Root Cause Problem Solving: The Key to Effective Troubleshooting

July 17, 2022

It happened again. You thought you had it all sorted out, and the same problem again. Ugh. You’ve been there before, and it’s frustrating. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. The big news is that there is a way to effectively troubleshoot and solve problems for good. And that method is called root cause problem-solving.

Root cause problem-solving is all about getting to the heart of the matter. It’s about finding out what is causing the problem in the first place. Once you know what is causing the problem, you can take steps to fix it and prevent it from happening again.

So how do you go about root cause problem-solving?

There are a few steps that you can take:

  • Step 1 – Identify the REAL problem. This appears to be a no-brainer, but it’s essential to be as specific as possible. What is the real problem that you are trying to solve? For example, you are concerned about complaints from customers about how their inquiries are being handled. You initially think it is because your service representatives are taking too long and set an initiative to speed up the response.
  • Step 2 – Gather the facts. This step is about gathering information and understanding the issue at hand. In our example above, when we dig into the data, we find that the representatives were getting back to customers quickly but just “checking the boxes” to get through the inquiries quickly and move on. The issue wasn’t speed; it was quality.
  • Step 3 – Ask why. In our example, we would ask why the representatives are not taking the time to understand customer inquiries. After some investigation, we find that they did not have the proper training and accountability in place
  • Step 4 – Develop a plan. Now that you know the root cause of the problem, you can develop a plan to fix it. In our example, we would implement new training and accountability measures for our service representatives.
  • Step 5 – Define success criteria. This step is crucial to ensure your plan is working. In our example, customer satisfaction scores and the number of repeat calls would be solid measurements.
  • Step 6 – Take action. This is where you enact your plan and make it happen.
  • Step 7 – Evaluate and adjust. After you have made the changes, it’s important to evaluate how they are working and make adjustments as needed. Ensure that the plan is being executed and dial in any necessary adjustments.

By following these steps, you can effectively troubleshoot problems and find lasting solutions.

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