Mediator’s Diary: E-mediation as a form of ADR - advantages and challenges - we speak from personal experience - Part 4

In the first part of this series, dedicated to e-mediation, we discussed its advantages due to the fact that it is online, namely flexibility, convenience, economy. Every web-based service has these characteristics, such is the case with the electronic platform of the ADR Center NAIS- Then we talked about the advantages due to its written form - efficiency, effectiveness, creativity.

We also talked about the values ​​of public importance that e-mediation brings: social responsibility and security for the health of the participants.

We will not hide, e-mediation has its challenges, which mostly reflect not on the mediator - the person who facilitates the negotiations, without interfering with his own views and beliefs, without providing ready decisions and advice. The person who subtly and skillfully guides the process and seeks all possible opportunities to bring it to a successful conclusion - agreement and preserved relations between the parties. In consumer mediation, the highest form of success is not just the agreement, but the customer to stay loyal to the trader. It has been proven long ago by formulas that a new customer costs at least 5 times as much as an old one. So, a well-reached agreement saves a lot of money for the trader. The benefit for the consumer is that he will not have to go through the decision-making process again to choose a retailer or a new replacement product. In the psychology of consumer behavior this process is studied in great detail and in many situations it is not easy for the buyer - it takes effort and time, and in cases where she does not make the right decision, it leads to mental tension, called post-purchase dissonance.  More on the topic can be read in our article WHERE IN THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY STANDS THE ADR - PART 2.

Challenges in e-mediation: Fully virtual communication can make it difficult to build trust between parties.

The lack of live contact, the lack of non-verbal body language, facial expressions and gestures in written communication hinder the development of a real and complete picture of the behavior, messages, true emotional state and preferences of the parties. Accordingly, this disturbs the openness of the contact, the trust in the transparency of the procedure.

In addition to the pandemic situation and the urgent need for people to communicate more and more in writing, the style of letters and emoticons help to some extend. When we upgraded our platform, one of the new features was exactly this - in the chat to be able to use styles and emoticons to help the parties express their emotions.

Building trust is especially important for successful mediation, which is why the mediator's skills in conducting e-mediation are essential.

She is expected to have an expressive speech, well worded, and able to motivate the parties in writing. It depends on her skills whether the parties will reveal everything that is important for the procedure and remain active long enough to generate proposals for a solution and whether the trader's desire to stay until the end of the procedure will be strong enough. In Bulgaria, companies are not very enthusiastic about participating in alternative consumer dispute resolution. They do not think there is a need for this method. Most rely on the lack of activity of dissatisfied customers and rely on the fact that their complaint will not be filed at the Consumer Protection Commission- CPC. However, most users are also not very aware of the presence of ADR, and even more so about the presence of ODR and often the complaints go directly to the CPC. For this reason, many cases end with inspections by the institution and sanctions, because once an inspection is initiated on a signal, violations of the Consumer Protection Law as well as the new Law about Providing Digital Content, Digital Services and Sale of Goods are easily identified.


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If you are a trader and you like mediation as a way to find a solution to complex complaint cases quickly, easily, economically, while maintaining relationships with your customers, you can register in the ODR platform of the European Union.

Published on 18.07.2022 Back to news