The Challenge

Although not broadly known in the U.S., this electrical appliance company is the world’s largest manufacturer of home appliances: washers, dryers, refrigerators, air conditioners, and more. The company markets products in the U.S. under several brand names, as well as serving as a contract manufacturer for certain GE appliances.

The appliance category is super sensitive to consumer reviews. Poor reviews negatively impact sales. Conversely, the more stars a product receives, the more consumers will pay. Interestingly, with proper customer care, most customer dissatisfaction can be addressed and ameliorated.

Prior to Harte Hanks, the company’s primary method of dealing with negative customer feedback was to apologize and shuffle them off to a phone number. There was no further follow-up, and negative reviews often lived on in perpetuity on social platforms. The company was getting no credit for resolutions, nor were they able to flexibly address problems within the customers’ social channel of choice.

Our Insights

Customers don’t want apologies. They want tangible actions to fix their issues, and more often, some type of “sweetener” to make up for the inconvenience. They want to feel the brand has gone above and beyond, taking a personal interest in alleviating their particular problem. Successful “disaster recovery” has the power to turn a brand militant into a brand enthusiast.

At Harte Hanks we practice immersive customer engagement, using proven methods to deeply connect with a customer, change their perception, and get the customer to proactively remove a bad review. For certain products, The Home Depot will remove negative product reviews if a successful customer resolution has been achieved.

Customers also want to interact within their channel of choice, be that Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, chat, email, etc. You need to meet the customer on their turf.

Our Approach

As with all our clients, we became the brand. To the world, we are the electrical appliance company or an alias of the specific sub-brand. We also developed key relationships with specific retailers, such as Home Depot, who provided us with customer data, including email addresses.

This allowed us access to proactively reach out to customers who posted negative reviews. We encouraged them to explain the problem in detail and overlayed their response on our analytic matrix to determine the best resolution, which ranged from simple troubleshooting, to technical assistance, repair scenarios, or all the way to offering product replacements or refunds. As the avatar of the appliance company, our team determined the optimal solution that not only addressed the issue, but also resulted in the greatest possible boost in customer satisfaction. The email chain was then forwarded to our partnership team at Home Depot, where it would be reviewed, and the negative review would be purged from their site.

Our technology suite was configured to proactively monitor the social media ecosystem. We constantly monitored and pulled in data from retailers like Lowe’s and Walmart, as well as maintained 24/7 surveillance of Amazon reviews. Wherever possible, discontented customers were redirected to the best channel for our team to rectify their issues and to encourage them to either revise or take down critical reviews or comments.

Like an early warning defense system, our vigilance provided the company with the collateral benefits of detecting, in real time, product flaws or unrealized consumer expectations. This insight led to proactively developed strategies to address and remedy issues, as well as to prepared responses to diffuse customer complaints from the outset.

The Results

We resolved both customer and manufacturing issues. Amazon’s customer review dashboard identified packaging defects. Portable washers were arriving damaged, dented, and broken due to poor packaging, which was immediately addressed and improved.



Operating a dynamic and comprehensive Customer Care engine on behalf of the company.


fewer negative reviews

A third of all targeted negative reviews at Home Depot have been eliminated.