Recently our old dishwasher broke down. We went to Harvey Norman. “Best to buy European quality!” we were told.
We chose ASKO, top of the range priced at $2300. A lot for a dishwasher, you might think. It was. But this was top of the range quality. ” This should last you at least 18 years,” said the man who installed it.
“Should see me out,” I thought, “I’m not going to make 90.” Less than two months later, it’s broken down. Nothing. Won’t start. No lights.
So we ring ASKO
After a 20 minute wait during which I listen to messages about how seriously ASKO takes the quality of its products, just what you need to hear when your $2300 dishwasher has broken down and you’re on hold.
I am then told by the nice young gentleman at the end of the phone that I need to provide proof of purchase of the dishwasher.
Given the ease with which Facebook is able to share masses of personal information with anyone it likes, I would have thought that Harvey Norman and ASKO could have shared my information about the purchase of my dishwasher. Surely, a simple part of the quality experience a customer can expect.
Then I’m told it will be early next week before someone can come and look at my dishwasher, my brand-new $2300 that didn’t last two months. (an 8-day wait)
Here’s what they have on their website.
We understand that although you may work business hours, your appliances do not. That’s why ASKO are proud to introduce class leading 7 day breakdown service.
The technical term for this is “over promising”.
Apparently, this doesn’t apply during public holidays, said the polite young man. I said I thought that was a bit long but the young man on the phone said that a week to get a repair man out was “acceptable quality by our standards.”
Local service providers, such as Opaque, can normally provide a same or next day service, so is hard to see why a big company like ASKO can’t meet the same service standards.
If it’s taking a week to get make warranty service call one of three things may be happening:
- there are a lot of quality failures on new products,
- service calls for product failures on new products are not being given priority (don’t generate revenue?)
- there are not enough people making service calls for new product failures.
Some theory around the idea of quality.
I was introducing Total Quality Management programs in Australian manufacturing nearly 50 years ago and one of the key principles was that quality is defined by the customer not by the manufacturer.
So, if someone is making a throw-away razor for a traveller, the quality standard the customer expects is that the razor should last for about three or four shaves.
If someone buys a watch to pass on to one of their their grandchildren, they expect it to last a lifetime. In both of these cases, the customer defines the standard of quality, not the manufacturer.
So if someone buys a dishwasher, especially an expensive one, they expected to be working each day. That’s a quality standard.
In terms of product and in terms of service quality, ASKO has got it absolutely wrong.
While the young gentleman should have said to me was, “What, your brand-new ASKO dishwasher has stopped working after two months? That is appalling. We will have a repair person round this afternoon to fix it. Please accept my humblest apologies on behalf of ASKO?”
This company positions itself at the quality end of market and charges accordingly.
Of course, ASKO will argue that it only has one product failure in a zillion. But that’s not the relevant in our kitchen. In our kitchen, ASKO has 100% product failure.
In our case, ASKO has not delivered on what we paid for and in addition it servicing policy has failed to provide adequate support for its product failure.