Problem-Solving with 8D and 7STEP

Do you get complaints regarding your offered products or services? Utilize them to better improve your customer satisfaction rate and optimize the quality of your offers! The 8D (8D discipline) and the 7STEP method are similar to each other, in that they both have structured a problem-solving courses that help master product and process problems. Both methods are used to manage customer complaints. Below we explain the typical process flow and show you how to develop complaint management.

error possibilities

Juxtaposition of 8D and 7STEP

The 8D and 7STEP methods of problem-solving have proved themselves effective in different industries, especially the automotive industry. The demands of the customer determine which method to use, however the sequences and procedures are both similar, as shown in the picture below:


There are two main differences between the two processes. In the illustration, the team formation (step 1 in Figure 8D) and the conclusion of the problem-solving process (step 8 in 8D) are not present in 7STEP. However, in theory, these steps also exsist in 7STEP, as in you start by gathering a team and you end with a final conclusion.

In the 7STEP structure, defining, testing and implementing corrective actions are listed differently than in the 8D model. For example, efficacy testing is included in step 5 of 8D, while in 7STEP, it is its own separate step.

Step by step problem-solving

The seven or eight steps for finding a solution can be divided into three phases. The first step aims to put together a team of experts to take on the problem, so the customer no longer deals with it.


In the second phase, the problem is continuously analyzed until the actual cause is identified. The 5-W-method is a suitable tool. Through various “why’s,” a problem is reduced to the root (regardless of the name, one may ask as many ‘why’ questions as needed to hack the problem). Corrective measures are eventually found and tested for long-term effectiveness.

taking measures
In the third and concluding phase, the problems are anchored organizationally (applied in work processes and trainings), and technically (incl. adjustments on machines etc.). Additionally, preventive measures are taken, which should prevent a reocurrance of the same error elsewhere. This is when Failure Mode and Effective Analysis (FMEA) is often applied in regards to future products and processes by which occurring problems are identified and vulnerabilities are eliminated.

tools for problem-solving

Customer satisfaction and loyalty

Do you wonder whether the time and energy-consuming problem-solving processes are worth the effort? Of course, considering the severity of the problem, it may be quicker to solve it without the help of 8D/ 7STEP. Yet, every business that commits to the saying, “the customer is king” should invest in an expert team that analyzes complaints and works out problems to the full satisfaction of it’s customers.  With the help of 8D/ 7STEP, rapid emergency measures are initiated, long-term, solutions are developed and chances of repeated errors are eliminated. All of this ultimately benefits you by gaining customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and higher product quality.

Take advantage of our 8D/ 7STEP templates for PowerPoint with detailed explanations of each step of both methods, templates for root causes of problems, roadmaps, charts, and more for implementing successful complaint management. View PowerPoint templates here.