Root Cause Analysis for Diagnosing Issues with CRM Initiatives

An adage that strikes me from conversations around why the investments into sales or service or marketing systems are not converting into results, is ‘The Problem is not always the Problem’. Let me explain with an analogy,

Consider the patient who comes to the doctor saying she has an earache. The doctor gets to the root cause – could be the wisdom tooth that needs to be extracted; the ‘ear ache’ has nothing to do with the ear at all.

Problem statements may sometimes be vague. ‘Our sales are declining’ is the equivalent of ‘I don’t feel well’. We then ask probing questions, sometimes in interviews, sometimes over working sessions with multiple team members; and after a diagnosis arrive at the problem or problems that need to be addressed. Analyze data for the insights it gives and the issues it points to.

Sometimes your CRM customer comes with an agenda or a strong opinion. Do not take it at face value. Does the data support this hypothesis? Equally true for all of us is that we are often guilty of knowing one thing well or shaped by one experience, and end up looking at all problems with that one lens. Call it the classic phenomenon of having a hammer when the whole world looks like a nail. Guard yourselves to not fall for this trap.

Rely on the techniques of Root cause Analysis where you to ask ‘why’ enough number of times to arrive at the real reasons. Do not take hunches and hypotheses at face value.