Dear Whirlpool, why have you stopped caring about your customers and why have you stopped listening to them on social media?
Here’s a classic case of a company choosing not to engage in social media for whatever reason and thinking they are immune to it’s impact. The conversations about Whirlpool and their products is happening online, right now, and they aren’t a part of it.
I guess “technically” they have a Facebook account and they used to have a Twitter acct (CORRECTION: When I first looked on Friday their Twitter acct was not coming up in search. On Monday I searched again and found @Whirlpoolcorp and @whirlpoolcare ) but they definitely aren’t using it for what it is intended.
And they definitely are not listening (social media 101 is learning to LISTEN). Because if they were listening they would have known that a conversation was taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and now this blog about their poor customer service and their unwilingness to stand behind their product.
I’ve been having problems with a Whirlpool Gold Refrigerator since I bought it over two years ago. They sent a Whirlpool certified repair person out to fix it, while under warranty, but the tech did nothing but defrost it and say it was fine. Well fast forward 17 months and on a regular basis I am forced to unplug the refrigerator, defrost it with a hair dryer, and hope and pray it will cool the fridge down fast enough so I don’t loose $100 worth of food.
I called their customer support line today and got zero help. Nothing but arguments and excuses about why they couldn’t help me because it was beyond the one year warranty. Bottom line is that their product, which I paid more than $1000 for, failed within the first year of owning it and they don’t feel like they should have to stand behind it.
So I took to the web to survey my friends and family how long they thought a refrigerator should last. I had more than 25 responses from people saying it was outrageous that a Whirlpool fridge should have problems when it’s only two years old and I completely agree.
How hard would it have been for Whirlpool to have a service tech come to my house to diagnose and repair the unit? How much money would they have spent in ensuring their loyal customer was happy? Pennies in the big scheme of things.
Instead my 931 Facebook fans shared in my horrible Whirlpool customer service experience along with my 1,269 Twitter followers. How many of those people will tell their friends about the bad customer service experience from Whirlpool they heard about the next time they are considering who to buy an appliance from?
Positive word of mouth spreads like a ripple from a stone thrown on the water, negative word of mouth spreads like a wildfire.
Companies like Apple and Zappos show us every day what stellar customer service is like and those brands have RAVING fans. You don’t need to look any further than the outpouring of love and gratitude that Apple fans have shown in the wake of Steve Jobs’ death.
Here’s a simple breakdown of what that looks like in terms of the bottom line. Raving fans = loyal buyers for life = profit!
And guess what else is true when you have great customer service and stand behind your product? You can charge more money! For example I will willingly pay 2-3x more money for an Apple product than a competitor’s product every single time because I know they have wonderful customer support and they will stand behind the product if something breaks. Think about how much revenue they will get from me in a lifetime and multiply that by their millions of raving customers?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that companies need to tailor to a customer’s every whim. What I am saying is that companies need to LISTEN to their customers and do what they can to make them feel valued and appreciated. And certainly to stand behind their products.
So moral of the story is that as a company if you are going to succeed in today’s market place, where people are talking constantly about products and services online you must not only bring your “A-game” when it comes to quality and customer service, but you also must LISTEN to what is being said and care about what your customers think and say.
And Whirlpool if you are really listening and want to have a real conversation, you can email me at jillian [at] freshlimemarketing.com