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April 5, 2023 | 29 Mins Read

How Whirlpool Creates Field Service Differentiation

April 5, 2023 | 29 Mins Read

How Whirlpool Creates Field Service Differentiation


Simone Silva, Senior Director of Consumer Services and Matt Ganus, Director of Home Services, both at Whirlpool join Sarah to discuss how they’ve taken a path to field service differentiation using independent service providers and how they’ve done so without sacrificing collaboration, customer experience, or service success.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today we are going to be taking an inside look at how Whirlpool creates field service differentiation. I'm excited to welcome to the podcast today, Simone Silva, who is the Senior Director of Consumer Services. And Matt Ganus, who is the Director of Home Services, both at Whirlpool. Simone, and Matt, welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast.

Simone Silva: Thank you, Sarah. It's a pleasure to be here with you today.

Matthew Ganus: Thank you, Sarah. It's a pleasure to be here.

Sarah Nicastro: Awesome. Okay. We're going to have ourselves a regular party here, and I'm going to do my best to make sure, it's been a long time since I've had two people on at once, but I think I can handle it. Okay. So to start, I'm just going to ask you both to share a little bit more about yourself, your backgrounds, et cetera. And Simone, I'm going to start with you. I think most people are familiar with the Whirlpool brand, but if you can just also recap the organization as well, that would be great.

Simone Silva: Sure, no problem. So starting with Whirlpool, Whirlpool Corporation has a portfolio of iconic brands, not just in the United States, but all over the world. Here in the United States the brands that we go to market with are the very popular major appliances brands, Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, and Amana. So pretty clear segmentation in different portfolios by brands, but we do believe that's one of our strengths. We go to market with products that really deliver to the experiences that our consumers are looking for. Whirlpool has 111 years of history in the United States and in the world, so it does make us very proud to be part of such a great corporation. Switching gears to myself, I've been with the company for 16 years now. It's hard to believe it's been that long.

And prior to Whirlpool I worked in automotive for additional 11 years. But here with Whirlpool, my experience has been in quality and service, so about half and half. So half of my tenure with Whirlpool in product quality, supplier quality, and half of my tenure with the company in field service, and more recently in the last four years leading consumer services as a function for Whirlpool. For us consumer services is inclusive of our B2B and B2C contact centers and all of our home services, home delivery, installation and appliance repair.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay, great. Thank you, Simone. And Matt?

Matthew Ganus: Yes. I started with the company about 15 years ago. Most of my responsibilities were all within consumer services. I actually started off as a call agent into the call center with an array of responsibilities. Started on the front line, went into project management, and even got the opportunity to lead our executive corporate teams. I transitioned to service about five years ago to help elevate the service as a differentiator strategy. And as we focus on services, my team's responsibility to deep dive into process opportunities for operational improvements in the field.

Sarah Nicastro: Awesome. I always say when people have been at an organization, especially today, we know that talent is tough, turnover is high, et cetera. When people have been at a company for 10, 15 plus years, I always say it tells me that the company does a good job of not only keeping people happy, but giving people opportunities to grow and expand in their careers, which I think is really cool. Okay. Simone, when we chatted previously, you said that about seven years ago, Whirlpool made the decision to really focus in on field service as a path to differentiation. We're going to talk a little bit about how the company has done that. But can you talk first about how the company recognized the opportunity to use service in that way and really put more power behind the brand through its field service function?

Simone Silva: Sure. Well, I like to describe this as, it all starts with the realization that when a person makes a decision to purchase an appliance, that person is making a long-term commitment. Nobody buys a major appliance for their homes to be a short-lived product that they will deal with for just a couple of months and then be already looking for the next replacement. We are talking about durable goods that will very likely be part of a person's life for the next seven, 10 years, many times way over that timeframe. In pretty heavy use you deal with your refrigerator, your stove, your microwave, every single day, multiple times a day. What we realized is that when somebody makes that commitment to one of our brands, we need to offer more than just the product itself. We need to offer an ecosystem that comes with that product and really impact their lives in a positive way.

