Trying to solve a client problem whose cause you don't know is trusting to luck

A specialist doctor asks questions and performs diagnostic tests until reaching the cause that causes a headache. Only when he detects the root cause of the symptoms is he able to successfully prescribe curative treatment. And until reaching the final diagnosis, he will ask questions to the patient to guide the problem and will prescribe as many tests as necessary to identify the pathology. And only then can he prescribe a curative treatment, only then will he be certain how to treat the disease.

If you do not know the pathology, you can administer an ibuprofen to reduce the headache or even make it go away, but you will not be attacking the root of the disease, and when the effect of the analgesic wears off, the symptoms will reappear. If you don't know the patient's real problem, hoping that with an anti-inflammatory the disease will disappear is trusting to luck.

If you are a good service specialist, you will first try to ensure the diagnosis of the root cause of your customer's problem and from there solve it, also making the symptoms that said customer manifests disappear. And if you don't know it, you will be aware of it and know that your measures relieve symptoms, are palliative, and you will continue to seek to understand the true root cause.

A palliative treatment, according to the dictionary, is one that "serves to mitigate or soften the effects of a negative thing, such as pain, suffering or punishment." When an agent does not know the root cause of their customer's problem, he or she will only be able to apply palliative measures; will reset the Wi-Fi router, apply a temporary discount code or send a technician to their client's home,... and trust in luck. And if luck doesn't work, probably pass the problem on to the next guy.

And, what happens when palliative measures are applied? What does our client experience?

“I already did this thing of turning the equipment off and on, last week, and we are still the same”.
“This is the fourth person I have explained the problem to. They keep going around without solving the problem.”
“Last month they refunded me an undue amount on the bill after claiming, but this month it appears again.“
“They sent a technician home again and changed my Wi-Fi router again. It gives me that this is not the solution”.

Luck is that, luck. It may be that the problem just goes away, or more likely, it will reappear in this customer or another one.

It is unrealistic to know all the root causes of all customer problems, because customer service is by nature dynamic and new cases are constantly emerging. What is certain is that only in those that we know well, can we provide a solvent, reliable and consistent service to our clients. Only from that knowledge can we ensure that we are doing the best to resolve an incident or need that they may have.

But be careful, it is just as important to be aware that we do not know a certain problem, in order to be able to characterize it with the information of the clients who experience it. Being aware of the lack of knowledge allows, on the one hand, to stay alert because we have not solved the problem for the customer, so continuous specific follow-up may be appropriate. But in addition, it guides the company to continue investigating until finding the root cause for it and keeping the wheel of continuous improvement working.

Just as a good medical specialist does not ask for luck when it comes to treating their patients, good customer service should not leave their care processes to chance due to ignorance of the root cause. At least let's be aware of what we don't know to continue looking for the root of those ignorances, only that ensures consistency and continuous improvement of customer service in the medium term.

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