Above And Beyond: KitchenAid's Sharp Customer Service

Despite proper care, Hexum2600’s 4.5 inch KitchenAid Santoku knife began to rust four months after purchase. Hexum2600 sent KitchenAid an email.

    “I explained that I have purchased a lot of KitchenAid small appliances and other products and that this was the first that I had a problem with. I said that I was disappointed because I had purchased this product from them without researching the quality of the product or reading any reviews on it based on my continually positive experiences with their company.”

KitchenAid’s response, inside…


KitchenAid called Hexum2600 with good news. Not only would they replace his 4.5 inch Santoku knife, but they would send a 7 inch knife as an apology. A pre-paid return label was on the way. Returning the knife with the original packaging “would be nice but was not necessary.”

Two weeks later, Hexum2600 has both knives. The full email, below.

About four months ago I purchased a 4

inch Santoku knife from KitchenAid to add to my culinary utensil collection. It’s a great knife, and it actually got a lot of use in those first few months. However, despite proper care (hand washing, immediate drying, and no immersion in water) it started to develop some rust on the blade itself.

I went to the KitchenAid website and sent in an email through their form, and waited for a response. I explained that I have purchased a lot of KitchenAid small appliances and other products and that this was the first that I had a problem with. I said that I was disappointed because I had purchased this product from them without researching the quality of the product or reading any reviews on it based on my continually positive experiences with their company. This was on a Saturday evening, and I did not hear back until Tuesday, which was fine since that meant they had only taken one day to catch up on a weekends worth of notices.

The response came as a message left at the number I had given them, from a lady informing me that they were not only going to replace the 4

inch Santoku knife but were going to send me a 7 inch knife as an apology. She said they were going to send me a return mailing label to return the rusty knife, and that if I had the original packaging that would be nice but was not necessary. She informed me that getting the order to the warehouse and getting it shipped might take a few days, so to expect the products to be here in about 2 weeks or so.

A couple days later I received the return envelope… and yesterday, one day shy of 2 weeks from when I sent in the letter, I received both knives in the mail. As a small plus, she obviously read that I specified I had purchased the metal handle instead of the one with the rubber grip, and both knives they sent out had the metal handle.

I am glad for how easy it was to have this taken care of, no hassle and the times quoted were dead on. Although I didn’t expect the free knife, that’s always a plus as well!

— CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Comments

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  1. KevinQ says:

    As much as I like to read you guys snark on deserving companies, I think “Above and Beyond” is becoming my new favorite feature.

    Well done to KitchenAid.

    K

  2. xenth says:

    Agreed. Definitely love the above and beyond posts. It is great to know what companies you can rely upon.

  3. FREAKHEAD says:

    KevinQ hit it right on the head. I think it is equally important to point out quality product/company/service as it is to weed out the bad ones.

    It is worth the extra dollar it may cost to get the quality product backed by a quality company. Often buying the lesser expensive product or a discounted item from a unsatisfactory company will cost you more. The time and aggravation if it breaks and the cost of a 2nd item if they don’t fix/repair it.

    I need some new knives, I know where I am headed.

  4. Scuba Steve says:

    Heh. Technical support doesn’t get many (if any) calls about knives. I’m glad they have a great customer care team though for the cases where the quality just wasn’t up to standards.

    Probably one of the guys in Michigan. Normal CSRs aren’t allowed to promise much, and we don’t get emails from people.

    KitchenAid though. You’re not just paying for the knife, as that would be one hell of an expensive knife.

  5. mrdelayer says:

    “Sharp Customer Service”

    Do the puns never end?! ;D

  6. EtherealStrife says:

    they were not only going to replace the 4 ½ inch Santoku knife but were going to send me a 7 inch knife

    Ordinarily receiving a 7 inch knife in the mail would be rather disturbing (especially when it’s form cs, after filing a complaint). In this case, well done KitchenAid!
    It’s good to see that SOME companies give a damn about their customers.

  7. mantari says:

    I was just thinking to myself last week, “what if Consumerist was more positive from time to time?” I’m glad that you’ve delighted me before I could even whine about how poorly I am being edutained for free!