That's the role that service can play. When you go to market with a portfolio of products that carry that credibility of high quality service, of friendly service that will be available in any place where you need it, at the time that you needed, I think this gives peace of mind to consumers that is definitely part of the consideration set of whether or not they should be making an investment. I said it started with that realization. It was about seven years ago, like you said, that we agreed to pursue that opportunity. So to really make service a differentiator for each one of our brands, and it's not just the look and feel, we are not talking about a technician that shows up in someone's home with a branded t-shirt and when they go on the next appointment they change shirts.

It's not just the optics of it, it really goes down to leaving that home and leaving the consumer with a very positive experience, an experience that makes them want to stay loyal to our brands. Matt can for sure talk more about all the details of what we do there, but we do take seriously the opportunity of being welcomed into somebody's homes and really make the best of that. Not just repair an appliance that needs repair, but also educate that consumer on the best way to maximize performance and quality and really make their lives easier by utilizing our appliances.

Sarah Nicastro: That makes sense. I talk to companies every day that are looking at how to evolve through service, expand their business through service, differentiate through service, et cetera. And you mentioned that Whirlpool has 111 year old history. And so it's really common that even once a company recognizes that there's this potential to use service more strategically, when you're going from just a long history of a product focused mindset, it's a big change to put service at the top of the list as well and to have that be top of mind. One of the things that I thought was really interesting is we talked about the fact that the company, I think in part to work toward that mindset shift, the company will have a service leader go side by side with a salesperson to customers so that you're always representing service alongside the product and making sure that the brand is always seen internally and externally as both.

Matt, can you talk a little bit about that process and the thinking behind it and what you've found by, I don't want to say forcing them to unite, but I think it's making sure everyone's working together.

Matthew Ganus: I think it's really critical that you have a collective strategy on the sales and service side. Sales, they have to sell the product really well and it's important to showcase if, products do fail and we don't expect them to, but if a failure or repair does occur, we need to have the right service recovery processes, not only to fix the product, but ensure that we regain trust from our consumer within the service network. I look at this as service as a true catalyst for brand power. And when you couple that with the right selling strategy, this is where I believe that differentiating in the marketplace can truly occur.

Sarah Nicastro: It's a stumbling block for a lot of companies, right? Because they focus on the service transformation within the service function, but not on connecting it to the other parts of the business. It's a missed opportunity, because a customer becomes a customer through that sales process, but if you have service there from the beginning, it makes for a more seamless customer experience. And it also reinforces internally the mindset of the fact that the product and the service go hand in hand. So service is as of seven years ago a key focus in terms of differentiation for Whirlpool. And we're going to, again, talk about some of the specific tactics and processes, et cetera.

But another thing we have to mention that I think people will find interesting, is that Whirlpool made the decision to focus on providing its service exclusively through independent service providers. Simone, can you talk a little bit about that decision?

Simone Silva: I sure can. We've explored both models. We've had many years of experience with a factory service model, and we also have a lot of years of reliance on independent providers. I think that anybody who is really invested in understanding the service industry will come to the conclusion that in the United States the most successful service companies, most of them start as a family business and they are on the fourth, fifth generation within that same family. The way I like to think about it is that by partnering with those providers, we get the best of both words, because we come in with the drive and likely shoulder the infrastructure of a big corporation, and we pair that with the passion of a small business owner or a family owned business.

It is very regionalized. We do know that our characteristics when it comes to regulations and licenses and things that are very particular to the subdivisions or the different geographies in the country by partnering with independent providers, that factor already starts to not be a roadblock for a large corporation operating out of the headquarters here in Michigan. I think independence have more agility and flexibility to scale up and down to our service needs more so than what a large corporation would have. But it doesn't come without a very high level of trust and partnership. Like I said, we only were confident that this would be a model interesting for us and right for Whirlpool, because we had the right relationships with those providers, we had their absolute loyalty and passion for our brands.

When you talk to any of our providers, particularly the ones that are from what we call the W service network that's a subset of independent providers that manage most of our volume in the market. They speak about our shared consumers with all the same passion and willingness to provide a great experience that any of us would within Whirlpool. So when you have all those elements, there is no reason why not to leverage that as our model and build up on all the positives of it, the small business mindset, the passion, the knowledge of the different regional areas. That's what I see as one of our biggest advantages.

