In praise of Kitchen Aid's customer service -- UPDATED

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56 Responses to “In praise of Kitchen Aid's customer service -- UPDATED”

  1. dr says:

    Peeling paint under the reservoir is a problem that has plagued Gaggia-built machines like this for decades. Good for you for dealing with this before it leads to serious rust (as it inevitably does), and especially to Kitchen-Aid for taking care of it (as the old Gaggia importers never would).

    We are currently using a 20-year-old Gaggia Coffee while our “serious” machine is awaiting some repairs. It has held up remarkably well over years of alternating storage and legendarily heavy use. Properly looked after, your Kitchen-Gaggia-Aid should serve you well for years.

  2. Anonymous says:

    My SO bought a somewhat aged KitchenAid electric hand mixer from a garage sale for a song. It ended up dying on her, she contacted customer service, shipped it in and KitchenAid shipped her back a new, slightly better model hand mixer since they didn’t make that particular model any more. Abuse? Perhaps, but it goes to show how KitchenAid (the US arm anyways) stands by their products.

  3. punkin says:

    @16

    Your mother’s KitchenAid was made by Hobart — they built mixers to last a lifetime.

    However.

    The KitchenAid line was bought by Whirlpool in 85/86, and the build quality has been much less consistent since then. They’ve been getting better (for a while, Whirlpool was experimenting with plastic gears and transmission housings. Guess what! They broke!), but you need to go up to one of the “Professional” models to find something that approaches the Hobart models in quality.

  4. Remez says:

    I had the same superlative experience with KitchenAid CS in the US. The blade on my couple months old KA food processor somehow got frozen onto the central hub. KA had a brand spanking new food processor on my doorstep within two days, along with a return label and a phone number to call for delivery pickup for the old food processor. Plus, the warranty clock was reset to zero, so that I could have a full year on the new machine.

  5. Scott Wetterschneider says:

    @4

    We also struggled with a misaligned, miscast pasta making attachment, although struggled may be too strong a word. After a couple of interactions with the slightly wonky piece, a short phone call to Kitchen Aid resulted in a replacement being mailed out, no questions asked, and no requirement to mail the bizarre attachment back. I am sorry to hear that this doesn’t go as smoothly for brothers and sisters across the border.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Kitchen Aid UK? Just when you think you have an original band name

  7. phillamb168 says:

    So, I do love KitchenAids, but I can’t find this thing on Amazon US – anybody know where to find it?
    Lazyweb, I need you!

  8. dculberson says:

    Kitchenaid does make some good stuff. (Or is that good shit?) I have a stand mixer that I bought at auction, it fell off the skid, it was 20 years old, and it still works well 13 years later. (And current attachments still fit it!)

    Phillamb, try this one:

    http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KPES100NP-Espresso-Maker-Nickel/dp/B000JLBKP4

    I didn’t see the red one. But this looks like the same machine. Ouch on the cost, though.

  9. nutbastard says:

    re: “shit” vs. “the shit”

    in russian it’s even more confusing.

    mya tachka polni pizdyetz = my car is really pussy/fuck (equivalent to ‘the shit’)

    bleyatz! mya tachka pizdyetz! = slut! my car is fucked up/pussy-like (equivalent to ‘shit’)

    however, one can say ‘mya tachka pizdyetz’ and it is ONLY the tone which determines negative/positive

  10. jonathan_v says:

    My take on this machine is this: They may look fancy, but you’re mostly paying for brandname and casing. Folks on CoffeeGeek.com long discovered that the internals are all from Gaggia , which costs 1/2 the price. And at the $900 price point… well there are a lot of prosumer machines that are either dual boiler or HX that go from 900-1200.

  11. pAULbOWEN says:

    Nice looking and all but £534.98?! I’d want a fully specced Blowjob-a-matic for that money, never mind a cappubleedingccinno.

    Thank gawd I prefer tea!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Another excellent company is Halliburton
    our bad ass 80s coke dealer suitcases (Halliburton Zeros in polished aluminum) had handles that were cracking.
    When we called Halliburton in Utah to ask about buying new handles, they shipped us new handles free of charge. Especially cool since our cases are very very vintage!

  13. Anonymous says:

    We receintly bought a set of kitchen-aid pots and pans with a glass cover and stainless steel handles. The handles on the lids get extermely hot. The ones on the side are ok. We looked at their new model and they have changed their hands to one with a heat resistant covering. I called to complain and they said our pots are not broken so they won’t fix them. When asked if I could buy new covers they said go buy a new set of pots and pans. Kitchen aid Canada will not sell me pots again and I’ll make sure others are aware of our situation.

  14. guernican says:

    Excellent customer service indeed.

    Mind you, I’m sure I won’t be the only one thinking that for £550, a decent response to a product fault would be the least I’d expect. Did they not offer to throw in a shiatsu?

