KEL738 Voice of The Customer In Samsung Company Discuss the steps Kevin Sarni of Samsung would need to take to conduct a Voice of the Customer (VoC) analys

KEL738 Voice of The Customer In Samsung Company Discuss the steps Kevin Sarni of Samsung would need to take to conduct a Voice of the Customer (VoC) analysis in(250-300 words) , and then organize (using an affinity diagram) and analyze his data (using a Pareto diagram). KEL738
Samsung Electronics:
Analyzing Qualitative Complaint Data
We must understand variation.
—W. Edwards Deming
April 3, 2012, found Samsung Electronics quality director Kevin Sarni wondering what he
could do to stop the flow of bad news coming to his department. Over the past few weeks the
company had experienced a series of quality-related problems; the recall of one of its LCD TV
models was the most recent setback. To Sarni it was clear there was no single root cause behind
these problems: Samsung’s supply chain management, product design, and testing/quality
assurance functions all played a role.
At a meeting the previous week Sarni had been shown comments about Samsung products
posted on the website (see Exhibit 1). Although he was familiar with
Samsung’s customer complaint database, he was surprised at the number of—and emotion
behind—the website postings. Although he had the means to influence corrective action for
internal problems, Sarni felt powerless to address this public perception of Samsung’s products,
which he worried might touch off a social media–fueled public relations firestorm that would
make his job more difficult.
He wanted to analyze this qualitative feedback, but Sarni’s experience was limited to
quantitative manufacturing data. An internal Six Sigma Black Belt consultant suggested he start
by creating an affinity diagram and use that to create a Pareto diagram to determine which issues
to address first.
Sarni realized he would be leaving his comfort zone: engineering analyses were typically
black-and-white and focused on data, but the feedback from was full of
emotion and conjecture with few verifiable facts. He took a stack of Post-it notes from his desk
drawer and began creating his first affinity diagram.
Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics was a subsidiary of the Samsung Group and had been the world’s
largest technology company by revenues since 2009. Headquartered in South Korea, Samsung
Electronics employed approximately 221,000 people and had assembly plants and sales networks
in 61 countries.
©2013 by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. This case was prepared by Professor Jack Boepple. Cases
are developed solely as the basis for class discussion. Cases are not intended to serve as endorsements, sources of primary data, or
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photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of Kellogg Case Publishing.
According to market research firm iSuppli, Samsung grabbed the market share lead in North
America for LCD TVs in Q2 2011.1 In Q4 2011, Samsung sold 2.4 million LCD TVs for a 23.6
percent market share in North America. Trailing Samsung were Vizio (15.4 percent), LG
Electronics (12.4 percent), and Sony (8 percent).2
To promote quality awareness and instill it in the organizational culture, Samsung issued its
Quality Vision in 2009. Using the slogan “Perfection in Quality beyond your Imagination,”
Samsung’s vision was “providing quality products which customers around the world can have
faith in and take pride in, leading to ultimate satisfaction by fulfilling their immediate and
potential needs.”3 In support of this vision, the company implemented a code of conduct
consisting of five points: customer-centric, true to basics, professionalism, quality workmanship,
and creating customers for life. It also opened a “Quality Experience Center” where employees
could take a firsthand look at product defects and understand customer grievances.
In 2009 Samsung received a total of 49 million customer inquiries and grievances on product
purchase, repair, usage, and other issues. The company’s formal process for managing customer
complaints is shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Samsung Process for Customer Complaints
Source: Samsung, “Customer Delight Service,”
Customer_delight_service.pdf (accessed December 11, 2012).
Tom Morrod, “US Flat-Panel TV Shipments Surge in Q2,” Market Watch, iSuppli, September 28, 2012.
Chris Casacchia, “Samsung Extends LCD TV Sales Lead Over Vizio in Q4,” Orange County Business Journal, April 2, 2012.
Samsung, “Customer Delight Service,”
Customer_delight_service.pdf (accessed December 11, 2012).
