Advantages of a Decision Tree in Troubleshooting

by | Jul 21, 2014 | Customer Service

“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”- Albert Einstein

With the advancement of technology and its easy accessibility, there is no reason for companies not to upgrade their systems. The prime reason however to integrate new technology is that customers expect and demand it. It is indispensable if your company is to be a benchmark in customer service that in turn leads customers to being loyal. Troubleshooting using a decision tree is fast becoming a trend that is a hugely functional practice to provide solutions to technical issues customer’s face with a company’s offerings. A decision tree uses a diagrammatic path to illustrate alternative options that would help the user to make informed choices and save high costs and risky endeavours. The user can arrive at a final decision and take the best choice to help resolve the issue faced. For companies too, a decision tree approach assists in making the optimum strategic and operational decisions by visual depicting all possible end results with follow up actions required for each. It also clearly illustrates the outcome for each probable decision, so the user can ascertain the impact of the decision made. Using decision trees in troubleshooting helps customers to help themselves in case of any technical issues they may face. In case a customer contacts the customer service desk, they too would be able to use the decision tree for that particular product and find the most appropriate solution for the customer. Accurately and diligently prepared decision trees would instil confidence in the customer service staff to respond to and present solutions to the customers. Customer trust and satisfaction is easily built when they know they can trust the company to find quick solutions to these technical problems.

Related Article: How decision tree driven interactive guides help provide training on using a Decision Tree in Troubleshooting?

As we said with technology becoming more complicated and available, it is best that companies get a firm hold over these. An analysis through a decision tree helps management to overcome and manage situations where the possible decisions may be uncomfortable or tough to deal with. Decision trees help with providing solutions that may not immediately be apparent. Since a decision tree provides a visual image of the choices available and the possible outcomes of each choice, it makes the work of the decision maker fairly easier and with a lot more surety of a resolution.

When faced with a complicated technical problem, the customer service staff would be able to help customers ‘solve’ the problem using a decision tree even remotely. Each problem would have several alternatives connecting to a decision that further would have a possible solution. The customer and the staff member together would be able to isolate the best possible solution that would fix the problem. Based on past experiences and or similar problems resolved in the past, the customer service staff would be able to suitably advise the customer on the most apt solution. As the staff gains confidence in troubleshooting, the time and effort spent on resolving issues will drop. Customers would experience faster turnarounds in effective resolutions, raising customer satisfaction and enhancing loyalty amongst customers. This should be the aim of any company that wants to remain successful and profitable.

Customer service staff must be effectively and consistently trained on how to use a decision tree in troubleshooting. It is only through being completely informed on the product that they would be able to evaluate and provide possible alternatives, leading to a resolution. The probable choice got from a decision tree can be evaluated through a method which selects the most cost effective decision – this is known as mathematical expectation. Being able to predict possible outcomes for the future too is possible by using a decision tree. Any method that is logical and uses a step by step approach is more likely to be accurate and provide ready to use solutions. Even though a decision tree may be missing some ‘branches’ because they are excluded since they cannot be converted to financial terms, it is still possible to arrive at fairly accurate possible outcomes. Both customers and companies will benefit from this.

Related Article: How call center agents use interactive guides instead of call scripts to provide training on using a Decision Tree in Troubleshooting?

Troubleshooting using a decision tree is gaining repute due to:

– The transparency of this model or method of troubleshooting. The customer can clearly see all the possible choices, the possible outcome of each choice and allows them to make an informed decision by comparing those outcomes. The choices that lead to uncertainties can be eliminated immediately and the customer is sure that the company is making a genuine effort to resolve the issue in the lowest possible cost and as quickly as possible.

– Reduce the uncertainty that decision making brings since every possible solution is in full view and is clearly laid out. By assigning values to a problem, the likely decision and possible outcomes, the amount of ambiguity is drastically reduced. Every step is explicit and easily comprehensible leading to a more informed decision.

– Being all-inclusive, thorough and extensive in nature it allows a complete analysis of each possible decision and the possible results. It clearly defines for the customer and the customer service staff whether a decision will lead to a dead-end or give rise to a new problem or lead to a resolution immediately. It serves to pave the path that leads to an effective ‘decision’.

– Being easy to use since it is a diagrammatic illustration and we know even in everyday life that pictures speak a thousand words. The explanation of each step and manner of depiction is easy to understand and a walk-through of each is sufficient for an understanding. The technical points and data are broken down in an easy to understand format that enables customers to help themselves, saving on time and hassle.

– Provide accurate and robust data since it shows the cause and effect of various decisions. The scope for error is limited using a decision tree if the data input is error free. It is hardy tool that produces comprehensive results and accurate data repeatedly and is therefore a reliable method for problem solving.

– Validate the choice you make by being able to predict the possible outcomes of the same. The user is able to alter the choice initially made and choose differently to reach an outcome of choice. Decision tree is one of the best methods for forecasting outcomes.

The latest decision tree models are able to use old data and predict the possible outcomes of similar actions in the future. They provide a framework that quantifies values and the possibilities of outcomes, giving more power to the user to make accurate decisions. Informed and correct decisions save valuable resources for customers and the company. For the company it becomes easier to take corrective actions making their products better and more user-friendly. Also they are able to predict more accurately the different kinds of queries customers may have regarding the product. Limited technical knowledge may require the customer to use these decision trees and or connect with the customer service staff for troubleshooting. In either case, the company that is prepared and has pro-actively anticipated such queries and problems will be the ones that score high on customer satisfaction indexes. Integrating social media and displaying these decision trees on these channels too provides greater visibility and even people who are not customers can access and use the company’s services. As people begin to see the value add of your customer service and troubleshooting methods, the chances of gaining a larger customer base increases. Well-informed staff that is adept at using a decision tree also contributes immensely to a company’s reputation – there is no point in having great technology if your staff is unable to and untrained to use it. Decision trees may seem complicated to the untrained eye, with large flowcharts and figures, but a closer step by step look will reassure you of its utility minus the complexity.

“The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.”- Albert Einstein

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