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The DR Blitz - New complaint handling concepts tested in Dispute Resolution

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is always looking for ways to improve complaint handling methods and procedures. Recently, a Targeted Resolution Team was established to test new dispute resolution tools and concepts, and determine whether these concepts should be implemented as a permanent part of the TIO process.

Lead Investigator Penny Goulding said, “Our team is designed to test the tools and concepts that will allow us to help reduce consumer wait times. The work we do helps us meet the demands of the queue, and keeps consumer and provider experiences positive.”

Recently, the Targeted Resolution Team just completed a six-week ‘DR Blitz’, where Penny manually allocated cases to the Dispute Resolution Officers (DROs) in her team from five different queues. The DROs were allocated 12 cases in the first week, 12 in the second week, and two in the third week.

This was a significant case load for DROs, and resulted in a higher workload for the Targeted Resolution Team.

But those on the team are taking it in their stride. Dispute Resolution Officer Carmela Stagnitti said, “I’m really proud of our team and the level of effort we put in to take on additional workloads to reduce the queues. Everybody is motivated, and we work together and support each other to achieve great things.”

The DR Blitz captured data on the impact on the queues and TIO staff, where or if cases closed, charge rates for members, and the types of consumers coming to the TIO.

Penny said, “We got some really valuable information about the consumers and types of complaints in those queues, and the DROs who were managing such high case loads refined and tested their case management skills. I think we got some good lessons from it and our DROs learnt a lot.”

Assistant Ombudsman of Dispute Resolution Wendy Wang said “I am so impressed by the resilience and collaboration shown by the Targeted Resolution Team. I am keen to understand ways we can sustainably incorporate some of their techniques and learnings in our day-to-day work. I also want to continue developing support and training to help our people manage challenging parties."

Later in the year, the team will test early conciliation conferences (ECC) as part of the dispute resolution process.