It is the purpose of our roles to deliver exceptional customer service to all our customers, whether that be residents, leaseholders, or clients. We understand that managing people’s homes requires dealing with customers that have an emotional investment and this can sometimes cause distress and make dealing with customers difficult. We are prepared and have tools to enable us to ease such conversations and provide effective resolutions to these problems.
Occasionally, however, there may be instances when we deal with an individual whose behavior is considered unreasonable. We have a duty to ensure that our staff is properly protected, in accordance with our health and safety obligations and our general responsibility to safeguard their welfare. We do not expect our staff to tolerate unreasonable behavior.
What is unreasonable behavior?
Unreasonable behaviour is any behavior that is deemed unacceptable, the various forms of which are detailed below. We do not view behavior as unreasonable just because a person is forceful or determined. However, we do consider behavior that results in unreasonable demands of our staff, or unreasonably distresses our staff, to be unacceptable.
Wherever possible, we will give the person the opportunity to change their behaviour or action before a decision is taken. In the event that action needs to be taken to deal with unreasonable behaviour, we will make a detailed note of events, including the unreasonable behaviour and any action taken to mitigate it. This will be recorded in a central register and will be done as soon as possible after the event. We may choose to record phone calls to company phones. When this is the case, we will give clear notice and subsequent reminders.
Forms of unreasonable behaviour
We deem the following behaviour to be unacceptable when liaising with our staff:
• Being unreasonably persistent – for example, ringing frequently to raise points already addressed; sending voluminous repetitive or irrelevant emails or letters; (Note that there is no set period for being unreasonably persistent as the nature of the persistence will inevitably vary. However, depending on the circumstances, we will consider whether a person is being unreasonably persistent by assessing the frequency of persistence over a period of 3, 6 and 12 months).
• Rudeness – swearing (generally or directed at a member of staff), persistent interruption, name-calling, or general discourtesy.
• Anger – in volume or tone of voice, such as shouting.
• Aggressive behaviour – threats of physical harm to person(s) or property; behaviour that indicates that physical harm to person(s) or property is imminent or actual physical aggression.
• Insulting or disparaging remarks or comments – especially on the grounds of an individual’s sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, belief, or age.
• Inflammatory remarks or personal remarks directed at staff
These are examples and not a definitive list of unacceptable behaviours. There are other behaviours not included in the above which may constitute unacceptable behaviour.
Dealing with unreasonable behaviour
We may choose to deal with unreasonable behaviour by any of the following means:
• Call Termination – Where a person behaves unreasonably during a telephone call to a member of staff, we will ask them to change their behaviour. If they persist in behaving unreasonably, we will warn them that we will terminate the call. If they persist further, we will follow that through. The staff member who terminates the call may report this to a senior figure within the company, and a written note of the telephone conversation will be made and logged.
• Limiting Contact – Where a person is unreasonably persistent, for example by telephoning us several times a day for a number of days in succession, or by sending us voluminous or repetitive emails or letters, we will ask them to reduce their contact with the office to that which is absolutely essential. If our request is ignored, we will take steps to limit their contact with the office. Such steps might include requiring contact in a particular form – for example by letter only; requiring telephone contact on specified days or at specified times; or insisting that contact is only made with specific staff member(s) or through a third party to contact us on the persons behalf.
• Terminating Contact – In exceptional circumstances, we may refuse to have further contact with individuals who are unreasonably persistent or abusive. Where we put limitations on contact with the office, this will be sanctioned by a senior figure within the company.
• Informing the Authorities – Where we receive threats against individual staff members/voluntary advisers or office property, immediate action may be taken including informing the police or other emergency services.
Through the above measures, we have taken steps to recognise and safeguard our staff from unreasonable behaviour.
John Bishop – Director Colin Bibra
Ealing Broadway Office