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75% of complaints resolved in a single conference call: Direct Conciliation project

Tackling reduced wait times for escalated complaints and increasing accessibility to the TIO’s services has been a focus for the Dispute Resolution Team over the past few months. The TIO’s Direct Conciliation Conference (DCC) project, which begun in mid 2021, found getting all parties on a phone call early in the complaint handling process resolves complaints quickly and effectively.

Directed by a small team of TIO Dispute Resolution Officers, the project saw 75% of complaints resolved in a single conference call, and 91% of complaints resolved with a small amount of follow up work. In addition, a high proportion of the remaining complainants agreed on a pathway to resolution during the conference call.

Dispute Resolution Officer and lead trainer for the project, Nicole Botterill, said, “Consumers should have access to a dispute resolution service which resolves issues quickly, fairly and effectively. This project has showed us that facilitating a conference call earlier in the process resolves complaints sooner. And internal and external stakeholders told us they are more satisfied with the outcome after a conference call.”

Nicole continued, “The team is really passionate about the DCC project because we know it works. The DCC project emphasises the value of open and clear communication, which is important in any setting, not just alternative dispute resolution.”

The project has resulted in shorter waiting periods for consumers to access the TIO’s service, and has achieved outcomes where both consumers and telcos agree on a resolution much earlier in the process.

Principal Investigator and Project Manager Mark Bormanis said, “There has been a high demand for the TIO’s dispute resolution service. The DCC project contributes to reducing the time consumers and providers wait, meaning that people can get to a resolution faster.”

Bormanis’s goal is to see all consumers with complaints in the Dispute Resolution area use conference calls in the resolution process as soon as possible. “We hope more providers will see the value of the DCC project and work with us to implement broad change in our complaint handling process.”