We are passionate about providing excellent service when we deal with our customers although we do recognise that sometimes we get things wrong or are not able to help our customers in the way they would like. We treat any expression of dissatisfaction seriously and value feedback which may help us identify where we can improve what we do. Occasionally complaints are made in a way that can cause considerable disruption to our work, cost us more time to handle and impact the health and welfare of our staff because of the unreasonable behaviour of the customer making the complaint.
This policy explains our approach to recognising and handling customers whose behaviour is unreasonable. It applies to all staff members engaged to work with customers, whether by direct contact or via other methods.
We will always ensure that we meet our obligations under the Equality Act 2010 to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled customers. In some circumstances, customers may have a disability that makes it difficult for them to either express themselves or communicate clearly and/or appropriately. Where there is an indication that this may be the case, we will consider the needs and circumstances of the customer before deciding on how best to manage the situation.
There may be occasions where an individual’s behaviour puts the wellbeing of our Customer Support staff at risk. Unreasonable behaviour could occur in any interaction with any member of staff and not just in the context of a general complaint about Dovetail Games.
We recognise that people will often express themselves strongly and communicate the emotions they are experiencing at the time. We also realise that the matters that customers contact us about can be highly frustrating and there may be other factors influencing their behaviour (life issues such as bad news, undesirable effects they have no control over, etc).
We will not view the behaviour of anyone using Customer Support as unreasonable simply because their communication is forthright or because they are determined in their approach. Our staff are trained to handle interactions with customers appropriately and are expected to make reasonable allowance for their behaviour.
On occasion, however, the behaviour of our customers may go beyond what is reasonably acceptable. Examples of such unreasonable behaviour may include (this list is not exhaustive):
- Verbal abuse
- Derogatory or insulting personal remarks
- Harassment based on their personal characteristics e.g. racist, sexist or homophobic behaviour
- Obscene remarks
- Making inflammatory statements e.g. 'You are incompetent and should be sacked'
- Derogatory, abusive or insulting comments made about staff online
- Harassing, abusing or threatening Customer Support staff on their personal social networks
- Physical intimidation or aggression
Some of the behaviours outlined here are unlawful and we will consider whether these should be formally reported to the policing authorities in the individual's country of residence.
Our duty to our staff
These situations are not common, but when they do happen we will take action to restrict or end our communication. We do this because our staff must be able to carry out their work without harassment and it is our expectation that they should be treated respectfully and with courtesy - in the same way that we expect them to interact with our customers.
We have a duty to protect our staff and to be mindful of their welfare and safety. We take any threat of violence seriously and will bring any contact with the customer to an end. We will also report such threats to the policing authorities in the individual's country of residence.
We consider violence to include any communication or behaviour that may cause a member of staff to feel afraid, threatened or abused.
Responding to Unreasonable Behaviour
Deciding if a customer has behaved unreasonably
If a member of staff feels a customer is behaving unreasonably they must bring it to the attention of their manager. The manager will discuss it with the member of staff, investigate the circumstances and may seek the advice and guidance of a relevant Director or other senior business officials before deciding upon the appropriate action to take.
Options for restricting future contact
Where a decision is made that a customer has behaved unreasonably, the customer will be advised that if their behaviour continues, their contact with Customer Support will be discontinued or restricted. If the individual’s behaviour is not modified they will be notified that their contact with us is discontinued or restricted as considered appropriate.
Regardless of whether a customer behaved unreasonably, in most circumstances, we will leave a means of contact open. We do not wish to hinder an individual’s rights to legitimately and appropriately use Customer Support but such requests will be strictly controlled. Any restriction on future communication is only a control on how such complaints can be made in a way that does not impact on Customer Support staff.
Any restriction on contact is a position of last resort. The 'door' will always be left open for the individual concerned to make contact via a defined route if access to Customer Support is needed. We will clearly communicate this to the person concerned and will reconsider the position if s/he agrees to communicate in an appropriate way.
How might we restrict future contact
There are a range of options available, depending on the circumstances and the type of behaviour
- Requiring the customer to contact a named staff member(s) only;
- Restricting contact to specified days and times, as agreed with the customer;
- Terminating further contact if the customer becomes aggressive, abusive or offensive. We will politely ask them to modify their behaviour, but if the behaviour continues we will tell them again that it is unacceptable and end support. The manager of the member of staff involved will then send a written warning, with a view to limiting future communication further;
- Restricting the issues we will correspond on;
- If the customer sends us a large volume of irrelevant materials or documentation;
- If we have already fully explained our reasons for the decision and the customer has exhausted the procedure to request a review of that decision, we will decline to respond to further correspondence which does not raise new issues. The correspondence will be read but we will not acknowledge it unless it provides significant new information or evidence relating to the matter;
- We will actively block messages if the number and length of messages sent causes difficulties for our process;
- We will not respond to correspondence which is abusive or offensive;
- If the customer makes a large number of reports to us which prove to be unfounded, we may ask that in future any further allegations are supported by an independent third-party such as a legal representative or an advocate, to ensure that in future our staff resources are spent in a proportionate way.
Physical violence, verbal abuse, threats or harassment against our staff will not be tolerated and will be reported to the policing authorities in the individual's country of residence, who may decide to prosecute.
Challenging a restriction on future contact
If any individual wishes to challenge a decision made in relation to this policy then they may do so by contacting us at http://www.dovetailgames.com/contact.