Sarah Nicastro: I love that. And I think that when you talk about the decision strategically to put more focus on differentiating through the field service experience, I think for some people then saying, and we're doing that through independent providers, those two things would be at odds with one another. Do you know what I mean? That's what makes this an interesting story because you have found a way to, like you said, bring together the best of both worlds. And so we're going to talk a little bit about how you're doing that. Matt, were you going to say something?

Matthew Ganus: Just to build on that, Sarah, I think we've had, to Simone's point, both models, our internal technicians and independents. I think there's benefits of both. I think what we see as a unique and interesting dynamic to play out here is the entrepreneurial spirit with our independents, as Simone alluded to, we look at these entities in the marketplace as entrepreneurs. And I think that provides a level of skin in the game if you can look at it as we both partner with a trusted relationship. And I think if we back up and we start to see how this relationship plays, we mutually agree that we need to improve, we have to have the right operational efficiencies and ultimately we want to deliver to the customer expectations and those requirements to have a five star experience.

I think if we do it right, we've learned that these efficiencies not only help serve our mutual consumers, but they also can deliver higher profit margins to the bottom line. And together it becomes a very viable partnership. It doesn't always have to be a hands-off management system. In fact, we found the more integrated and embedded we both are, that partnership continues to grow and both of these relationships I think have a significant amount of skin in the game and we win or lose together.

Sarah Nicastro: I think that's a good point, Matt. It's mutually beneficial, but it's also shared risk I guess, or shared reduction of risk. And what by that is if you think about an entrepreneur, a lot of times the objective there is they want to be independent. They don't want to go work for Whirlpool proper, they don't want to sell the family business, they want to be independent. But with that comes the risk of, okay, am I going to have enough business from quarter to quarter, year to year? And so this partnership gives them some stability. And then on the flip side, it gives Whirlpool I think a lot of agility. Simone, you mentioned not having to worry about those regional differences. Being able to trust those providers with some of the things that don't need to be Whirlpool's core competency or area of expertise, allows you to not have to focus on all of it and leverage these partners in a more agile way than if you were trying to globally or even regionally standardize everything. So yeah, really interesting.

Simone Silva: Sarah, one aspect that I think is very critical and at times people in corporate jobs like ours, we lose sight or we don't think of how relevant that is, is to design an experience around the consumer behaviors. The human element was that individual who will make the first phone call to request a service visit. When you run market studies in this area, in North America, you see that there is a tendency, there is a preference of consumers to rely on that company that they drive by every day and they know it's a reliable service provider associated with Whirlpool. They have in smaller towns, they have kids who go to the same school and that's the reality of our service industry. It would be not very smart of us to ignore that fact and just assume that consumers would also value our approach to service with a one size fits all, a national provider as being their best choice.

No, when they have that trust, that reliance on a community small business that they're serving, we are better off partnering with those companies and bringing our very best to them, but also leveraging what they can bring to the table in order to deliver that ideal customer experience that we want the Whirlpool consumers to count on. It's definitely a win-win and they know we depend on them, but we also value our partnership. We are here for the long run and year over year they have our commitment. Don't take that as we don't hold them accountable. Matt can speak to all the details of our management operating systems, our governance, but at the end of the day it's all to make all those independent providers better and together deliver an ideal customer experience.

Sarah Nicastro: That makes sense. All right, so Matt, let's talk about some of those aspects. You said, and Simone said this to me the first time we spoke is, we have to keep in mind that going independent doesn't mean being hands off. I think a lot of that trepidation comes from you're just relinquishing all control and hoping that the people you are partnering with will do what needs to be done. And so we're going to talk about how that's not the case. We're going to go through some of the ways that Whirlpool is working to direct, equip and empower its field force via the partnerships. The first thing I think we've talked about a little bit, which is this regional approach. You are taking this regional approach, but you have district managers, am I understanding this correctly? That gives regional leadership to pair with the contract workforce or the independent service providers. Can you talk a little bit about that structure?

