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Noise Code - Complaint Management

Excellence in noise complaint management is the second key principle of the Noise Code for Licensed Premises.

By following the best practice guide and pro-actively introducing considerate neighbour-based noise controls the likelihood of your business receiving complaints should be reduced. However, if you do receive a noise complaint, our Noise Code encourages you to act on feedback from the local community in a positive and professional manner. Complaint management should be seen as an extension of your overall customer service.

There are significant benefits for businesses who operate in this way:

  • Helps maintain a professional reputation within the community.
  • Businesses that have good customer service are far more likely to be successful and profitable.
  • Dealing with complaints in a prompt and professional manner can save time and money.
  • Creates goodwill with neighbours.
  • Neighbours may be less likely to make a formal noise complaint to the local authority.

Larger businesses may already have procedures in place that they wish their staff to follow when dealing with complaints. This complaint guide is not intended to replace this, but to strengthen any procedure if it is felt necessary.

General points to consider when aiming for excellence in noise complaint management

  • Noise can be an emotive subject. Try to keep calm when dealing with the complainant and carrying out any investigation. The object is to move away from confrontational approaches, as they are ineffective and can quite often inflame the situation.

  • Take responsibility for the complaint. Let the complainant know who will be dealing with their complaint and when they can expect to hear back and retain records of relevant details. Keep the complainant informed of your action and explain any delays.

  • Carry out your own investigation so you get to understand the complaint. For example, is the new refrigeration unit noisy late at night? Try listening late at night from near the boundary of your premises.

  • The response times to complaints needs to be reasonable and proportionate. For example, if the disturbance is affecting a significant number of residents sleep, then your response needs to be immediate. Longer response times can be given for lesser disturbances.

  • Staff training. It is good practice to have a written procedure for dealing with complaints, even if you are a small business. It doesn't have to be a large and complicated document - keep it simple. It's important staff are made aware of the procedure and trained /understand their role.

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