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The Cause

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Now lets look at the complex “CAUSE”. The cause is what originally made the complaint happen (TRUE CAUSE). Cause is complex because it can have many layers or only one.

The True Cause

Using a similar example as with the complaint. A vehicle comes into the shop, the complaint is “A/C is blowing hot, it was blowing cold yesterday afternoon and then stopped working”. The technician receives the repair order with the charge to identify the TRUE CAUSE.

After a few checks he finds that the A/C compressor is not engaging, he is tempted to report the cause as “A/C compressor not engaging”. However knowing that this is not the TRUE CAUSE he continues to dig to another layer. He then finds the reason the clutch is not engaging is because the system is out of freon. Again he is tempted, but understands that a report at this layer would not be identifying the TRUE CAUSE.

Digging further he finds the freon is out because the condenser has a hole in it. Still not ready to report, he looks even further, and with another good look, determines that the hood bracket is loose and with the hood down is rubbing against the condenser. Awe! Finally the TRUE CAUSE, a cause that can be reported correctly.

Consequences of Not Finding the True Cause

Had it been reported without digging to find the TRUE CAUSE several effects may have happened.

  1. The estimate for repair would have been incorrect and the shop would lose money or look unprofessional trying to get more money.
  2. The promised completion time most likely would be incorrect again giving an unprofessional impression and inconveniencing the customer, not to mention possibly causing a domino effect of late completion times throughout the shop resulting in other unhappy customers.
  3. The vehicle may leave the shop with a incomplete repair ultimately causing a comeback and the messiness that brings.

See the other articles in this complaint, cause, correction series here, here, and here.

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