Stairlift giant Acorn Mobility has apparently managed to develop more effective customer services and complaint handling processes and remain compliant because of help from Trading Standards.
A Primary Authority scheme, providing support and advice to Acorn, is aiming to help the mobility provider safeguard its business reputation and keep regulatory costs to a minimum.
The support is being delivered by Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTS) and has supported the organisation to reduce the number of complaints it receives.
Trading Standards support has helped the business to put more resources into developing its ambitions and growth of its operations, according to a new case study.
The advice provided by Wakefield Council is supposed to protect consumers at the same time as protecting business reputations and enabling firms like Acorn to grow.
In May, the BHTA said it would investigate Acorn after claims were made that it used pressure sales tactics and ‘badmouthed’ competition.
A Which? mystery shopping exercise found that salespeople used pressure tactics on two separate occasions and made ‘dubious claims’ that Acorn’s products were the ‘most reliable available’.
In 2016 Acorn Mobility Services was ‘Highly Commended’ in the national Primary Authority Awards, becoming the first company in the mobility equipment sector to receive the accolade.
Acorn’s UK customer service manager, Catherine Beecroft, said: “Customer satisfaction, being fair and transparent, is central to our business ethos. Working in partnership with West Yorkshire Trading Standards helps us to act out our business ethos.
“WYTS really understand our business DNA. Acorn always strives to conduct business within regulations and remain compliant and it’s nice to know there’s always a helping hand to offer impartial advice and guidance.”
The case study read: “The business was keen to use its partnership with WYTS to develop its complaints handling and customer services standards.
“Thanks to training and guidance from WYTS, the team at the business better understand how the Consumer Rights Act 2015 affects their work.
“This has helped the business avoid problems related to how it markets its products. The business can be more confident that it is compliant and can focus its resources more effectively.”
The Primary Authority partnership with WYTS also helps businesses to identify any areas of concern and improve its procedures in order to avoid future risk.
WYTS informs the firm of any calls made to Citizens Advice about the business’ products and services, aiming to allow the company to nip potential problems in the bud.
WYTS also writes to consumers requesting permission to forward their details so the company can investigate any issues.
In its latest financial year, Acorn Stairlifts increased its turnover by 20% to nearly £212m in what was another record year of growth for the company.
The group’s operating profit also increased from £19,000 to £22,000 while the company’s headcount grew by 178 to 1,485 employees, according to an annual report for the year ended 30 September 2017.