Benchmarking Partnerships





  • Residential aged care provider
  • Effective partnership between Consultant and Leadership Team
  • Staff absorbed the work for this project into their existing workloads
  • Started in 2010, implemented 1 year now
  • End to end system
  • Customer focus – residents’ average stay is 6-12 months
  • Clients are vulnerable, they don’t have choices to go somewhere else quickly
  • Focused on managing feedback better from primary (residents) and secondary (families) customers
  • Guided by ABEF and all staff have role to play
  • Aligned to Vision and Strategic Goals
  • Consultative process with customers and staff
  • Provides input on what is Quality for individual clients (enormous variation in needs)
  • The approach is to make it easy and safe to raise concerns


  • ISO & CSIA alignment
  • Leadership team engaged from the start
  • Manager’s prime role
  • All staff a role to play- positive response to feedback
  • Standardised use of forms and process
  • Logical flow of steps in process – cues staff to take appropriate actions
  • Staff training at various points in their careers
  • Training and presentation manual for consistency of information and approach
  • Deployed across all 9 centres – 19 initial training sessions at implementation.  32 follow up communication training workshops for frontline staff. Presented at different times and on different days to different shifts
  • Workshops to build communication skills of staff.
  • Information sessions for families and friends presented at every Centre
  • Change management strategies identified and implemented – Communication; Practice Implementation; Evaluation
  • Understanding the ‘unspoken cues’ that are important, seeking to understand through listening, tone of voice and show that we really care – especially important when many staff and customers have English as second language.


  • Integral to business – part of day-to-day-work
  • Feedback Management System is internally integrated in the organisation
  • Complete system – policies and procedures; new forms; comprehensive electronic log on shared drive; education sheets for staff; cheat sheets; risk assessment matrix; template letters; Training and Presentation Manual.
  • Positive approach - changed from complaints management system to feedback management system
  • Exceeds govt requirements – anticipated outcomes of review of ACCS
  • Brainstorming and critical reflection to harness innovative ideas from staff
  • Includes compliments and suggestions as well as complaints
  • Fairness, accessibility etc principles used
  • Feedback management is core business and helps us to ensure we meet needs of our residents
  • Customers are asked to say what changes they want to see
  • Increased communication with complainant to involve them during resolution process
  • Use of “cheat sheets” for staff to make it easy and consistent
  • Reports to clients / staff to inform them of what changes have occurred as a result of the feedback.
  • Quick fix form – for issues that are sorted out on the spot by staff – captures what they did so systemic problems identified, recorded and appropriate action taken and the learning shared
  • Looking for root causes so that recurrences are avoided
  • Used in marketing package
  • Staff anticipate complaints before they happen and act to prevent them
  • Education strategy – orientation, in-service training, train the trainer, follow up communication workshops
  • Customer Service Charter developed and displayed
  • Balance of lead and lag measures – actively seeking feedback, staff training, customer satisfaction – capacity to better anticipate customer requirements


  • Process trackable in time – where the complaint is at and or resolved
  • Less complaints – its becoming normal practice
  • Demonstrated positive change in staff attitudes
  • Feedback on types of complaints from their centre with staff
  • Reduced number of complaints that are externally escalated to ACCS
  • Not aimed at necessarily reducing number of complaints (want customers to give feedback), but rather reduce escalation and increase satisfaction
  • External benchmarker regularly interviews families about satisfaction – extensive analysis and reporting
  • 62% reduction in no. of complaints escalated to Aged Care Complaints Scheme
  • Increase in quick fix records
  • Sustained improvement in Occupancy levels - increased from 93% to 96.4%
  • Communication measures
  • Industry recognition – Notable Mention Award in 2012 Process Excellence Awards
  • Eligible for CSIA certification


  • One other aged care provider has used this system tailored to their needs
  • Aged Care Association Australia (NSW) – says this is innovative and ticked the boxes (exceeded requirements) of Aged Care Complaints Scheme (ACCS)
  • Positive response from ACCS, NSW
  • Anticipated the ACCS requirements before they were released to industry
  • Modeling our attitude to staff and this has been reflected in a desire to seek/serve better.


  • Ongoing communication strategy – with stakeholders, education for staff, information sessions for families
  • Continue to collect staff feedback on system
  • Looking at role of champions
  • Continuous improvement from staff feedback eg of forms, reviewing and improving processes
  • Next - More electronic as IT system matures
  • More consultations earlier
  • Analysis to be done of complaint resolution process


  • Internal integration – ensuring actions are taken at all levels to avoid recurrence
  • Embedded in processes of organisation
  • Ongoing Change Management strategies – Communication; Practice Implementation; Education
  • Supporting processes were identified and defined:
    - Documentation to support staff processes and information sheets provide guidance to ensure steps are understood and followed.
    - Consistent approach from staff; template letters;
  • Continued engagement with customers and stakeholders
  • Ongoing review and evaluation


  • Literature review – Australia and International – aged care and other service industries
  • Investigated systems used by other aged care providers
  • Looked at current internal practice internal -  use of forms, reports and processes– identified good and poor practice
  • Not externally benchmarked in aged care industry
  • Customer satisfaction
  • External benchmarking company regularly surveys families regarding satisfaction, complaints. In depth analysis and reports.
  • Staff satisfaction and attitudes
  • Feedback and comments from regular Resident and Relative meetings
  • Every complaint is situational – difficult to set hard benchmarks –  look at customer satisfaction; internal processes; staff awareness

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