Matthew Ganus: Yes. Think of it as deploying consulting services across the nation. And a lot of the times our service providers teach us way more than what we can teach them, but we believe it all starts with the proper values, establishing them within their culture, what type of tools they're utilizing on a day-to-day to potentially solve problems, and then how do they maintain the proper disciplines day in day out to maintain the results. So some of the things in terms of our methodologies of how we work is all around continuous improvement and lean tools and principles. We believe by applying these and we've tested, and these are tried and true establishments of how our partnerships work. In terms of governance, and we think about this as our operating rhythm. We call our management operating system here the foundational elements of how we work.

We look at, what are the process nodes that make up taking care of a consumer? Do we have all the right attributes? Is there waste within that process? Where do we want to find improvements? How do we start to go and prioritize those improvements one by one through maybe even a process failure mode effective analysis? Establishing this type of infrastructure into our service companies, we believe makes them stronger and ultimately allows them to solely start to identify and get very excited when opportunities or problems arise. There's a couple of other things around capabilities and competence building that I wanted to talk through as well. We do have traveling trainers. We have what we would have depending on some of the opportunities that we see, byproduct categories and dedicated training that goes across our network.

But it was not only focused on the technical altitude, it's also the soft skills. And that competency development is really critical, When we do have a repair needed, an elevated experience that as we aspire to achieve and we have to think about in some cases fixing the consumer first versus the product and focusing on listening and learning from our service providers is very critical on how we do that emotional intelligence in the home and ensuring that we have the right consumer interaction training. And that's deployed through our competency development training in-house. And if we do those things right, it all equates to what our output of measurements are. We're very big on the numbers here at Whirlpool.

We try to measure all the things that are valuable within the experience, but measuring performance such as customer ratings or even operational metrics, it really is a way to look at are we meeting expectations? Are we delivering upon our promise? And if we are coming up short, what are our actions to get us there? And that's really what our regional approach is with our field service business managers across the nation.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So those regional managers, I have a couple questions on this and I'm assuming our listeners would be curious too. How many independent service providers do they work with and what do those relationships look like? How often are they interacting? Are they interacting in person or do those people only work remote? What do those relationships look like?

Matthew Ganus: From a relationship, ratio based, it depends on the region, it depends on the district, but you could have a field service business manager that takes up anywhere from 150 companies depending on their market. What we do have is different tiers within our network. We do prioritize our exclusivity. That's where we have a lot of companies that have gone all in with us, and we see this as a competitive advantage. So a lot of our time is spent there. And how the relationship dynamics play out is, obviously we look at a relationship based approach. We feel like we have the right relationship, we're going to get the right result, but results are going to take a response and they're going to take folks that are going to listen and apply and also have us listen and apply what they need from our end to be in position to win in the marketplace and ultimately take care of our consumer.

What I do think is critical though is, you still have another 149 service companies that are out there that need to be taken care of. It is all about how we put together an operational rhythm through the management operating system. We do look at how do we optimize, how do we automate, how do we create self-service options? Those are very critical. So the reliance on these field service business managers are minimized and they can go after truly what the strategic priorities are in the field.

Sarah Nicastro: That makes sense. I want to go back to the point you made about the exclusive partners. So going back a couple years, there was a podcast I did with a gentleman from Foxtel in Australia and they had an all contract model, different situation, different industry, et cetera, et cetera. But this idea of prioritizing those relationships makes sense. And I'm just curious, what motivation does Whirlpool give those providers to be exclusive providers? Does it just happen or are there incentives for them to be or do that? Do you know what I mean?

Matthew Ganus: Yes. What we have here is an earned performance model. And so as performance is recognized, the market is earned by the service provider. It's critical for us to do our part to position them well to win the market. But as Simone alluded to, we hold our servicers accountable through the 200 plus MSAs across the country. Majority of those are filled with our exclusive providers. And as they are performing, what we've done in the past is we've recognized that performance by actually clearing out some of those servicers that we're in those markets as backups, as long as they're providing the proper availability, meeting our customer expectations, we do everything that we can to create more of a healthy, viable service network, especially with our exclusivity.