ConsumerAffairs was a consumer news and advocacy organization founded in 1998 by James
R. Hood, a former Washington, D.C., journalist and public affairs executive. It was not a
government agency and was not affiliated with any other consumer organization or any of the
corporations whose products were reviewed on its website.
Its website,, was an independent consumer news and resource center
with a database containing tens of thousands of pages of consumer complaints, comments, and
compliments. The site also contained consumer news, recall information, scams, and consumer
resources such as a list of class action lawsuits, a small claims guide, a handbook for finding the
right lawyer, a guide to understanding credit, and an identity theft handbook.
All complaints and reviews were moderated before publishing. Moderators published
trending consumer problems that would help users find content that was directly relevant to their
concerns. In addition, all consumer feedback was routed to attorneys for review. On occasion, the
lawyers found something they believed could form the basis of a class action suit on behalf of
consumers. Hundreds of class action lawsuits had been filed on behalf of consumers based on
information from the website, but ConsumerAffairs was not a party to those actions and did not
profit from them.
Analyzing Qualitative Data
We have few agreed-on canons for qualitative data analysis, in the sense of shared
ground rules for drawing conclusions and verifying their sturdiness.
—Miles and Huberman, 1984
In quantitative (or objective) analysis, numbers and what they stand for are the material of
analysis; by contrast, qualitative (or subjective) analysis deals in words and is guided by fewer
universal rules and standardized procedures than statistical analysis.
As a first step, data must be organized and meaningfully reduced or organized into logical
groupings. According to Miles and Huberman, “Data reduction refers to the process of selecting,
focusing, simplifying, abstracting, and transforming the data that appear in written-up field notes
or transcriptions.”4 Not only does the data need to be condensed for the sake of manageability, it
also must be transformed so it can be made intelligible in terms of the issues being addressed.
One analytical tool for data reduction is an affinity diagram. An affinity diagram is a visual
tool that helps synthesize large amounts of data by finding natural relationships—or “affinity”—
between data points. As shown in Figure 2, in an affinity diagram random ideas are arranged into
logical themes.
Susan Berkowitz, “Analyzing Qualitative Data” in User-Friendly Handbook for Mixed Method Evaluations, National Science
Foundation, August 1997,, quoting M.B. Miles and A.M. Huberman, Qualitative
Data Analysis (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1984), p. 16.
Figure 2: Graphical Representation of Affinity Diagram
Random Ideas
Affinity Diagram
Source: Based on “Affinity Diagrams: Organizing Ideas Into Common Themes,” MindTools,
newTMC_86.htm (accessed December 11, 2012).
Themes identified in an affinity diagram could be used as the basis of a Pareto diagram,
which ordered the themes from highest frequency to lowest. This technique was named after
Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80 percent of land in Italy was
owned by 20 percent of the population. In the 1940s management consultant Joseph M. Juran
applied the Pareto principle to quality issues to identify the “vital few and trivial many,” or the 20
percent of causes (the “vital few”) that were responsible for 80 percent of the results. The Pareto
principle enabled organizations to focus on what typically happened (i.e., the 20 percent, or “the
vital few”) rather than the multitude of exceptions (i.e., the 80 percent, or “the trivial many”) that
had little effect on outcomes (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Sample Pareto Diagram
Vital few
Trivial many
Cumulative Percent
Parking Rude sales Poor Confusing Limited
Cumulative Percent
Source: Based on “Pareto chart (Pareto distribution diagram),”, (accessed December 11, 2012).
Taking Action
Measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so.
—Galileo Galilei, 1564–1642
Consumer blogs would never be Kevin Sarni’s primary source of information, but they could
serve as “listening posts” to provide early warning of problems. The returns and warranty returns
data he had traditionally used was valuable, but the delay in getting the information meant it was
not as actionable as the more real-time consumer complaints from
After Sarni completed the unfamiliar diagrams he had still another task ahead of him:
examining the results to see if they justified taking short-term action to address the quality
problems raised in the complaints.
