Getting to the Root of the Issue


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When is a customer service issue not really the problem? When the root cause is elsewhere.

Sometimes complaints about customer service aren’t really an issue that the customer service “department” can solve. There are times when problems originate upstream.

For instance, when a client escalates or complains because it’s taking a long time to fix a product defect, have you looked at why the defect exists? There may be a step missing in the quality assurance process. Unfortunately, most companies will assume that the customer service team isn’t setting the right expectation or that the team that corrects product defects is understaffed.

All of these answers are potentially correct but you’ll never know if all you look at are the customer service “numbers”. You really need to dig in to find the back-end issue.

If you don’t, you can placate the customer, lay blame on the service rep, get frustrated or do nothing. Unfortunately, you haven’t really solved anything and it will reoccur.

What can we do?

In these cases, we need to delve further an do some analysis to find the root cause. I like to use the Postmortem Analysis Process that I’ve mentioned previously; some call it a root cause analysis.

The important thing is that we take a good hard look at what happened. I find it particularly useful if the process is cross-functional since it isn’t about laying blame. The objective is to find a solution to the underlying cause.

Your turn

Do you have a way to identify back-end or upstream problems that are causing grief for your customer service team?

How do you use it and what success have you had?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eric Jacques
Customer Excellence Blog
Customer Service Excellence Advocate -- working as a Client Satisfaction Manager


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