Certification Information for Employers

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SOCAP Complaints Professional Certification

National recognition for complaints professionals is now available through SOCAP Australia

Having national certified complaints professionals in your team identifies your organisation as a leader in customer care and complaints management with a professional team working to a national standard of best practice certified by the complaints management membership association, SOCAP Australia.

The provision of continuing professional development points provides for ongoing learning and professional growth for your team members from frontline staff to senior management with certification requiring 100 CPD points for attainment and renewal every two years.

Professional development through CPD can be matched to your organisation’s particular workforce learning needs, with all CPD required to meet the competencies in the SOCAP Australian Competency and Ethical Framework for Complaint Professionals.

This allows organisations to structure learning and development across teams, business units and whole of organisations.

For more information on how your organisation can get involved in certification, contact certification@socap.org.au

The ground breaking scheme shape the complaints management industry  through its recognition of  excellence so that all consumer affairs and complaints management professionals, and the general public, benefit from high standards of practice and build on the value of the professional and a quality industry standard.

The scheme, launched in August 2015 is a national recognition of the profession, and the knowledge, skills and ethical understandings intrinsic to the consumer affairs professional’s role. It raises the awareness and value of the role the consumer affairs professional play in their business.

The national certification scheme is open to all complaint professionals and SOCAP members, who through application and on meeting certification will be recognised as certified SOCAP Australia Complaint Professionals and can use the post nominal SOCAP CP.

SOCAP Australia developed the Scheme as part of its commitment to recognising and building levels of competency in the professionals who deal with complaints and consumer affairs and to recognise the value of the profession as central to quality customer care and service.

In Australia over the past 20 years, there has been an increasing focus on the policies and processes used in complaint handling and Australian Standards and industry and government guides have been developed to create better approaches in recognition that effective complaint handling requires systems, processes and people, oriented towards the responsive, respectful and meaningful resolution of issues.

However, despite this work, there has been little focus on the people who deal with complaints.

It is this ‘human’ dimension of complaint handling that is central to the Certification Scheme which has been designed to support positive human interaction by recognising and building levels of competency in the people who deal with complaints.

An important dimension in supporting effective complaint handling is recognising that professionals who deal with complaints need the relevant knowledge, skills and ethical understandings to do this work and that these competencies serve to reinforce and promote the professionalism that exists in the sector.

The certification scheme has two components:

  • Recognition and Certification; and
  • Standards and Competencies

The standards and competencies set out the knowledge, skills and ethical requirements that must be met to be certified as a complaint professional and require continuing professional development, with certification to be renewed every two years.

To gain certification as a SOCAP Complaint Professional, applicants must meet the competencies identified in the SOCAP Australia Australian Competency and Ethical Framework for Complaint Professionals and attain 100 points of competency.

To maintain certification applicants must show they have attained 100 points of continual professional development (CPD) learning every two years.

Workplace demonstration of the learning competencies, is an integral component of the scheme and will be assessed upon each applicant submitting a Supervisor’s reference to align theory and practice.

Applicants can apply to be certified depending on the length of their industry service, with recognition of prior learning being accepted.

CPD points can be tallied from compulsory and elective units and include modes of learning such as face-to-face workshops, conference attendance, literature reading, mentoring, attending communities of practice and in-house professional development.

Two certification components have been specially developed for the program, as a result of member consultation: the requirement for ongoing Ethics continuing professional development; and the need for new entrants to the profession to have access to comprehensive complaints handling education and resources.

SOCAP offers an Ethics for Complaints Handlers education series available for all applicants and a Customer Service and Complaint Management 101 Workshop for those just starting their career in complaints and consumer affairs. The Scheme Handbook, steps out the process through application, assessment and certification.

To apply for certification send an email to certification@socap.org.au or call the SOCAP office on 02 8095 6426.

Competencies of Complaints Professionals

KNOWLEDGE, in areas including, but not limited to:

  • The principles, stages, and functions of the complaint process
  • The roles and functions of a complaint professional
  • Communication styles and negotiation techniques, particularly in the context of complaints
  • How to begin, conduct and terminate a complaint process
  • Procedural fairness
  • Language and cultural differences that may affect the complaint process
  • The needs of disadvantaged or vulnerable persons
  • Mental distress and its effect on behaviour
  • Power imbalance and its effect on negotiations
  • The internal rules, products and systems of the professional’s organisation and how the complaint process relates to internal structures
  • Referral options, pathways and process alternatives
  • Case management, reporting, and data capture techniques that track complainants, complaints and systemic issues of the organisation
  • The legislative, regulatory and industry frameworks that govern complaints
  • Legal ramifications and other risk factors that may be present in the complaint process

 

SKILLS, in areas including, but not limited to:

  • Communication, including listening, questioning, reflecting and summarising
  • Tone of voice and demeanour
  • Connecting with customers and colleagues
  • Problem solving
  • Flexibility with process
  • Analysis and systems thinking
  • Issues diagnosis and identifying ‘root’ causes and interests
  • Resourcefulness
  • Negotiation
  • Matching a complainant with effective referrals and pathway options
  • Responding appropriately to those who speak different languages, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable
  • Identifying when a complainant may intend harm to self or others
  • Recognising when the complainant or the organisation is acting in bad faith
  • When and how to terminate the complaint process
  • Self-awareness and self-management; social awareness and social management (i.e. emotional intelligence)
  • Resilience and self-care
  • Respect for self and others
  • Patience

 

ETHICAL UNERSTANDINGS, in areas including, but not limited to:

  • Neutrality and impartiality
  • Transparency and fairness
  • Conflicts of interest and bias
  • Balancing the needs of the customer with those of the organisation
  • Cultural differences and the vulnerable and disadvantaged
  • Confidentiality, privacy and reporting obligations
  • Withdrawal from and termination of the complaint process
  • Anonymous complaints
  • Unethical or illegal conduct of the professional’s organisation

 

Certification credit points

TOTAL 100 POINTS REQUIRED

Category A (40 points each)

  • Supervisor reference*
  • SOCAP Complaint Handlers Ethics Course*
  • Training course attendance and successful completion – coursework matched to the Australian Competency and Ethical Framework for Professional Complaint Handling provided by SOCAP Australia or external provider, if approved by SOCAP Australia
  • Conference attendance and certificate of attainment – coursework matched to the Australian Competency and Ethical Framework for Professional Complaint Handling provided by SOCAP Australia or external provider, if approved by SOCAP Australia

 

Category B (20 points each)

  • On the job training
  • Mentoring of workplace activity/team/individual – up to 10 hours within two years
  • In house training
  • SOCAP Community of Practice attendance

 

Category C (10 points each, with no more than 30 points to be chosen from this category in each renewable period)

  • Reading material
  • Community activities
  • Online Community activities
  • Peer Reference