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HMRC internal manual

Complaint Handling Guidance

Preventing complaints

There are things that we can do to prevent complaints arising. This usually means being alert and proactive so that we try to address potential problems at the earliest possible stage. For example, if in the course of your work you notice an error in a customer’s affairs you should correct the error (either yourself or by referring the issue to the appropriate person in the business) and consider any follow up action to avoid similar problems for others.

When correcting the mistake you should also:

  • give the customer a brief, clear explanation of what has caused the problem
  • tell them what you are doing and why you are doing it
  • if it was a mistake or oversight, say so and apologise
  • explain what happens next.

Acting in this way is good customer service, and benefits the business in that it should help to avoid problems escalating. You would not normally record this type of event as a complaint.