Simone Silva: And it's a conclusion that we get to together with them. Part of the things that those district managers are charged with is really to understand the exact service need for the area that they cover. What is the demand? Align what we are seeing from a service calls standpoint with sales projections, what are the new products that are hitting the market and likely staying within that area. So that business intelligence allows for them to understand, okay, do I need to grow an exclusive provider that might be based out of a highly populated metropolitan area and give that company an opportunity to expand? Am I better off because I'm in a rural area with houses that are miles and miles apart from each other to operate through independence? There is a strategy behind each one of those decisions. But when we see an opportunity for somebody to turn exclusive, there are a few things that needs to be true. So performance for sure is one of them.

Healthy demand, flow of business going into that company is another one. And at the end of the day they get to that decision by themselves, because they also see all of the efficiencies that they can gain and efficiencies translate into higher profitability by simplifying their operation, by eliminating the complexity of filing service claims with two or three or four warrant administrators, by having to keep their workforce trained and up to date in a variety of different brands. If it's hard along for them to get familiar with all the products in our portfolio, our four brands, imagine if they are a shop that serves everybody else. So they get to those conclusions and we only convert somebody to the exclusive model when it's mutually beneficial, it needs to be a win-win.

We really take along that commitment of high partnership and that district manager will get to that conclusion together with a candidate when we have a company that is a candidate for exclusivity. But fair enough, we do prioritize. We would like to see that model growing even bigger than it is today.

Sarah Nicastro: Now, this is maybe an unfair question because it wasn't one we talked about, but I have to go off script when I think of things that are really relevant. We've talked a lot about how this works when it's going well. The investment that Whirlpool is putting into having these regional managers that work with these different companies, investing in capabilities and competence building, et cetera. What happens when it doesn't go well? Okay, so what I'm envisioning is, what if there's a company that you're saying, hey, we're doing some traveling training and we want to come through and meet with the team, blah, blah, blah, and they say, no, we don't want to, or they don't want to really meet or engage a lot with the regional manager.

I guess I'm talking about there would be in the metrics if there's a glaring problem, that's going to come up and you're going to be like, whoa, whoa, whoa, this is a bad customer experience, we need to deal with this immediately. But I'm just wondering, knowing that the objective is differentiation through field service, through a very positive brand experience. I'm not necessarily asking how you weed out any flagrant problems because that seems like they would surface, but more so how do you move past the relationships where they don't want to be as collaborative as Whirlpool wants to be? Because that is the risk, right? Is the companies that aren't engaged or don't want to participate, that's where you would be nervous about the customer experience.

Matthew Ganus: I can take a shot at this one, Simone, and then maybe you can fill in the gaps. Sarah, as I talked to a little bit of the management operating system, I'll bring it right back to that. We do have early warnings being identified or signals within the management operating system that says, okay, things just aren't going the way that we expected. And the first thing that happens is you get a phone call, right? I will say with our network, and maybe we're spoiled and lucky on this, 99.9% of the time you have service companies that are willing to work with us. I think it's really important to set those expectations at the beginning of the partnership. We're very diligent on who we authorize. You're just not coming into the network to be authorized for no reason, or we just put a check in the box and you go do your thing and service our consumers.

We're looking at how do we actually build a fundamental relationship with you operationally, and that's going to take both of us to do our part. And as I start thinking about the authorization process, we have robust governance and systems that they have to be approved for. It starts with the background checks, it starts with making sure that they have the right insurance and all of the criteria established there to be an authorized servicer. And as we're going through that process, that process is long data. This doesn't happen over 24 hours. This is a two, three week process where we're working with that company. We have a whole onboarding package, it's a playbook that we share. Within that playbook we're setting the expectations of, what are these metrics that you need to hit? If they aren't hit, what are going to be some of the consequences?

And what we do is we give everybody the benefit of the doubt of what do we need to bring to the table to make you successful? And we start there, we ask questions, we go and see. A lot of my team is traveling across the country on a weekly basis. I just came back yesterday from New Jersey. There are a lot of time and dedication here, commitment to going, seeing operations. When we go and see, it's just not a honk wave, we bring donuts and coffee and we'll see it in the next couple of quarters. It's a matter of let's go in and really diagnose your operations. What's the assessment? Are you healthy? Let's look at everything end to end. Let's map it out. And that lean and continuous improvement methodology is critical. And if they're not embedding that, what does it take for them to understand a couple of those problem solving techniques so we can get these incremental wins.

