Live experiment: the cost of poor service

I've been trying to resolve a very simple customer service problem with Whirlpool, but their customer service system is so hopelessly broken that I can't get any help. After my wife contacted them five times with no success, I decided to blog about my efforts to try to get a resolution.

Today's post contains an update and an examination of how much this service failure may end up costing Whirlpool.

We have a subscription where Whirlpool automatically sends out a new water filter for our refrigerator every six months and bills the credit card they have on file. Our credit card recently expired, but so far we've been unable to give Whirlpool the updated information. (You can follow previous posts here.)

My wife and I have now contacted Whirlpool's customer service 11 times with no resolution. It boggles my mind that a company's customer service team couldn't figure out how to update a credit card expiration date after 11 contacts, but some how Whirlpool has managed to pull it off.

In the meantime, I had to go to Best Buy to purchase a new filter for my refrigerator since I couldn't wait any longer for Whirlpool to get their act together. It cost me 30 extra minutes of my time to make the trip and I paid about $5 more at Best Buy than I would have under Whirlpool's subscription service. Not the end of the world, but very, very annoying. (Service shout out to Best Buy in Santee, CA. They always provide me with attentive, helpful service!)

Yesterday, I did get a voice message from a customer service representative at Whirlpool. He asked me to call him directly, but had left by the time I received the message. He indicated he wouldn't be back in the office until Monday, so I'll try to call him them. That will bring the running total to 12 contacts, but I hope this will be the last.

Lost Value
At this point, I'm asking for three things from Whirlpool to satisfactorily resolve this issue.

  1. A free filter to compensate my wife and I for all of our effort.
  2. An apology sent directly to my wife for their poor customer service.
  3. Updating our credit card expiration date so we won't have to go through this again.

To put this into perspective, let's take a look at what's at stake for Whirlpool:

It costs money each time one of their customer service representatives has to respond to another inquiry.

My home has 7 Whirlpool appliances. One of them, my clothes washer, is near the end of its life. In the past, I may have automatically bought a Whirlpool. Now, I wouldn't consider them unless this issue is resolved.

I will continue to post updates on this blog about my experience. (I'll also gladly post any positive developments.)