  15. Cory Doctorow says:

    For context, I started out with a GBP150 machine that I hated — single boiler, slow, hard to clean, balky. This machine is LOTS more than 400% better than the 150 model.

  16. kento says:

    Late last year, just as it was really sinking in how bad the economy was really getting, a KitchenAid mixer that my grandmother was using for less than a year broke. (She used it heavily, but the mixer she used before it lasted for several decades.) Even with things going to hell, she brought it to where she bought it, and didn’t have to explain anything, they replaced it. I’m not sure if that goes to Costco’s credit or to KitchenAid, but I was very relieved and appreciative when she had an easy time getting it replaced.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I second that. Same coffee machine, same problem, same service. Excellent.

  18. Andrew W says:

    I’m glad you guys had great customer service from them. We didn’t. A batch of their mixers went out with a miscast addon attachment bit. It was a problem Kitchenaid knew about, but it still took six months of phone calls, letter writing, trips to service depots north of Toronto (and we don’t own a car) and general customer service hell to get them to replace it. Meanwhile we couldn’t use any high torque attachments like the grinders, which were part of our motivation for buying the thing.

    In the end, though, they did finally agree to replace it. They also gave us a nice burr grinder as an apology.

    If Kitchenaid’s customer service has improved, then I would highly recommend their products. We love that mixer and miss it; we had to box up when we went overseas. But if you’re buying a mixer, make sure the attachments work. There’s a visible notch in the mixer that a pin in the attachment slots into. This is to keep the attachment from twisting when in use. Its pretty obvious if it isn’t fitting all the way.

  19. Cory Doctorow says:

    That sucks, Andrew. I wonder if it’s a Canada/UK thing? I had a Kitchen Aid mixer in Toronto, but I don’t recall ever needing service on it.

    OTOH, those Kitchen Aid burr grinders are the shit! I grind my own beans every morning for the brew, and I love the even grind. The adjuster’s good too — changing the grind to compensate for humidity is trivial.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think I can agree that my service experience is that great, the warranty they provide is only a year. So when my dough hook broke on my mixer I was out $20.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The only company’s customer service I’ve ever shouted for joy for is Irobot’s. My Roomba has friends looking after it.

  22. mrskchristie says:

    My husband bought me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for Christmas this year. When he plugged it in on Christmas Day it blew up, shocked him and my 2 1/2 year old daughter was sitting beside it. Now KA says that they will replace it but not give me different model. Who would want the same model that blew up on Christmas? …Now I have to wait 72 hours for another KA manager to call me back as the first one said she can’t transfer me.

  23. Timothy Hutton says:

    Cory – I’m glad you had an experience with Kitchen Aid that left you compelled to share it with your fellow Boing’ers, but might I encourage you to find a way to communicate you happiness with their customer service with Kitchen Aid senior management, give them some positive feedback and encourage this behavior going forward?

    Were it me, I’d send a note to the office of the President and the VP responsible for customer support. Let them know these types of actions help build brand loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing…

  24. stumo says:

    So shit=bad, the shit=great. English is a confusing language sometimes…

  25. A Nonny Moose says:

    In this day when customer service failures are the rule rather than the exception, it’s really nice to read an article like this one. Kitchen Aid has always had top-notch appliances, it’s good to see they stand behind them.

  26. Anonymous says:

    They can afford this kind of customer service as their products are now made for nothing in the 3rd world out of plastic. Kitchenaid as your grandmother knew it no longer exists but that doesn’t stop the manufacturer from capitalizing on the name. They were bought out a few years ago and the multi-national brought the quality way down on all of their products. They do look nice though. There is a reason the return was so easy — they do it all the time. Try putting pizza dough into one of their mixers and see how long it lasts. They replaced all the old metal gears with PLASTIC ONES. Their ranges are boat anchors. They play the law of averages, assuming that you will just buy this as counter art and not use it too much. I guess its nice that they took the return like they were supposed to, but wouldn’t it have been nicer if you didn’t have to return it in the first place?

  27. Anonymous says:

    I also have had great experience with Kitchen Aid customer service. I had a food processor for two years and used it all the time in pretty heavy-duty applications (I make a lot of pizza dough). One night the blade broke and the whole works jammed up. I called customer service – hoping to be able to buy a new blade and maybe get some advice on how to fix it. They sent me a brand new one and gave me some advice to keep it from happening again! Kitchen Aid is now my first choice for all appliance purchases.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I have to comment on my CS experience with KitchenAid, a bad motor in a nearly new stand mixer.

