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Developing your people to enhance your customers experience

The dishes won't wash themselves!

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David

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It’s not very often that I feel the need to “call-out” individual organisations for their poor efforts around customer journey but this is one of those times.

This is our personal story so I can vouch for each blow-by-blow stage of this unhappy tale which started back in April of this year when we purchased a new Hoover dishwasher from a major retail chain. Our previous Bosch dishwasher had given up the ghost after 11 years of faithful service and a replacement was our only course of action.

Now, we’ve made the decision to sell our home this year so, avoiding the luxury end of the home appliance market and having checked out online reviews etc., I decided to make a balanced choice between brand and price in the belief that I’d be buying a product that was fit for purpose without breaking the bank. Hmmmmm!!

The new dishwasher was delivered and fitted and, to all intents and purposes, all was well in the Cross household (I know it’s a first-world problem but washing dishes in the sink after years of dishwashers is a huge pain in the backside and a massive waste of time in my eyes). That lasted for about 2 weeks when, for no apparent reason, water started to leak (rather rapidly) from the bottom of the dishwasher door during every cycle. In my capacity as Jack of All Trades and Master of None I cast my expert eye over the problem concluding it needed an expert - quickly. After all those dishes won’t wash themselves!

About a week (yes a week) later out comes the Engineer who concludes it may need a new door seal which he’d have to order and fit on another visit. That took over another week and yes, you guessed it, made no difference whatsoever and the dishwasher was condemned as having a faulty door to be replaced with another machine.

Ten days go by until we receive the replacement machine by which time I’ve become accustomed to a particular pair of Marigolds in a fetching yellow (pictures available upon request).  In goes the new machine duly fitted by the Hoover Engineers and balance is restored in the Cosmos…..no more dishpan hands for me!

All was well until mid-October when we noticed that crockery and cutlery were coming out of our replacement dishwasher almost as dirty as when they went in.  We persevered by topping up the salt, adding the rinse-aid etc. and experimenting with different stacking arrangements but all to no avail.  My expert eye once again concluded that this was a job for the experts and we called Hoover out again – another 10 days before we could get anybody to the job according to their online booking system.  We waited.

The next tekkie chap looked at the problem and diagnosed that the top and bottom arms weren’t spinning as they’re supposed to because the water wasn’t travelling to where it needed to get to (bear with me here).  “Oh right – can you fix it?” I ask.  His solution was to try a new basket set to see if it that worked any better and, wait for it, it’ll be about a week before they could come back to fit them.  They did come back and they didn’t work any better!  Our second machine was now condemned as faulty and a replacement ordered.

Our third machine took another 10 days to arrive and, as you can probably imagine, I was starting to lose my sense of humour about this particularly given that every time I spoke with the Hoover Customer Service Team I was given the impression this was a completely normal event and I was simply another punter being processed through their replacement system.  Now, don’t get me wrong, they’re perfectly pleasant people who demonstrated some level of empathy with my situation and verbally acknowledged my fading faith in the Hoover brand before hastily reverting me back into their “process” of getting a replacement machine sent out to me. 

Having plumbed-in the third machine the Engineers conducted tests, at my insistence, to ensure it didn’t leak and it did have spinning arms that actually distributed the water around the pots and pans.  We never got the answers to those questions because the main door on dishwasher #3 wouldn’t close as it was heavily warped and was actually in much worse condition than the its two predecessors.  Suitably embarrassed the Engineers “un-plumb” it and take both faulty machines away then ring Customer Service to let them know about the farce that is unfolding.

I’m now in the hands of the Customer Resolution team (not sure how they differ from Customer Service but I do know they have an aversion to picking up the phone).  I’m assured they will be in touch within a day to resolve the situation – two days later and I still hadn’t heard anything.  Back to Customer Service to find out what’s going on and demand my money back as they’re completely incompetent and unable to manufacture a dishwasher that actually washes dishes (it’s in the job description).  They have to speak with Customer Resolution again (who won’t talk to me directly) who say I can have my money back if I provide the 16 digit code on door of my machine so they can raise the necessary paperwork.  “I don’t have a machine anymore – your Engineers took both faulty machines away with them.  You’ll have to contact them for the number” says I. 

