Using Root Cause Analysis When Managing Complaints And Disputes

According to an Ombudsman Services Report, it is estimated that UK businesses lose around £37 billion every year due to poor customer service and mismanagement of complaints. The importance of root cause analysis cannot be understated. Businesses should capture information on all customer interactions for analytical purposes, particularly when it comes to disputes or complaints, to give invaluable insights and feedback to help with business improvement and minimise future complaints.

Root cause analysis, along with other analysis, will help you better understand potentially wider problems and issues.

What is root cause analysis?

Root cause analysis is simply about getting to the ‘root cause’ of the problem, complaint, or dispute to help identify potential sources of complaints so that as a business, you can tackle the root causes of problems and correct or prevent those problems recurring.

It should be used systematically and in conjunction with other analysis and management information to help improve customer satisfaction and outcomes.

The importance of using root cause analysis

Operational data usually forms part of wider management information. However, many organisations do not look at root cause analysis, primarily because information around complaints and disputes were not identified and recorded consistently.

Without that information being captured, recorded and analysed, organisations do not have a way of monitoring symptoms of complaints and their root causes. Having this analysis enables businesses to identify new or recurring problems, put in preventative action plans and monitor customer experiences and outcomes to help improve the journey and business processes supporting this.

Organisations should use this detailed analysis to ensure customers are treated fairly, achieve the right customer outcomes and also consider what the right outcome should look like in each individual case.

Using root cause analysis

Root cause analysis is a great tool for continuous improvement, helping you understand customer issues in your business and what is causing them. Once you have captured data and identified the start of a problem (do not wait until it becomes severe), the process is quite simple:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Define the problem
  3. Understand the problem
  4. Identify the root cause (Remember a problem could have more than one root cause.
  5. Put in place an effective corrective action plan and a preventive action plan too. Communicate the plan to all involved, including the reason for the action, benefits, timelines, training, documentation and processes required.
  6. Continuously monitor the system and have a follow-up plan to modify the solution and make additional improvements where necessary.
  7. Review the results and analyse whether the solutions have been effective to ensure the problem has been eradicated.
  8. Ascertain whether you can use the solution to help with other problems.

Complaint handling solutions

Qure Group provides bespoke complaint handling and dispute resolution services to help improve your brand reputation, repeat business and save you time and money. To find out how we can help, contact us on 0161 676 0919 or email