Identify issues and their root causes
By now, you’ll have sent out your surveys and pulled the results into your dashboard. But before going ahead with any big changes, you should drill deeper to make sure you understand the real cause of issues, not just the symptoms. By doing this, you’ll fix the problem and avoid wasting resources revisiting it time and again.
There are many ways of doing root cause analysis, but one of the most effective is “Five Whys” – which allows you to peel away the layers of a problem by asking ‘why’ five times.
How to use “Five Whys”
First off, gather a group of people from across your business – people who can share their different perspectives on the potential causes of the problem. Then write down the specific problem your customers have, and why the problem seems to occur.
Think about this answer and ask why again. If you come up with another answer, write that answer down. Keep repeating this until you get to the root cause. You usually have to ask the question five times.
- The customer couldn’t complete an online form. Why?
- There was an issue with the website. Why?
- A live bug had slipped through the net. Why?
- The testing team is overworked. Why?
- Recent cost-cutting measures reduced the team size. Why?
The root cause here is that the testing team is understaffed due to recent cost reductions. The next step would be to develop a recommendation for resolving it.
This is just one example though. There are plenty of others that we use. We’d need another blog series to do these justice, but if you’d like to find out about some of the other tools available to you, get in touch and we’d be happy to tell you more.
Develop your recommendations
There are some root causes that have obvious solutions, so you can go ahead and fix them easily. But there are others which may take a bit more work, and will need stakeholder buy-in.
We find the best way to obtain this is to develop your recommendations not as solutions or directions, but as ‘ideas’, using the following 3 steps:
- Record and evidence the problem
- Describe the potential solutions
- Prioritise those solutions based on effectiveness
In its simplest form, an ‘idea’ gives stakeholders more ownership of the decision. It makes them feel in control and gives you more chance of getting your solution accepted and progressing to the next step.
Understand the Return on Investment (ROI)
When crafting the ‘ideas’ to present to your stakeholders, it’s important to tell them a compelling story. And within this story, how you position the potential ROI of the changes is crucial. You can do this in two ways.
The first is to look purely at the numbers – what financial return will this solution deliver? The second is to look at the qualitative impact – what impact will this solution have on our customer’s overall experience and the ‘intangible’ benefits that it could bring.
The ideal scenario is one where you use customer insight to capture the stakeholders’ attention by demonstrating the emotional need for change, before reinforcing this with solid figures that show it makes financial sense too.
How do I use our customer insight to support my ‘ideas’?
Long PowerPoint packs are great at detailing lots of data points in nice slides, but they rarely ‘join the dots’ to paint a complete picture.
Your job is to combine the insights you’ve gained with a customer perspective, taking a step back and asking yourself ‘what is this really telling us?’ so that you can translate that to your stakeholders.
It's storytelling, but based on hard data. For example, when walking stakeholders through our recommendations, we often play recordings of real customer calls, so those in the room can hear the emotion in the customers’ voices, identify with the pain point and clearly see the need for change.
You’re not just presenting bar charts, you’re presenting a narrative that your senior stakeholders can buy into. Doing this will help you get everyone on board and let you take the changes you want to make through to the final stage in our framework.
An example from one of our clients
Our client is a major global insurer who needed to get to the heart of some problems they were having with customer renewals.
Their NPS was minus 6 at the end of the journey, indicating they had more detractors than promoters. Whilst not great, this wasn’t disastrous, but their traditional reporting, which was robust in terms of calculating the score, didn’t bring to life what the experience actually felt like.
There were several issues leading to an overall bumpy experience for customers, but there were two really big problems which we needed to bring to the foreground when describing the customer experience.
So, using the analogy of a roller coaster, we worked with the client to tell the story from a customer’s perspective, highlighting the pain points and the things to fix in a way that was clear and easy to digest.