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Driving Continuous Improvement Through Root Cause Analysis

Driving Continuous Improvement Through Root Cause Analysis


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Driving Continuous Improvement Through Root Cause Analysis

19 Jul 2022

Jack Jones
A man holding a tablet analyzing data.

Understanding the causes of customer complaints is a core component of business development and continuous improvement. If organisations can get to the heart of systemic issues that lead to complaints, they’re more likely to be able to fix any problems and prevent such issues arising again. Add to this the fact that 29% of customers are more likely to remain a customer if they feel their complaint will make a difference to how a firm operates, it’s not hard to see why effective Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is rapidly becoming a top priority for businesses.

To be truly successful and impactful, RCA shouldn’t be about assigning blame, but finding solutions. Equipped with the right tools and training, the complaints team can become the identifiers of business-wide improvements, reducing complaint volumes and boosting customer satisfaction, whilst improving products and services in-line with RCA findings. What this serves to do is build confidence and trust in the complaints handling function, helping to secure its rightful place at the very heart of the organisation.

So, what do you need to do to ensure your RCA efforts are having the maximum impact, deriving optimum value from your complaints data?

Ensure Organisational Buy-In

Top of the priority list must be organisation-wide buy-in to root cause analysis. If it’s to be effective, RCA needs to involve every aspect of your organisation. The complaints handling team might be responsible for the initial RCA process, but it certainly shouldn’t be responsible for resolving any issues that are uncovered. This is where business-wide collaboration is key, with relevant departments responsible for addressing problems and challenges relevant to their areas of expertise.

It's no longer enough to tack root cause analysis data onto the end of management reports. When it comes to RCA, the most impact can be seen where organisations have dedicated RCA communities and forums, bringing together all areas of the business to share RCA findings, not just in spreadsheets but by bringing the data to life. By using real-life examples of how customers have been impacted by particular issues and then discussing together how the business can best tackle these challenges, you can make the changes needed.

Effective Root Cause Analysis Needs Joined-Up Communication

In a similar vein, it’s vital to know your internal audience when talking all things root cause analysis. For example, the finance team will obviously be more interested in the financial impact of your RCA findings, whereas the team responsible for vulnerable customers will be more concerned with any evidence of processes and procedures that are leading to customer detriment. Ultimately, it’s not a case of what you report, but how you report it, ensuring that the right information reaches the right people in the right format.

Just as important as reporting your findings is the need to report on successes. So, not only should RCA forums and communities be platforms for highlighting where changes are needed, they are also the ideal opportunity to report back on where RCA has led to successful changes within your organisation. Where root causes have been addressed successfully, this needs to be shared with your business, highlighting the transformative potential of a good RCA programme.

Complaint Management Software at the Heart of Root Cause Analysis

The right technology can make all the difference, with a robust complaints management system furnishing your organisation with the timely, comprehensive and in-context information needed to derive optimum value from your RCA. You need to have a system in place to capture initial information and manage complaints. If details of a complaint are not correctly or efficiently recorded at first point of contact, then any root cause analysis will be unsuccessful.

Equipping your front line staff with the necessary technology to quickly and easily capture important information when speaking directly with a customer makes the process of root cause analysis easier further down the line. When it comes to categorising complaints, consistency across the board makes it easier to spot trends across products and services, highlighting where change is needed. What results is a complete picture from which your business can make fact-based decisions, following a structured approach to analysing the information captured, implementing corrective action and tracking the progress of new initiatives to share with the entire business.

The best root cause analysis isn’t about assigning blame; it’s about using the information available to find solutions to often systemic issues. Done well, it can provide valuable insight that’s simply not available elsewhere, driving continuous organisational improvements right across your business.

For more information on how Aptean Respond can underpin the most robust RCA programme, contact us today.

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