    I called the CS line, and I tell the service rep that there is a odd grinding noise, like bad brushes or a bearing failure. She then asks me if the mixer is available; I say yes, and she asks me to plug it in and turn it on for her to hear! So I oblige and hold the phone next to a whirring mixer. She then says that she doesn’t think it sounds too bad, so I lose patience (it was NOT April Fools Day, BTW) and ask to speak to a CS manager, which I got. The manager was apologetic and a new mixer was at my door in two days.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Bollocks = bad
    The Dog’s Bollocks = good

  30. Andrew W says:

    Thanks, Cory. We got our mixer from the Bay down at Queen and Yonge, but there was apparently just a batch of ‘em that had problems. We lucked out. :)

    They did eventually sort the problem out. I would buy another KitchenAid product. And yeah, the grinder is AMAZING.

  31. mrbill1234 says:

    My mom has had the same Kitchen Aid mixer for over 40 years – still going strong. I’m thinking of getting one myself, but just have this sinking feeling that while the new models look the same, they most probably will not last the 40+ years that my mom’s has.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I have had similar customer service experience from the Jura-Capresso folks, regarding their espresso machines. Saeco, on the other had was a total nightmare (where I ended up spending nearly $600 to repair an $800 machine, one month out of warranty),

  33. talmage says:

    Stumo, it’s easy to tell if shit means good or bad. If it’s used as a mass noun, it’s bad. If it’s used as a count noun or if it has a positive modifier, then it’s good.

    Examples of bad:
    “This coffee tastes like shit.”
    “Oh, man! You’re in deep shit now.”

    Examples of good:
    “OTOH, those Kitchen Aid burr grinders are the shit!”
    “This is good shit.”

    I’m a linguist and I’m here to help you.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I had a similarly nice experience with Kitchen Aid customer service. A couple of years ago I purchased a stand mixer from Amazon that had been reduced in price as, I believe, the model had been discontinued. The motor was dead on arrival. I called KA customer service, they said they no longer had my model available in my color so they asked if I’d be okay with receiving a higher-end model in the color I wanted. Um, sure. So they sent the new, better model via UPS who also took back my broken model. Definitely the best customer service I’ve experienced.

  35. anaximander says:

    Unfortunately, my experience echoes Andrew’s – the exact same problem, the exact same depots, and five months of trying to get them to do a simple replacement in order to fix the issue – with some seriously less-than-competent CSRs.

  36. drude says:

    Where was the paint flaking? I have this machine, and my only grumble is that the paint under the water reservoir is coming away. I might get in touch with customer services myself…

  37. katieb says:

    I’ve got to say, I would have done anything for an experience like yours. My stand mixer had a small problem with one of the parts within a month of the warranty expiration, so we called in and were pleased with the quick response in getting a shipping label out to us. That’s where my warm fuzzies toward KitchenAid Customer Service ends.

    We sent the machine from Ottawa to their repair facility in Mississauga immediately after Christmas and then heard nothing. We checked the CanadaPost site and the tracking number showed the machine had made it, so we waited. Two months later the machine showed up at our house, having not been fixed. The response from the company? Incorrect paperwork. We followed the checklist they provided, so didn’t see this one coming. No one called to ask if we could fax the additional document or send it along, they just sent the machine back to us…after two months.

    So we made arrangements to have the machine sent back again, this time making sure to have all the documents with it. Again, we heard nothing. One month. Two months. Three months. Then we got on the phone and kept calling – how could this small, seemingly simple piece take this long?! Well, the run-around ensued and they firmly believed they never received the machine (CanadaPost showed otherwise). They lost the machine. Full on missing. I’m glad I wasn’t the one on the phone with the service person (from a Texas facility, by the way) – I was losing my mind in the background.

    How does this story end? At the beginning of June, six months after this fiasco started, they sent us a brand new machine. All over a $10 part I would have been happy to replace myself. I’m happy to have my pistachio green mixer, Marvin, back home, but oh man, I’ll think twice before getting another KitchenAid appliance if this is how service shakes down in Canada.

  38. Cory Doctorow says:

    @14: That’s exactly where my enamel was flaking away. I think it’s trapped water from the reservoir seeping under the enamel via a loose bonding seam, then evaporating, leaving behind successive layers of mineral salts that gradually force the enamel away from the metal.

    Katieb, that truly sucks. If anyone from Kitchen Aid HQ is listening, you need to clean house in your Canadian operation. I’m gonna update the post on this, too.

  39. jjasper says:

    I’ve heard good things about the US customer service too – a friend who didn’t have the original sales stub still got her machine replaced for free. Kitchenaid machines are one of those “buy once, never own another machine unless you upgrade to a better one from the maker” type products.

  40. WalterBillington says:

    I love this – have a Kitchen Aid blender which has functioned faultlessly for 10 years.

    Your praise made me want to sing the praises of these fellows and ladies – their customer service was excellent:

    Bodum (cafetieres etc) – called with an issue, they resolved it like lightning, with great ease.

