MacKay Hannah

Consumers, Customers and Complaints in Scotland: Protecting Reputation, Avoiding Regulators and Delivering Excellence

Thu 22nd Apr 2021

, Edinburgh

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This conference addresses the challenge of meeting customer and consumer expectations in Scotland for all those operating in the public and private sectors where the consumption of services and products involves pre-empting, engaging with, resolving or disputing complaints.

In the data, digital and increasingly ‘open’ age, consumers – whether of public services or private goods - have a power never previously known. Associated particularly with the online presence delivered by social media and shared public reviews – but also with a wide range of sector and service specific regulators – the growing power of the consumer experience can literally break organisations and individual careers if mishandled or ignored.

A core challenge for all organisations therefore is retaining customer and consumer trust by preventing complaints and dissatisfaction before they arise, dealing effectively with them when they do and using the complaints experience to reshape services, products and relationships with consumers in future.

The Scottish Government is taking steps to ensure that consumers are well informed, protected and advised – raising the challenge for service providers still higher. New Scottish Government legislation will create ‘Consumer Scotland’ by 2021 - a new advocacy and advice body for consumers in Scotland. The Scottish Government has said that: “Consumer Scotland will work to: reduce consumer harm in Scotland, increase Scottish consumers’ confidence in dealing with businesses that supply goods and services to them, increase the extent to which consumers matters are taken into account by Scottish public authorities." Programme for Government, Scottish Government, 3rd September 2019

This conference will support your organisation in understanding the wider strategic picture on consumer expectations, behaviour and engagement, in addressing complaints effectively while building consumer trust and finally in anticipating the core drivers which will shape future consumer behaviour and relationships with providers of public and private services.

The conference is structured in three parts:

  • Customers, Legislation and Regulation: Context
  • Customers, Consumers and Complaints: Best Practice
  • What is Coming Next and What You Need to Know

Benefits of attending

  • See the picture of how consumers, customers and complaints practice has developed in Scotland
  • Hear from experts in the field of regulation on their perspective in protecting consumers
  • Examine what the new Consumer Scotland body will mean for complaints and rights
  • Study best practice in valuing complaints and dealing with complaint handling
  • Understand more redress, apology and early intervention
  • Learn more about how to understand what your consumer or customer really wants
  • Find out the importance of the social media age and the impact of shared reviews
  • Assess the importance of how future services will change – particularly around trust and co-production
  • Explore the impact of AI, data and digital on engaging with consumers and customers
  • Discuss what the public thinks about rights, services and complaints

Who should attend

This conference will be relevant for anyone involved in pre-empting, engaging with, resolving or disputing complaints from customers and consumers of public, private and Third sector services. It is also for anyone with a role in designing, planning or modernising the way in which services are delivered, understanding how consumers of services want services to be delivered, protecting and enhancing the reputation of their organisation, managing public relations and the media and social media presence of their organisation and for those in policy and decision-making organisational and service leadership roles in public, private and Third sector bodies.

This includes those delivering all public services such as housing, health and social care, employment and benefits services, local government, emergency services, education, all quangos and NDPBs, further and higher education, executive and non-executive Board members, private sector companies and businesses and Third sector organisations.

In particular it is for those involved in dispute and complaint management but is also for anyone with a direct or indirect role in the public, private or Third sector in dealing with customers, their expectations of services and products standards and managing the response when the relationship with consumers and customers enters – or threatens to enter – the dispute stage.


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Refreshing venue and stimulating topic. Well organised and great presentations. Thank you.

Dorothy Armstrong - SPSO,
Delegate: Behavioural Insights & Scottish Public Services Conference

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