Exhibit 1: Complaints To Be Analyzed
1. March 26, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 2/5
I purchased a Samsung TV model LN-T4071F in November 2007. I started having issues
with orange and black screen in 2011. The issue continued to get worse until January
2012; screen is not viewable, severe audio problems also. I could not adjust the volume
when I turned it on for 10 to 20 minutes. I wrote a letter to Samsung corporate office.
They called back and said they will not pay to fix any issues. Their website states their
TV products are supposed to have a life span of 10 to 15 years—what a joke! I will never
purchase any Samsung products ever again.
2. March 26, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 2/5
I bought my Samsung LN40A750 in January of 2009. Around six months ago and since
then, when I turn on the TV the picture is distorted and doesn’t clear up for 15 to 20
3. March 24, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
Please note that every TV manufacturer including Samsung should recall all their HDTVs
that have side connectors for HDMI and USB. The placement of side connectors creates a
great safety hazard. To use such connectors with HDMI cables, one has to loop the cable
outside the TV unit, creating an area where a baby/small child can be caught in the loop,
causing severe damage or strangulation to the child.
We purchased a new LED 32-inch Samsung yesterday and returned it today because of
the hazard. Please send this message to all TV manufacturers and concerned individuals.
4. March 24, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
I purchased the TV (Samsung LCD LN52B610A 52-inch TV) about two years ago; now
the TV will not turn on. I called Samsung and they said they would send a technician to
look at the TV, but they would not give me an approximate price on how much it would
cost for the technician to come look at the TV or where they would be coming from. I
paid about $1,200 for the TV and averaged watching it maybe an hour a week. This is
ridiculous, that a TV would just stop working after only two years. Anyone else have this
TV model and had this happen?
5. March 23, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
I started seeing black vertical lines on my 47-inch Samsung HDTV screen three years
after I purchased it. When I spoke to tech support at Samsung, I explained what the
problem was and gave my phone number. A few days later, a TV repairman called me
and asked what the problem I was having was. So I explained about the black lines on the
screen. The repairman told me it is not worth the money to fix it because it’s about the
same price for a new TV. When I called back Samsung, they said I did not renew the
extended service plan. I understand that, but I shouldn’t have any problems with a threeyear-old TV which I paid top dollar for. I feel they should fix it or replace it. After all, I
have a 15-year-old TV that never had any issues. Why is that? These Samsung LCD
HDTVs are defective, as I read all the complaints.
6. March 23, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
My Samsung flat screen TV was taking a long time to warm up until the picture comes
on. Then it stopped coming on altogether.
7. March 21, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
Three and a half years ago, we bought a 46-inch LED Samsung TV for $2,000. Six
months ago, the screen display began to malfunction when initially turned on. The left
side of the screen had a double image superimposed over itself and there were horizontal
lines dividing the screen into thirds. After 15 minutes, the screen would clear up and all
would be well.
One week ago, the problem progressed to a moving bar code on the left side of the screen
with the horizontal lines. This now lasts the entire time the TV is on. I called Samsung
and was told too bad, the TV is beyond the one-year warranty. I called Best Buy and was
told too bad, I didn’t buy their four-year protection plan. I called a TV repair shop and
was told the problem is the main board. Total for new board, labor, and tax is $400. Are
you kidding me? That is halfway to the price of a brand new television. I am so angry.
Apparently, Samsung does not expect their product to last beyond the first year or you
wouldn’t need to purchase an extended warranty. I have a television in my basement that
is at least 15 years old and still working. I have a beautiful JVC l’Art TV that is eight
years old and still going. But the TV I spent the most on can’t last beyond its three-year
mark. I will never buy another Samsung product. What a shoddy product!
8. March 21, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 2/5
This is our third Samsung. We have two homes. Our first Samsung started having snow
in it after one year. Last year, I replaced it and as of March 16, it has a red line down the
center. Last Thanksgiving, we had a Samsung 51-inch plasma delivered to our
Cucamonga home and it blew up that day so we could not watch the football games. Now
we have to replace another one.
