1. Policy purpose
1.1 The Debt Counsellors Charitable Trust (TDC) aims to ensure that clients are the overall focus of the services we provide, as such effective communication is vital.
1.2 This policy has been developed to detail TDC commitment in ensuring that we are consistent in delivering the highest quality, customer focused service via exceptional communication mechanisms.
2.0 Policy scope
2.1 This policy is concerned with customer communication in all areas of TDC, including telephony, written correspondence, web site information, social media communication and TDC publications (i.e. reports).
2.2 TDC recognises that customer communication is a two way process and being such this policy address the provision of information to TDC customers and the involvement of customers through methods of consultation and feedback.
3.0 Policy objectives
3.1 TDC recognises that the following objectives are integral to the understanding and provision of effective customer communication:
3.1.1 Develop a genuine approach to the cooperation and partnership of customer
3.1.2 Develop a thorough understanding of our customers and their needs by providing opportunities for customers to inform us of their needs
3.1.3 Utilise effective communication with customers to maintain continual service improvements
3.1.4 Enable customer communication in the most accessible way possible via a variety of communication channels
3.1.5 Ensure customer communication is consistent, fair, clear and accurate, and not misleading, at all times via all communication methods
3.1.6 Recognise customer individuality and diversity
3.1.7 Comply with accessibility and usability principles
3.1.8 Regular review of the effectiveness of the TDC customer communications policy
4.0 TDC customers
4.1 TDC customers comprise of a large demographic as TDC operate a free debt advice service to any person within England and Wales. Whilst TDC recognises that within this customer group there may be specific needs and characteristics, our approach to service provision is that all services are intended, and inclusive, for all users.
5.0 Communicating with our customers
5.1 In the effort to ensure customer communication is of the highest quality TDC aims to:
5.1.1 Treat all customers with courtesy, patience, sensitivity and attentiveness.
5.1.2 Recognise the individual needs of each client
5.1.3 Provide information, advice and support that is consistent, clear, fair and not misleading. Avoiding jargon and technical terminology where possible.
5.1.4 Ensure sensitivity to any language or communication difficulties experienced by a customer when providing information, advice or support.
5.1.5 Take every possible step to ensure an information or advice given is understood.
5.1.6 Maintain acceptable language styles and format regardless of the communication channel used (i.e. ensure language formality doesn’t reduce when using e-mail).
5.1.7 Respond to any communication request at the next available opportunity with the aim of preventing the client from having to request contact for a second time.
5.1.8 Answer a customer’s call in the first instance where possible.
5.1.9 Prevent from placing a customer on hold unless necessary and ensure minimum length of hold time.
5.1.10 Ensure the customer is able to progress their case with the same advisor where possible to maintain consistency.
5.1.11 Ensure information or advice is also provided in a written format.
5.1.12 Enable the customer to choose how they would like to communicate with the service (i.e. via e-mail or the phone, etc.)
6.0 Customer feedback
6.1 TDC believes it is important to obtain feedback from customers to ensure we are communicating in the most effective and desired way. TDC provides continual informal opportunities for client feedback throughout the advice giving process and any feedback obtained is recorded
6.2 TDC also provides a customer feedback survey at the point of case closure. These responses are also centrally recorded and used for future service improvements.
7.0 Monitoring of communication
7.1 TDC undertakes regular monitoring to ensure that case work and case management is effectively undertaken, this includes ensuring that communication meets the standards detailed at all times. All calls are recorded for training and monitoring purposes.
7.2 Please see the TDC case review procedure for further details.