    Brio (wooden toy trains) – replaced a weak train engine and threw in another as a gesture, no problems and a lovely letter of apology

    Amazon.co.uk (ok, controversial as they handle so much …) – fully refunded a crappy electronic item sold by a third party vendor, and simply told me to excrete the offending article from my property.

    Love it. I don’t work for any of them, or have any kind of affiliation.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the update! I was about to mention my own hassle with the Canadian KA customer service. It’s a shame really because I love their product and I’m really pretty easy to please as a customer but bad customer service makes me unlikely to spread any good word of mouth.

  42. Bionicrat2 says:

    Had a good experience with a 5 year old KA blender. They told me which local repair shop to go to and that the fee would only be $20 regardless. It was fixed while I waited. Works like new again.

  43. Carrie says:

    I bought a used Kitchen Aid mixer at a garage sale for $10-15.
    It had been roughly used, all the attachments were gone and the little rubber feet were badly damaged. I called customer service. They sent me -free of charge- new feet and a manual.
    I loves me some Kitchen Aid.
    -Carrie

  44. Marchhare says:

    @Talmage: Using “shit” as a mass noun is neither sufficient nor necessary for its being used negatively.

    Not sufficient: Your sentence above–”This is some good shit.” Here syntactically pretty clearly it’s being used as a mass noun, note the presence of the quantifier.

    Not necessary” “Shit!” or “This car is shitty.” The latter case isn’t a metaphorical use of the lexeme “shit”, certainly not in the way “watery” is in “This porridge is watery.”

  45. Anonymous says:

    You shouldn’t replace something just because it has flaking paint. That perfectly working unit you sent back is headed for landfill probably. :(

  46. Anonymous says:

    I have tried to contact Customer Services over the last two months , by e mail & telephone , with no success!
    My kitchenaid toaster needs new element.

    Very bad service.
    c

  47. Anonymous says:

    Just an additional comment to the atrocious customer service of Kitchenaid Canada.

    We bought a stand mixer that died within the first few months of ownership. Then we had a similar run around to the other commenters above about the run around. After 3 months we received a replacement unit.

    Fast forward a year and a half and now the welds on the bowl have given way. Only one of the three spot welds was actually effective so of course the hing broke off. According to Kitchenaid this isn’t a manufacturer’s defect. Bull!

    No amount of speaking to customer service or supervision gets us any satisfaction. It’s past the warranty period so too bad. Wonderful! The only option is to buy a bowl that is now discontinued for $70 + $40 shipping and handling and Oh by the way the bowl is backordered for an unknown period.

    So we have a huge boat anchor. Never will another Kitchenaid product come into our house. What a piece of crap!

  48. PaulR says:

    So, Cory, have you started to kinda, y’know, think about roasting your own beans yet?

    It IS the shit!

  49. Gal_n_AL says:

    Agreed. KitchenAid’s customer service is one of the few things that is right and good in the corporate world. My crock pot’s warranty was well past the expiration date when I noticed the crockery was beginning to crack. ( I use it at least twice a month to make humongous batches of spaghetti sauce) I called CS to see if I could get a replacement and after answering a few questions, the rep informed me that the warranty was expired, but that they would send a replacement crock FREE OF CHARGE w/in 10 days. What a fabulous company!

  50. brian corcoran says:

    Cory,
    No doubt the Kitchen Aid is a nice machine, but I have every faith that eventually, a maverick such as yourself will recognize the genius of a manual (lever) espresso machine and ditch the Kitchen Aid accordingly.
    May I suggest for future reference a La Pavoni, Olympia or Electra?

  51. Purly says:

    Coffeegeek reviewed this a while ago and my impression was that you’re better off with a gaggia.

  52. Zalsoa says:

    I just bought a used Kitchenaid mixer after a ton of research. Unfortunately, it has the cracked plastic gear housing that’s now infamous for those in the know. I’ve heard great things about their customer service before and might give them a call myself – hopefully they can at least point me in the right direction to fix it.

    On another note, I’m amused by the shit good/bad discussion, particularly as I was talking about it this morning! Ah BoingBoing, I love you so….

  53. Anonymous says:

    Just don’t buy a La Pavoni Grinder. Hopper/doser adjustment was designed by someone who was mad or blind or drunk. It’s not keyed so when you take the hopper off you can put it back anywhere, changing the number but not the grind setting. Crazy!

  54. Anonymous says:

    i had the same problem, i just called and they are going to replace it!
    KitchenAid rocks, we were getting worried since we love our unit!!

    US based kitchen aid customer

    - js

  55. Anonymous says:

    @mrbill,

    I believe the reputation KA mixers have for durability traces back to when they were made by Hobart – who make real commercial/industrial mixers. Somewhere in the past couple of decades, Hobart stopped making mixers for KA. Metal parts turned plastic, etc. I have no personal experience with KA, but there’s a real difference between the two eras’ machines.

    -Douglas

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