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One way to be sure to eliminate a problem for good is to identify the root cause and eliminate it. In the world of quality, we have this easy to use tool for getting to the root cause of a problem.
The “Five Whys”, simply put, means you state the problem and keep asking why until you’ve identified the root cause. However, using the Five Whys means the problem has occurred. Isn’t it better to prevent the problem from happening than correct it after the fact? Preventive action is infinitely preferable to corrective action.
I’ll give you a “for instance”. Someone I know recently left a wireless provider she’d been with for several years. What upset her most was that when she canceled, the customer service rep (CSR) didn’t ask why she was leaving. She might have reacted positively if the CSR had offered her an incentive to stay but he didn’t, and she’d pretty much made up her mind by then that they weren’t worthy.
If you can’t give somebody a reason to stay all along, your problems aren’t going to be magically solved by root cause analysis or any other corrective action tools. A root cause analysis may help you solve your problem, but why let the problem happen in the first place? Why not head off the problem? Take an active interest in your customers, rather than sit back and wait for things to happen.
Most customers will walk away from you without complaining. They don’t announce that they’re taking their business elsewhere: they just do it. They don’t give you a chance to explain yourself because they feel like they’ve been let down all along.
Dissatisfaction isn’t the result of a one-time occurrence. It happens over a period of time. If, from the outset, communication is poor or nonexistent, the foundation for customer dissatisfaction is being laid. If you don’t continue to make your customer feel valued and welcome, the relationship that might have been never is.
Next, I’ll be looking for an answer to the question, “Why don’t customers complain?”, and I’m asking for your help. Are you more likely to complain to your vendors, or do you keep quiet and look for an alternative right away? What if you don’t have an alternative? What do you do then?
Thanks for your insights, and best wishes.