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The Heart of the Matter: The Importance of Robust Root Cause Analysis in Complaint Management

The Heart of the Matter: The Importance of Robust Root Cause Analysis in Complaint Management


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The Heart of the Matter: The Importance of Robust Root Cause Analysis in Complaint Management

23 Aug 2021

Aptean Staff Writer
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Unfortunately, customer complaints may have risen to their highest level since 2009. But, looking on the bright side, there’s been a slight increase in overall customer satisfaction of 0.6 points year-on-year. So, while this improvement shows that perhaps complaint handling has become more effective, the fact that complaints have gone up suggests that firms are still not addressing the fundamental issues that lead to complaints in the first place.

According to research, 29% of customers are more likely to remain a customer if they feel their complaint will make a difference to how a firm operates. This makes it even more important for businesses to uncover what lies at the heart of customer complaints, taking the necessary steps to address and rectify any issues. Understanding the reasons behind each and every complaint allows a business to fix underlying problems and prevent such issues arising again, thus reducing the potential for additional customer complaints. To this end, effective root cause analysis (RCA) is vital. So that you can identify the often systemic issues that cause customer complaints and take the necessary steps to eradicate these problems. A comprehensive RCA capability should lie at the very heart of your organisation’s complaint function, acting as a real driver of continuous organisational improvements.

Effective Root Cause Analysis Is Achievable

But if the benefits of RCA are so clear, why aren’t more businesses doing it properly? Good RCA isn’t a quick fix, and many businesses blame the complexity of complaints and the time taken to carry out thorough RCA as the key barriers to getting it right. With the right tools in place, it need not be onerous and ultimately the benefits of fewer customer complaints and a higher satisfaction rating far outweigh the effort involved. What you need is the ability to investigate and pinpoint fundamental issues, delving deep into every complaint. At the same time, the mechanism to feed this information directly back into your organisation is a must. Even the most comprehensive RCA is rendered almost useless if the results aren’t used to inform organisational change.

The value of RCA is increased further still with the inclusion of customer feedback. Incorporating in-context, complaint-specific feedback into your RCA capability delivers even more insight into any underlying issues, enabling your business to identify problems more accurately and quickly.

Teamwork Is Vital

To achieve all this warrants a collaborative effort. Frontline teams are best placed to record the necessary customer information, collected at every possible interaction. But it might be that additional teams or tools are required to carry out the in-depth analysis needed to uncover any underlying issues. Your frontline teams need intuitive, easy-to-use systems that enable them to record not only the key themes of every complaint but contextualised customer feedback too. The ability to record recurring themes and instances, with specific codes for certain issues, for example, makes the identification of wider issues both quicker and easier.

Additionally, it’s important that your frontline teams understand why such information is needed. They need to witness first-hand how your organisation applies the results of robust RCA to affect real change across the business, lowering complaint levels and boosting customer satisfaction in the process.

Regardless of which teams are involved, a robust RCA program will only work if your business is determined to apply the RCA findings to the organisation to improve operations. To do this requires top-down support, driving the necessary improvements and maintaining a commitment to change. By doing so you can build a pervading culture of continuous improvement right across your organisation.

So, what’s the next stop on your journey to achieving a robust route cause analysis program?

As with so many of today’s business challenges, technology holds the key. Implementing an advanced complaint management system delivers the tools and functionality you need to underpin a comprehensive RCA capability, empowering your organisation to understand the issues at the very heart of customer complaints.

For more information on how our complaints management software, Aptean Respond, can help your business incorporate effective RCA into everyday operations, get in touch with our complaints management experts today.

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