Customer disputes can cause havoc. For small businesses, one upset customer doesn’t just ruin your day, it could ruin your life if you don’t handle it carefully. Arguments over unmet expectations, unpaid bills or product quality add to the strain of managing a small business.
Benefits of Mediation for Customer Disputes
Customer disputes that end up in court not only cost money but also potentially lose the customer. Going to court causes stress, takes time and is based on blame. This damages everyone. Mediation, on the other hand, provides a calmer, quicker and less expensive way of resolving difficulties. It may not only resolve the issue, but also rebuild relationships. If it doesn’t work, there is always the option to take things to court. Having taken part in mediation means parties have a clearer understanding of their differences. Courts now expect that mediation has been offered before starting the court process.
So, why don’t more people use mediation?
Because they don’t know what it is
Worry about how much it costs.
Desire to inflict damage on the other party for causing pain
1. What is it?
Mediation offers a chance for everyone involved in the conflict to take time out from formal processes and try a more human approach. With the help of a skilled professional mediator, people are able to talk about difficult issues. It may take place before any formal process or participants may have already started taken legal advice. All parties need to agree to the process (Roundtuit Participant Agreement to Take Part) and to the mediator chosen if it is a formal mediation. For more information, complete the contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. How much does it cost?
The cost of the mediation will vary with the complexity and value of the case. Small claims mediations can often be resolved swiftly over the phone and can cost as little as £50 per person. Larger more complicated cases may need to be dealt with face to face. Online mediation provides the convenience and reduces the cost, but is not suitable for all cases. To arrange a free confidential exploration discussion and estimate, complete the contact form or email email@example.com.
3. What are the principles?
Confidential: Everything that happens in the meeting is confidential. There are exceptions to this, for example, if there is a child protection issue, if someone is in immediate danger, or if someone has benefited financially from a crime. We will also co-operate with court orders.
Voluntary: The participants choose whether or not they want to use mediation. They are free to withdraw at any time. Mediation is non-binding; the parties are responsible for keeping any agreements they make. Some mediated agreements become legally binding court orders.
Non-judgemental: Mediators do not make judgments about the situation or tell the parties what to do.
Independent: Mediators are independent of the dispute and don’t take sides. They help both parties equally.
4. What happens at mediation?
First, the mediator speaks with each person involved in the situation individually. These sessions are confidential. Each participant is encouraged to give their view, and express their needs. The mediator helps the person reflect on how to express this so that the other participants can understand.
Then, when all participants are ready and willing to talk to each other, the mediator arranges a joint session. This is ideally in a neutral venue.They may be in the same room talking together with the mediator present or in different rooms with the mediator moving between them. This is also the case on-line with a virtual meeting.
At the end of the mediation, the mediator documents any agreements or actions. When there is no agreement, the mediator provides a statement of where things have ended. It is up to the parties with whom they share it. In the case of payment by an employer or third party, the parties in the mediation agree what information may be shared with this person.
5. What does a mediator do?
Nancy Radford describes herself as a SatNav, translator and pacifier. First, she listens until the person feels heard and understood. This process helps people figure out what is important and what the issues are. She highlights similarities and differences. She keeps things on track by focussing on solutions and the future.Then, she helps participants explore issues and discuss options. This skilled management of the meeting helps the participants understand each other. Nancy also provides tools to help people manage their emotions and provides a safe place for discussion.
6. What if the other person doesn’t want to mediate?
Mediation needs both parties agreement. However, Nancy also offers conflict coaching to help you manage this situation and give you skills for future confrontations.
Some tips on dealing with customer disputes if you feel mediation isn’t needed yet.