The Surprising Power of a Good Problem Statement

An appliance repair job is filled with potential rabbit trails that can lead a tech down dead ends filled with wasteful efforts. These trails can come from the customer, in the form of extraneous info or conclusions, as well as the tech’s own mind, by forgetting what he is actually there to diagnose.

A short but accurate description of the problem at hand helps the tech maintain mental focus during both his prediagnosis work and onsite troubleshooting, avoiding chasing the distracting rabbits.

The Customer Service Representative should begin this process as they create a service ticket, and the tech can refine it as necessary.

A good problem statement will answer one or both of these questions:

  • What is the appliance doing that it should not be doing, and/or
  • What is the appliance not doing that it should be doing?

That is the problem statement. Below that, on the service ticket, add any other significant information and symptoms. Details can be important, but you don’t want to overwhelm the tech with a lot of words. Include any error codes or blinking lights, and data that indicates the time, location, or other details of the symptoms. Focus on symptoms, not customer guesses as to the cause. Customer “diagnoses” have led many techs astray, since it can lead to preconceived ideas about what is wrong.

Messy problem statement: “Customer reports that the freezer seems okay – the ice isn’t melting, but the milk spoiled and things don’t feel cold enough. Thinks it needs a shot of freon.”

Clear problem statement: “Fresh-food compartment warm.”
(The ticket should then include the customer’s assertion that the freezer seems cold enough. A well-trained tech will know to shoot temperatures upon arrival. Ignore what the customer thinks is wrong with it.)

CSRs and techs should both be trained on how to craft a clear problem statement as part of a well-written service ticket. For even better results, enroll your CSRs in the 5-Star Customer Support course.

Click here to check out the CSR course