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What's the Difference Between Dissatisfaction or a Complaint?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - Posted by Michael McCulloch

As a holder of an Australian Financial Service Licence ("AFSL") you have many obligations including a responsibility to a commitment to improvement and to ensure that all staff are appropriately trained in all aspects of the business including complaint handling.

How do you, however, differentiate between customer dissatisfaction or a complaint?

What is Customer Dissatisfaction?
Generally speaking customer dissatisfaction is where a query or concern is raised. A customer may say that they are unhappy about something but this does not necessarily mean that they are wanting to make a complaint. They could merely be unsatisfied with the service they have received or a previous query they raised hasn't been addressed to their satisfaction. It would be at this point in time that steps are taken to resolve the customers dissatisfaction before their dissatisfaction escalates to a dispute status.


What is a Dispute?
ASIC RG165 provides the following definition:
"A complaint or dispute is an expression of dissatisfaction made to an organisation, related to its products or services, or the complaints handling profess itself, where a response is resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected."


Knowing the difference between dissatisfaction and a dispute can in the long run save the relationship with the customer, avoid what could potentially be a long, costly and drawn out EDR process and ensures that you are meeting your conditions of an AFSL.


You can download a copy of ASIC Regulatory Guide 165 Licensing: Internal and External Dispute Resolution here.

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