On 1 October 2018, new Ofcom General Conditions come into effect. One provision requires a telephone number for complaints. The relevant condition is copied below.
3. Regulated Providers must ensure that all staff who communicate with Relevant Customers receive training on how to identify a Complaint.
4. A Regulated Provider must allow Relevant Customers to make Complaints by at least the following three means:
(a) a Telephone Number which is either a ‘free to call’ number or a number charged at the equivalent of a geographic call rate;
(b) a UK postal address; and
(c) either an email address or an internet web page form dedicated to allowing Relevant Customers to lodge Complaints.
5. The means by which a Regulated Provider accepts Complaints:
(a) must be well publicised and readily available; and
(b) should not unduly deter Relevant Customers from making a Complaint.
As of today, this gives less than two months to set up a telephone number starting 01, 02, 03 or 080 for this purpose.
Would be interesting how giffgaff handles this. As the only kind of line for giffgaff, it would be abused by most who want instand resolutions to problems instead of going through the community, social media team or the agents.
Dont know how they would handle it. Probably instituting a telephone option system flowchart as in
1- have you searched forums?
2- Have you asked the community?
3- contacted agents - and then sub sections here to get through to the complaints team.
Or straight to 3- and it’s sub sections there.
Would be interesting.
Does ofcom accept that a "complaint" is (or ought to be) something very substantially different from a "I have a problem" query?
In principle, it ought to understand that difference because ombudsman services will usually not investigate complaints referred to it until the complainer has tried to use all other methods available and allowed a reasonable time (usually weeks or months) for the company to try to resolve the problem.
If ofcom accepts that there is a major distinction between complaints and problems, then it ought to be possible for an answering service to request that the member keys in the agent report ID and then either connect the call (if the ID matches an agent report that's old enough to justify a potential complaint) or promise to call the member back "on the xxth Novober" if the report isn't yet old enough to invoke the complaints procedure. Meanwhile the agent can be prodded to try to resolve the problem efficiently before that date.