Now this is the point where incompetence stops and sheer bloody stupidity / ignorance / couldn’t give a toss attitude takes over.  Hoover couldn’t contact their own (contractor) Engineers for the number on the machine.  If I wanted my money back they’d have to deliver a fourth replacement so that I could take the number off that machine, give it to them, so they could collect the fourth machine and then raise and process my refund.  Seriously – did I just hear that correctly??  Even the Customer Service Agent I spoke with (who was still pleasant enough) agreed it was a ridiculous solution but it was my only course of action if I wanted to get my money back.  I attempt to escalate this farce up a level – no chance!  I’m met with a continuous repetition of their original position and it’s clear that I can take it or leave it. 

So I take the fourth machine on the basis that we can try it to see if it works and, if not, give Hoover the number on the side so they can arrange to have it collected and give me my money back.  Not only am I an extremely disgruntled customer but I know also have to stand in as Quality Control and Admin before a solution, either way, can be achieved.  Have to say folks it didn’t mention any of that in the brochure! 

On the Hoover Aftersales Service Website it claims;

- That Hoover is a name you can trust.  Yes you can be trusted to get it wrong so many times that this becomes “business as usual” in your world
- All repairs are guaranteed.  Yes, guaranteed to need repairing time and time and time and time again
- Prompt and reliable service  Wow, really!  Not including the original delivery it took 7 Engineer visits to resolve problem and each and every one was a minimum 7 day wait. 

You’ll be pleased to know that dishwasher #4 has been working for about a week now – it doesn’t leak and does wash dishes (Hurrah!) but I’m left wondering why nobody at Hoover has been in touch to find out if I’m happy with it.  Not a word, nothing, nil, nadah!

This leaves me with a number of conclusions;

  1. That Hoover haven’t given any thought to the customer journey preferring to simply react with the same bog-standard response on every occasion.
  2. That Hoover have no awareness of customer experience – loyalty to the brand simply isn’t something they value otherwise I’d have received a suitable, escalated response much earlier in the process that, at the very least, acknowledged their failures and demonstrate they truly cared about their customers.
  3. That the cost of failure at Hoover must be enormous.  Reputation aside I’d estimate that it’s cost Hoover in excess of £2000 to fulfil the 7 Engineer visits, supply replacement parts and 4 dishwashers in total.  I only paid £295 for it in the first place so, in reality, they’d have done better to pay me £295 to go elsewhere.
  4. That Hoovers reputation isn’t important enough to Hoover to be bothered to understand when the wheel has well and truly come off and step outside their process to protect their image and reputation. 
  5. That Hoovers customer care doesn’t extend to picking up the ‘phone to checking that (for the time being) I’m, at the very least, enjoying a dishwasher that does what it says on the tin.

Now Hoover weren’t to know that I run my own customer service training and consultancy business and that I’d be able to share this sorry tale with you all to demonstrate how easy it is to believe you’re doing the right thing whilst actually doing more harm than good as a result of a poor customer journey.  If they choose to respond I’ll be sure to share the next chapter with you in the future.

In the meantime, if this story resonates within parts of your business then I’d highly recommend we talk – your customers will forget what you say to them and what you do for them but they never forget how you made them feel.  Hoover are now well and truly inside my Room 101 (along with Ryanair and The Sun).

The lesson?  Good or bad – it’s always up to you!

 



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David

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As co-founder of First Impression Training David is passionate that all organisations can quickly achieve positive bottom-line impact when the customer experience is placed at the very heart of a business culture. You'll often hear him say "It's not rocket science" and his sleeves-rolled-up approach ensures FIT achieve results for our customers - FAST!


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