Durability and reliability
Miele appliances include many features that distinguish them as sustainable products. Their durability and reliability are two of the most prominent attributes on this list.
Long service life
"Forever better" – The founders of Miele stamped this guiding concept onto their first washing machines at the beginning of the twentieth century. Their basic idea was to use high-quality materials and elaborate manufacturing methods to create products which delivered exceptionally high quality and a long service life.
Today, "Forever better" remains the company's central motto and is reflected in the fact that Miele is the only manufacturer in the industry that tests its products for a service life of 20 years. The requirements that Miele appliances must satisfy in these life-cycle tests are defined in the company's own internal standard (MWN 197/000). For domestic appliances, this standard contains the following specification, for example: washing machines are to be tested for 10,000 operating hours. This is equivalent to 5,000 programme cycles over a span of 20 years when using an average of five programmes per week as a basis. The specification for dryers is also 5,000 programme cycles (five per week), which is equal to 7,500 operating hours. The difference in operating hours in these two cases is the result of the shorter programme cycle times for dryers. Miele expects its dishwashers to remain functional for 15,000 operating hours, which is equivalent to 7,500 programme cycles when used daily over a period of 20 years.
But just how useful is a 20-year service life from an environmental standpoint? The answers to this question can be found in the Miele-commissioned study entitled "Considerations regarding Product Service Life and Alternative Strategies for Miele Domestic Appliances", which was conducted by the Oeko-Institut Freiburg in June 2014. This study looked at washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and refrigeration products. The main conclusion arrived at by the study was that using domestic appliances for as long as possible is beneficial. This was particularly true for washing machines and dishwashers, and it also applied to dryers and refrigeration products in most cases. Only for very old dryers and refrigeration products is there a potential benefit to be gained from replacing the appliances, as advances in technology (e.g. heat pump systems) made in recent years have led to substantial efficiency improvements in these product groups. Looking ahead, the study concluded that a long service life would be more desirable than ever for current models, since future increases in efficiency achieved through the appliances themselves will most likely come in only small increments. In addition, the increasing use of renewable energy and the integration of domestic appliances into intelligent energy systems will have a net positive effect on the usefulness of a long service life.
It is a fact that Miele's domestic appliances are used longer in the home before being resold or disposed of due to a defect than are other brand-name appliances. This was shown in a 2006 study performed by the German consumer research association GfK ("GfK Living, Useful Life of Large Electronic Appliances"). According to this study, new Miele appliances remain in use for an average of 17.0 years after their initial purchase, whereas the average useful life of other brands is only 13.7 years.
Updating to new technologies
A large number of Miele appliances are updatable. This makes it possible to retrofit the appliances to a certain extent, to re-program electronic units and to upgrade products to include the latest technological advances. For example, after the market launch of its new 6000 generation of built-in kitchen appliances, Miele responded to customer requests by retrofitting models already factory-equipped for networking with other components to also allow their integration into smart home applications. Using this approach, it is also possible to integrate network-compatible appliances from previous generations into new network technology by replacing the communication module.
Excellence in customer service
Miele domestic appliances are known for their reliability. Still, this is no guarantee that malfunctions requiring a service call will never occur over the entire life cycle of an appliance. To minimise the financial impact of such events, Miele designs its appliances to be "repair-friendly", which means that the cost involved in repairing or replacing a component should be as small as possible. Because Miele expects its products to perform for a service life of up to 20 years, the company has also structured its supply of spare parts accordingly: once a particular appliance series has been discontinued, a supply of spare parts for this series will be kept on hand for up to 15 years.
Miele customer service technicians undergo rigorous training in internal Miele instructional courses, and they complete their service calls with the help of fully equipped service vans. The "first-call completion rate" (percentage of service requests complete after the first service call) for Miele's customer service technicians is above the industry average. This fact has been verified by several sources, including the "Kundenmonitor Deutschland 2013", a comparative market research study conducted in Germany. The study named Miele's customer service the best in the industry for the 18th time. In the telephone survey which took place between August 2012 and August 2013 as part of the study, 73 percent of the consumers surveyed stated that they were "completely satisfied" with Miele's service, with 24 percent saying that they were "satisfied". In addition, Miele's customer service has also received the following international honours in recent years: the 2014 German Service Prize (awarded by the German television news channel n-tv), the 2013 KVA Service Award (from the Austrian Association for Customer Service), and the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Total Excellence & Quality awards (from Domestic & General in Great Britain).
In a broader sense, durability of course also includes the gentle treatment of the textiles customers entrust to the care of their washing machines, as well as the careful cleaning of dishes and silverware in their dishwashers.
To keep garments and other washed items – which, much like crockery, often have a high material and sentimental value – in the best possible shape, Miele has developed gentle processes for laundry care. For example, the cycle time for the Energy Label programme on its washing machines is limited to three hours. Compared to other manufacturers, whose washing programmes can last up to 5.5 hours, this amounts to a reduction by roughly 40 percent. These shorter programme cycle times protect laundry and extend the useful life of textiles. The same thing is true for Miele's dishwashers: the company has developed a rinsing programme which gently cleans even the most valuable glassware and provides lasting protection against glass corrosion. Because objects used on a daily basis thus remain in use over longer periods of time, the laundry care and dishwashing methods developed by Miele indirectly help to conserve resources.
Longer useful life thanks to satisfied customers
Customer satisfaction is a factor that cannot be underestimated when it comes to ensuring that domestic appliances are used for as long as possible. The more reliably a domestic appliance does its job – and the better the results, user comfort and energy efficiency it delivers – the smaller the probability that a domestic appliance which can still function properly will be replaced prematurely. Conversely, a long service life is not only better for the environment, it also directly increases customer satisfaction. Miele gladly makes every effort to promote this correlation.