As a RESNET home energy rater, providing customer service, answering questions and resolving conflicts are all par for the course. Yet without the proper care, a mishandled complaint could lead to an insurance claim. It’s a risk that’s ever-present for business owners and one it’s important to manage. Prioritize All Client Grievances Despite how accurate and thorough your inspections are, some clients may still dislike or disagree with the findings. But even if the complaint seems to be exaggerated or unwarranted, it is very important to take it seriously. Prioritize addressing all such grievances, whenever they are raised by a client. Proper handling of complaints may allow you to avoid it leading to an insurance claim. Prevent Client Complaints with Communication Many home energy raters find they can reduce the number of client complaints with effective communication. By communicating before, during and after the service with your client, you can set yourself up for success, avoiding most confusion or ill will. Communication also gives you an opportunity to resolve any questions upfront. Try these tips to manage client complaints before they occur: Set expectations before the service and inspection. Remind clients that an inspection is not a warranty. While this seems self-explanatory to most, it’s important to be clear about the limitations of a home energy rating service. Ensure the client receives written documentation about the scope of the home energy rating inspection. Be specific about what is and is not included. Having these details in writing proves the client knew what to expect from the start. Reiterate in person at the time of service what the inspection will entail. Share exactly what you will do during the inspection and what it can and cannot reveal. By providing oral and written communication to the clients about the service before, during and after the inspection, you can help set yourself up for success by giving clients an overview of your services in multiple formats. Manage Client Complaints Even with proper precautions taken and procedures followed, complaints can still occur. In this case, proper documentation is key. If one of your clients does make a complaint, follow these steps: Acknowledge the client’s complaint in a timely manner. Ignoring complaints does not make the issue go away and will likely worsen the situation. Communicate with the client to get all the details you need and document these details in writing. Visit the property and document. Schedule a visit to observe the issue. Evaluate the conditions as they exist now versus when you inspected the property. By visiting, you may have the chance to explain why the condition was not discoverable during your initial inspection, or why it was outside the scope of your standards of practice. Share the situation with your insurance company. Even if you think the complaint can be resolved, share the incident with your insurance company as soon as possible so they can work with you to resolve the issue. If the complaint does lead to a claim down the road, they will have all the information they need from the beginning. While it’s true that fielding complaints can be a hassle, managing them the right way is key to the long-term success of your business.