What is it: in a customer service context, root cause analysis is a process for identifying the main causes of service issues or complaints and proactively remedying these to improve the customer experience.
Why it matters: reducing the number of complaints, issues and questions customers ask increases customer satisfaction and enhances efficiency – leading to more loyal customers and a lower cost to serve. Root cause analysis gives you a structure to achieve this, helping you identify the symptoms, implement fixes and report back to the business on recurring issues affecting your customers’ experience.
According to our latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index, organisations are taking longer to resolve complaints, more problems remain unresolved, and satisfaction with resolutions is falling. Root cause analysis is aimed at reducing the number of complaints and improving resolution rates.
Implications for the business: Proactively addressing the causes of regular customer issues or complaints will reduce costs for a business by lowering the number of incoming calls or activity through different channels. It will also allow staff more time to address other issues or be available to support projects that look to improve the customer experience in different areas.
Other Names: There are other terms for this process, including problem management, event analysis or critical event analysis – you may already be doing root cause analysis under another guise.
Who is responsible for root cause analysis? This depends on the size and structure of the organisation and the resources available. There needs to be clarity around who is responsible for each part of the process. Ultimately, the whole organisation has a part to play, with those on the frontline being responsible for identifying and escalating regular issues.
Considerations: there are a number of challenges with root cause analysis. One common issue is embedding a consistent way of categorising issues or complaints. This allows organisations to identify and report regular problems more easily or with automated tools. Finding time for identifying the key issues and working with other departments to fix them can also be a challenge for smaller teams.
Reporting: to support this process, reporting back to the business around the number of causes fixed and the corresponding reduction in issues (and the business benefit of this) is vital. This can then be fed back into ROI reporting for teams working on root cause analysis.
What’s next: If you want to optimise your root cause analysis, we have a workshop that is available exclusively to members. Find out more here, or contact your Client Development Director.