** A huge thank you to all of you who contacted me with concern over yesterday's earthquake. I'm fine; my family's fine. I live pretty far south and the quake did cause significant shaking at my house. (The epicenter was in Baja California.) Our nerves were rattled, but we are okay. **
If you follow me on Twitter, you already know a little about today's topic.
In August of 2006, I purchased a top of the line Whirlpool front loading washing machine for just over $1,000.
Expensive, don't ya think?!
I'd never spent that much money on a washing machine in my life.
I've been very happy with my washer (and the Whirlpool dryer which I bought at the same time).
I love the large capacity of the front loaders. I have three kids; there's never a shortage of laundry at my house.
In fact, I do several loads of wash every.single.day.
My washer has done a great job cleaning even the toughest clothes. I've been extremely happy with it.
My boys both have participated in sports. Currently, my youngest son brings home filthy baseball uniforms each evening for me to launder. They need to be washed and re-packed for practice or games the next day.
A few nights back, on April 1st, I was washing my son's high school baseball uniform when my washing machine began making a beeping noise. I went to take a look at it, and you can imagine my surprise when I discovered the washing machine door had locked itself tight.
Inside, my son's uniform was being held hostage.
Visions of an angry coach immediately began dancing through my head.
I turned to Twitter for help.
I tweeted my problem and I was pleased to get some advice on how to unlock the machine. I followed the advice, but unfortunately it didn't work for me.
The following day an appliance repairman charged me $53 to look at my three and a half year old machine. The repairman was able to unlock the machine and free the hostage uniform by using some magic repairman tricks. He also told me the "inner tub" of the machine was separating and that my "machine is failing." He told me I might be able to wash small loads temporarily, but I need to buy a new washing machine.
I was upset.
I was livid.
How can a "top of the line" washing machine "fail" in only three and a half years?
The repairman told me it doesn't happen often, yes – he does like and recommend Whirlpool machines, and it's too bad I didn't have an extended five year warranty.
No one buys a washing machine thinking it will DIE in less than five years.
No one, especially, buys a "top of the line" washing machine for a thousand dollars thinking it will only last three and a half years.
I began venting on Twitter. I was not a happy Whirlpool customer.
To my surprise, Whirlpool responded via Twitter.
They asked me how old the machine was, and then asked me for my "information."
I sent them a direct Tweet (like a private text message) with my first name and phone number.
The next day I got a call from Whirlpool. Based on the small amount of information I had provided, they knew my full name, address, and all the registration information about my machine.
I was impressed.
It also creeped me out a little, in a big-brother type of way, but I was mostly impressed.
They informed me they would send out their own serviceman to look at my machine and see if it could be fixed at no cost to myself.
I was, again, impressed.
Clearly, Whirlpool cares about their reputation. Clearly, they understand the power of the Internet. Clearly, they are trying to stand by their products – right?
Last Saturday, the Whirlpool serviceman arrived.
First, he informed me the water pump on the machine was bad and he had already replaced it.
"That's nice," I responded, "but I thought the problem was with the 'inner' tub?"
"I'll check that next," he said.
Sure enough, he determined the machine needed a new inner AND outer tub. He told me Whirlpool would be covering the repairs.
They would have cost me $1,400 if I were paying to fix the machine myself. (More than an entirely new machine would cost!)
I asked the repairman why Whirlpool wouldn't just let me get a replacement machine. It would be cheaper for them, and more convenient for me.
He shrugged his shoulders and said, "They won't. This is how they take care of it."
I'll be honest, my initial reaction was one of relief and thankfulness.
I felt relief Whirlpool cared enough about their customers to stand by their product. I felt thankful I didn't have to spend $1,000 to buy a replacement machine. (If I had to buy a new machine after only 3 1/2 years you can bet, in my anger, it would NOT have been a Whirlpool.)
Whirlpool was making me happy.
Really, what a smart company – don't you think?
I reach thousands upon thousands of people with my blog and Twitter … Whirlpool is smart.
Big corporations are learning …
Take care of your customers, and your customers will be your customers for life.
If your customer is a blogger?
You can reach thousands of people in a positive way by having excellent customer service.
Whirlpool is smart.
But I still have a big problem and I'm not sure what to do about it.
Whirlpool is sending BIG boxes with replacement TUBS and other things to my home. When they arrive, I'm supposed to open them and check for damage. Apparently they get damaged a lot in transit because they are big and heavy. Then I'm supposed to call the service company and let them know if my replacement parts are good, or need to be ordered again. If everything arrives undamaged, the service company will be out on April 15th, with two men, to spend almost an entire day re-building my washing machine.
If the replacement parts arrive damaged, the whole process begins again with them re-ordering the parts.
Do you see where this is going?
If the very best scenario takes place, I will be without a working washing machine for a total of fifteen days!
I do several loads of laundry EACH DAY!
Now, you're probably thinking, "Go use a laundromat, 24."
Of course, I already thought of that myself. The problem is, there are no laundromats near Money Town.
(Rich people never need laundromats? Inquiring minds want to know!)
In addition, my son gets home from high school baseball around 6:45 each night. His uniform has to be washed at night for the next day of school which he departs for at 7 a.m. I usually wash his uniform while I'm getting him his dinner, etc. It's not a time of day where I can be driving thirty minutes (or longer) both ways to a faraway laundromat. I can't be away from home for a couple hours every night. It won't work.
There's another, more difficult, problem also.
Whirlpool doesn't know this, but you do.
(Oh, how I hate that word.)
Laundry is difficult for me under the best of circumstances. When I do laundry at home, I drag the baskets across the floor with my left, non-dominant, arm. I drag them downstairs, one at a time, in the same manner … and then I drag them one-handed to our laundry room. If Briefcase is home, he helps me by carrying them, of course – but his job involves extensive travel and he isn't home very often.
I do a lot of dragging.
I'm not physically capable of lifting laundry baskets, carrying them to my car, lifting them in and out of the car and carrying them into a laundromat.
(If I even HAD a laundromat nearby – which I don't.)
In the meantime, dirty laundry has already begun taking over my entire house.
In a perfect world, Whirlpool would have a replacement machine delivered to my house in the next 24 hours.
And yet, it isn't a perfect world. Whirlpool has committed to fixing the machine I have, and I appreciate that – very much. It just isn't going to happen quickly.
What do I do?
I mean, other than trying to rub the clothes against a rock in the backyard with one arm in an attempt to clean them?
Your suggestions are welcome ….
** Controversy over this post warranted a further discussion which you can find by clicking here. **
© Twenty Four At Heart