9. March 21, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 2/5
My 42-inch plasma television is experiencing the same issues that other Samsung LCD
and plasma televisions are experiencing, but was not included in the class action
settlement. It started by cycling on and off with a clicking noise, and now does not turn
on at all but just makes a clicking noise when plugged in. I talked with three different
people and spent a total of 1.5 hours on the phone with Samsung only to be told that I
would have to pay for any repairs out of pocket. I was blatantly lied to by uninformed
Samsung representatives in an attempt to explain to me why Samsung would not repair
my television, stating that the problem was only with LCD TVs, when there are actually
nine plasma TV models included in a settlement over this very same issue. Free repair of
the faulty capacitors should be covered by Samsung for my TV just as it has been for
10. March 20, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
I had purchased a Samsung LCD TV, model LN46A550P3FXZA, at Best Buy on
12/15/2010. The TV would take too long to come on and made a weird clicking sound. I
called 1-800-SAMSUNG to complain and troubleshoot to get it fixed. Samsung’s
customer service is terrible. I was on hold several times with no results. After months of
wasted effort, I finally gave up and purchased another TV with a more reliable
manufacturer. I called Samsung for a copy of my complaint and they conveniently no
longer have a copy of the information. I will never do business with Samsung. I’m very
angry even after two years.
11. March 19, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
My new Samsung D7000 LED TV crashed after eight days from buying it. They fixed it
by changing the board; then when they delivered it I discovered they used a different
board which disabled some options. So they took it again and did a batched-up job by
upgrading the firmware of the new board and allegedly installed a built in Wi-Fi adaptor,
etc. They refuse to change the TV.
12. March 19, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 2/5
We had not had our Samsung 42-inch plasma TV very long when the main board
assembly had to be replaced. Parts and labor cost were $275.
13. March 19, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
I bought this TV today at Sam’s Club (I exchanged a Vizio I bought from them a month
ago because the TV didn’t want to turn on anymore) and figured Samsung would be a
superior product. Guess what? It did the same thing! The Samsung logo is on the screen,
then it turns itself off. What is the deal with these capacitors? Doesn’t anyone believe in
marketing quality products anymore? Please contact me on my e-mail about joining in
any kind of lawsuit that would teach these companies that they can’t do this to the
consumer. We can and will fight back.
14. March 17, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
Samsung TV makes clicking noise when powered on. It takes a long time to discontinue
the clicking and come on. The problem has gotten much worse.
15. March 16, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 1/5
Just found out there was a recall on my TV; never knew it. I called to have it looked at
and was informed by the repairman that there was a recall about what was going on with
my TV. I called Samsung and the woman informed me I would have had to call by March
2. I said sorry, my TV did not break sooner. She said they would have fixed it for me if I
would have called sooner—if you sell a product that has a defect you should pay for it no
matter when it breaks. I paid $3,000 for the TV. The least that Samsung could do is give
me the money that I paid to have it fixed. If you sell a lemon, you need to take the
responsibility and re-pay me.
16. March 16, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 2/5
I bought the TV (32-inch, Model #LNS3241DX/XAA) in 2006 for $1,499. The TV lasted
until November 2011. I was watching the TV and the picture went to a single line on the
screen. I have sound, but no picture. I am not happy with the life of the TV. I had a TV in
my bedroom that we have had since 2003. This TV is a Sylvania brand and was much
cheaper than the Samsung and is still working fine. I don’t feel that I would buy another
Samsung product. I was very disappointed with my experience with this TV since it was
highly recommended at the time.
17. March 16, 2012
Satisfaction Rating: 2/5
My girlfriend’s mother, her sister, and I all bought Samsung 40-inch TVs, LN-T4061F,
which cost around $1,200. All three have had the capacitors on the power board replaced
within …
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