everything from being able to work with a customer’s challenging behaviour compassionately and effectively, without burning ourselves out. As well as covering out own biases, that we’re often unaware of, and so cannot address, but are actually blindingly obvious to our customers. Along with working with mental health and being able to support ourselves in a tougher work environment, and social climate.  

This series of workshops covers three key areas:

Workshop 1 – Dealing with challenging customer behaviour

Workshop 2 – Spotting and addressing implicit bias

Workshop 3 – Working with Mental Health and supporting ourselves

This course is for:

  • Front line staff dealing directly with complaints
  • Complaints team managers and team leaders
  • Senior leaders, responsible for a complaints function

Bringing your complaints process into the 2020s and beyond

If you're looking for something more tailored from one of our in-house workshops

What's different about our workshops?

We’re firm believers that unless you’ve been on the frontline of complaints, you’ll not know what it’s actually like, so how can you give training on it? We know the issues that frontline complaints handlers and customer service agents face and we know the issues that businesses struggle with.


However, we also know that many training experiences are just plain boring when it comes to complaints handling, which means people get little to nothing from them. That’s a waste for those attending and it’s not good enough for us, which is why we’re very keen to make the training, not just informative, but also engaging.




How do you provide the training?

We won’t be conducting any face to face training until 2022. We know life is getting back to normal, but  this reduces the risk of having to move dates, times and venues, which just messes everyone about. But actually we love doing our training online, and we’ve had some great reviews about it too.

Training sessions are 3.5 hours long. We find that this is the optimal amount of time before people start to find their concentrations levels wavering and becoming ‘Zoomed’ out.


What technical equipment do I need?

Just a laptop or tablet, that is able to support Zoom. 

You don’t need an account, because once you’re registered with us, we send you the log in details. All you do is use those sign in details and we’re off and running.

If you’re a business looking for in-house training we’ll need to check your tech, but that’s simple. All we do is set up a practice session and run through to make sure it’s all working. 

If you have any concerns or questions over the tech, we’re there to make sure there aren’t any hiccups. 



We also offer workshops through the following organisations

Click the logo for additional information about our work with that organisation

The Finance and Leasing Association

During 2021 we'll be running our Final Response Letter and Distress and Inconvenience workshops, along with three further workshops unique to the FLA all about complaints strategy. Click the logo to find out more.

UK Finance

During 2021 we'll be working with UK Finance with our complaints handling workshop and a series of three further workshops unique to UK Finance. Click the logo above to find out more.


We're going to be working with PIMFA during 2021. Watch this space for more details.

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