Tracking Bad Service with a Bad Survey


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After my rant about Whirlpool a couple days ago, it seems only fitting that Whirlpool also provided me with an excellent case study in how not to do a customer service survey.

Friends, if you are looking for accurate, actionable, and meaningful customer feedback don’t do the following:

  1. Call back 36 hours after a customer service call for a survey…. [To make sure I’ve forgotten important details]
  2. ….with an automated IVR survey…. [Are you trying to make me mad?]
  3. ….using an unconventional question scale…. [1-5 with 1 being best, 5 being worst, opposite of the usual]
  4. ….with no opportunity to provide free response feedback…. [I sure had things to say. Too bad I couldn’t say them]
  5. ….and no follow-through with the customer. [I gave very low scores. What happened? Nothing]

When I called Whirlpool to get my brand-new drier fixed, the company sent me the very clear and unambiguous message that they didn’t care about my problem and would not do anything more than the absolute bare legally-required minimum to help me.

Whirlpool’s customer service survey manages to reinforce that message. This is not listening to customers, it’s a kabuki dance of customer feedback designed to create the form of a survey with none of the substance (all while, not incidentally, spending as little money as possible).

And I’m not alone. Read about the numbingly legalistic runaround a New York Times reader got over a defective microwave oven.

Postscript: After I tweeted my earlier rant to Whirlpool, they called me in response. Their message? That the earliest they could get a technician to look at the drier would be in a week. I’m starting to think that the only actual humans at Whirlpool are mind-controlled slaves of the SAP database which makes all the decisions. Evidently, nobody who works there is allowed empathy, good judgment, or common sense.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Leppik
Peter U. Leppik is president and CEO of Vocalabs. He founded Vocal Laboratories Inc. in 2001 to apply scientific principles of data collection and analysis to the problem of improving customer service. Leppik has led efforts to measure, compare and publish customer service quality through third party, independent research. At Vocalabs, Leppik has assembled a team of professionals with deep expertise in survey methodology, data communications and data visualization to provide clients with best-in-class tools for improving customer service through real-time customer feedback.


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