And after we've exhausted all of our resources and things still aren't happening right, of course we have an improvement plan and we have consequences behind that. But it's within, I think, the relationship expectation that we do everything to be successful and we grow together. And when things don't go right, it's not about pointing the finger, it's about let's go to the data and understand what can we operationally change or adjust to put us back into a winning position.

Sarah Nicastro: That makes sense.

Simone Silva: I would give kudos to Matt and his team for how detailed, how granular that management of the network in the entire country is. They have all of their early signals like Matt called them, down to a zip code level, down to technician level. We have the ability to chase every single one of those signals. And honestly when you approach a problem that way, it's less about finger pointing and having that very cold relationship where we are paying for a service and they need to service well. No, we are there to problem solve. And then they are very open to that. In my couple of years leading this team, some people might get the wrong idea there that we hire and fire companies every other day and it's not really the case. We have a very consistent and sustainable base of service companies that are wanting to work with us.

A lot of them have opportunities for improvements, but we are working together to address. And so there were very few and rare cases where we had a straight elimination of somebody from our network. And it's never a quick move. We consider the consumers that will be impacted. We make sure that that district manager once again has a plan for that area because we need to have coverage. And I agree with Matt, maybe we are spoiled because we rely on, I wouldn't be afraid to say the best ones out there. They are working with us, but we also have very strong coverage. I used to ask the team, why our coverage is not 100%, it's 97%? Their answer has always been, we only do not cover the zip codes where there are no appliances, cemeteries, airports. That's the kind of thing.

But jokes apart. That puts us in a position that whenever we are dealing with problems and chasing those signals, we have time to put a plan together and make sure that the service needs for that area will be taken care of.

Sarah Nicastro: That makes sense. I didn't mean to insinuate I think you have a lot of those, it was more the conversation around the early indicators, because you don't want to wait until you see a lagging indicator in customer experience to notice, okay, maybe something's off here. So that makes sense. Okay. Have a couple more questions I want to try and get through. I'll put this to both of you, which is really just, there is this element within companies that sort of fear this model, that fear lacking control or that they're going to sacrifice quality or consistency of service. And so what would you say to that fear?

Simone Silva: I think that the fear keeps us on our toes and keeps us honest to what we intended to achieve with our model. It's not about taking control over their businesses. It's never been. It's all about that customer experience and together we succeed. So that's how we see it. That's how I hope we come across when we approach service companies and we walk the talk there, we play fair and transparently, transparently to recognize them for their successes and transparently to hold them accountable for their misses. I think when we first started seven years ago or six years ago when we signed the first exclusivity agreement, there was a lot of fear. That was a new thing. And a lot of companies were like, why should we, why would I put all my eggs in the same basket? How can I be dependent?

But I think time has showed then that we were true to that initial value proposition of the elevated experience, the highest quality levels. And by consequence they would grow their operation in a healthy and profitable way. I think the fear being there doesn't bother me. I think it is that constant reminder that we need to deliver on that value proposition and never deviate from it. I don't know, Matt, if you would have different thoughts about it.

Matthew Ganus: No, I don't. I think it's just really critical for us to, from an OEM perspective, demonstrate that we're all in as well. I think once they realize that we're in it together, the fear doesn't necessarily become eliminated, but it does minimize. And then how you work with the opportunities or the problems that are presented, not just focusing on the inputs, but also the outputs. And demonstrating we have an operating system, we do business assessments, we look at the health, we also bring in their perspective. And that's critical. Like I mentioned, and just to reiterate, we're continuing to learn nuances of how service operations are ran every single day. There is just not a plug and play strategy out there. But these servicers, especially the ones that have demonstrated great performance and just becoming very much differentiated in the marketplace from a brand representation standpoint, these companies teach us just the agility that it takes.

