Understanding the root cause of a problem allows you to fix it. We'll leverage market research to get to your root cause...
A customer visits your store and later tweets about how rude the cashier was at the register. They are unhappy and vow never to visit your store again. Was this an isolated incidence, or is it part of a real problem that is present across multiple stores?
Many companies take a Band-Aid approach to dealing with problems affecting the customer experience rather than dealing with the problem itself. In our example taking a Band-Aid approach to this customer, a senior management team might send out an email reminding cashiers that they are the face of the company and need to always be friendly, or that an offending cashier may be disciplined for being rude. But both of these methods treat the symptom of the problem rather than identify the root cause.
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a technique that is designed to answer the question of why something has occurred. It seeks to identify the origin of the problem so that it can be fixed permanently, its “root cause,” rather than simply addressing the symptoms. In order to identify the root cause of an event, the following steps are undertaken:
- Define the problem. To define the problem we dig deep into the customer experience. Our approach can take several paths ranging from focus groups, to mobile research, to surveys, but one of the more common approaches is through customer data analysis. With this approach we use customer data you have already collected, or a survey we administer, to learn directly from customers about their experience.
- Determine what happened. In root cause analysis we don’t want to simply identify the most apparent cause, we want to dig deep. In order to do this a detailed understanding of what’s going on at the customer level is important. For this process, satisfied and dissatisfied customers are identified and a correlation analysis is calculated between customer satisfaction and the various components that make up the customer experience.
- Determine why it happened. This is the heart of root cause analysis. Here we look at all the possible causes. Causes that were identified through the correlation analysis can be classified and grouped into categories. The degree to which each cause impacts the customer experience is measured and the most significant causes identified. This enables us to identify root causes that are singular in nature and those that are part of a chain of events. Root cause analysis assumes that events are interrelated and that one event was triggered by another. We trace these events back to discover how the problem started, its root cause. We are then able to answer why the problem happened and how it is effecting customer satisfaction.
Once completed, we offer recommendations for correcting the root cause based on what we've found and best business practices.
Root cause analysis offers a long-term plan of action for improving your customer’s experience. The findings may not lead to a “quick fix” solution, but they will set you on a well-defined path for improving total customer satisfaction.