And a lot of times we have to try to keep our pace up with theirs. And so I think that's what minimizes the fear, is when you both come to the table, you both have skin in the game and you can look at each other eye to eye and say, yep, we're in this together and our definition of success here is to win and to be very healthy as we continue our journey together.

Sarah Nicastro: Simone, I think the point you made about control is so important. Like you said, it isn't about control, it never has been. Because for a lot of companies it is. That's the fear. But I think that's really the crux of how this entire industry is evolving, because whether we're talking about Whirlpool as an organization looking for how best to partner with independent service providers or whether we're looking at internal leaders, looking at how best to manage W2 workers, relying on control and compliance is not the way that you're going to get the outcome, it's partnering, empowering, equipping for success and then trusting. Yes, is that a little bit scary? Sure. But no one is having success with control as the objective, whatever the model is.

I think that was a really good point. Okay. I know we're over time. I'm just going to ask you guys a last question, which is, I'm going to ask you two different questions. Matt, I'm going to ask you, if you think about the way that Whirlpool invests to make these relationships successful, is there an element of that that you think has the most impact or that companies who are trying to achieve what you're achieving are most commonly missing?

Matthew Ganus: I think just as some lessons learned being five years in, I probably personally underestimated just how important relationships were in the industry. And if I think about really service, I think maybe we might have an opportunity to look at it differently. It's actually just a people business. It's not a product or service business, it's all about dealing with people. And when you get those things right, you unlock capabilities and potential. That's what a lot of our companies have taught us. And I think once you see that being embedded into a culture, now you really know that you have the right partnership there. I think it's not relative on investment. It's a matter of what are those infrastructures that you can build out and ensure that that is cascaded across your network and how do you put that philosophy into a significant amount of companies that can get that right.

Sarah Nicastro: That makes sense. All right. Simone, last question, looking back on your 16 years at Whirlpool, what would you say is the biggest lesson you've learned? You're on mute.

Simone Silva: I could probably split my answer into two here. If I try to stay focused on Whirlpool as a company and their relationships, I think we really leave our values on ours leave, and we take very good care of our people. Whirlpool is very people oriented, and that's probably one the biggest reason why I've stayed for with the company for so long and intent to continue. It's that true and genuine care for the people that make Whirlpool a successful company. If I answer your question more specifically to how we go to market and do service, I think we are not afraid of trying new things and adjusting and being flexible. So yes, we are 111 years old. Yes, we operate in field service through a network of independence that's made of family businesses that started four generations ago, but that doesn't put us in a position that we are complacent and not open to what is next.

I think we are very open to understand the different generations that are out there, not just interacting with our appliances, but in need of service and their choices as ways of communication, or what their expectations are for service. And I think we try to bring that to our network of servicers too, that they too need to be open and remember that when a consumer is assessing how good or bad we are and a service experience they had with us, they are comparing that service experience with the one that they had for their cars, with the ones that they had with their internet provider. I think our words today is so, everything is just so tangled. We are surrounded by all these experiences. That was a big learning for me with Whirlpool, that we take that as a very important thing. We don't lose sight of it, and we are in constant pursuit of how to adjust, how to better respond to that dynamic, not fight it and not be in denial, but to adjust for a better outcome.

That's to me, one of the biggest things that I've seen. And that translates into being customer-centric and putting the consumers first. It's not what Whirlpool can do for them, is how Whirlpool serves them and how Whirlpool responds to their unmatched needs and expectations. And so I think that comes across very consistently in our actions, in how we go to market, how we manage our service network.

Sarah Nicastro: I love that. I think for the people listening that are still focused on fear of losing control, they should shift to being afraid of complacency, because that's the real thing to be scared of at this point. All right. Thank you both so, so much for coming on and sharing with me and our listeners. I really, really appreciate it.

Simone Silva: It was a pleasure to be with you here, Sarah. Thank you so much.

Sarah Nicastro: Yes, thanks.

Matthew Ganus: Thanks for having us, Sarah. Appreciate the opportunity.

Sarah Nicastro: Absolutely. You can find more by visiting us at While you're there, be sure to sign up for the Future of Field Service Insider so you can stay up to date, and register for the Future of Field Service live tour event closest to you. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at As always, thank you for listening.