  8. TechnoDestructo says:

    Yeah, this is good service, but hell, quality knives shouldn’t rust, ever. Hell, I’ve had 100 yen shop knives that didn’t rust. They damn well should have been apologetic.

    I mean, kudos to them for doing the right thing, but that seems a little worrisome to me that they even had to do it, and it’s sad that the opposite happens so much that this is a story. But then, I guess that’s why this site is here, too.

  9. elladisenchanted says:

    I believe that a good knife should indeed never rust, but there’s no way to protect against small anomilies in the finish and other “defects in manufacturing or workmanship.”

    I totaled my KitchenAid mixer last year because i was, charitably, being a moron. I was over a year out of warranty, and all I wanted to know was how to pay for repair.

    Sure enough, I got an RMA label, with no form for how to pay for it. The servce rep coyly stated that “all you need for repair will be in the package.” Thus, I called back and was told in no uncertain terms that this was a complimentary repair regardless of warranty status “because it’s unacceptable to have a two-year-old mixer fail in ordinary household use.”

    “Floored” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

  10. homeslicer says:

    kitchenaid is a great company they done me like you before. my whole kitchen is kitchinaid stuff. they also help the community. they raised 5 million dollers for breast cancer reasearch by selling pink gadgets and mixers.

  11. homeslicer says:

    and by the way i swear i dont work for meyer corp or anything.

  12. jesseraub says:

    A while back I had a KitchenAid burr coffee grinder. It was a mid-level model, did the job it needed to do for the price (about $120). It got jammed, so I called KitchenAid to ask them about putting it back together (since i took it apart and dropped a piece) and before I could ask for help, they told me that the model was out of production and they no longer did repairs on it so they’d just have to send me the KitchenAid Pro burr grinder at no extra cost. I got a $300 coffee grinder in the mail, no troubles. Talk about customer service!

  13. soj17 says:

    Quit buying shitty knives and you won’t have problems with them 4 months after you bought them.

  14. donnie5 says:

    I bought several “Pampered Chef” knives and two of them rusted. I am going to try and get them replaced. These knives are far from “shitty” and yet still rusted. Sometimes it just happens. That whole man made thing sucks sometimes.

  15. Juliekins says:

    Back when I was in college, my roommate had a KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer. She moved out for the summer but left all her stuff, including the mixer, and gave me her full blessing to use her stuff. I was making cookies one day and the switch on the mixer broke–I couldn’t shut the damn thing off without unplugging it! I called KitchenAid’s customer service and had a return label and new mixer in under seven days. I think I said “Are you sure?” and “Wow!” about eleventy billion times during that phone call.

    That experience made a big impression on me, and it’s evident in the collection of KitchenAid small appliances that are sitting on and under my counters. They make great stuff and they stand behind their products.

  16. ArtlessDodger says:

    Does anyone else think that if KitchenAid “leased” their name to Walmart to meet the needs and wants of Wal-Mart’s “brand aspirationals,” that their level of customer service may go down?

  17. KitchenAid is an awesome company. It’s sad that their “we stand behind our products” philosophy seems so old-fashioned nowadays.

  18. Kitchen Aid rules.

  19. Lilyara says:

    Above and Beyond is becoming my text version of looking at pictures of puppies and bunnies at cute overload. The warm fuzzy feelings are much appreciated on Monday.

  20. airren says:

    Kitchen Aid is great! No someone please tell me where I can buy that red-person knife holder!

  21. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @alexak: I wouldn’t buy a KitchenAid mixer at WalMart, that’s for sure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the overall quality level will go down. This article tells how WalMart sometimes pressures companies into manufacturing an inferior product specifically for their stores. While I trust the KitchenAid brand from experience, I wouldn’t necessarily put it past them to do the same thing — that’s a huge market — and they probably wouldn’t provide the same level of support for their crap product line. Buying from other vendors or direct from the manufacturer should still be safe, though.

  22. tcabeen says:

    Getting married next year, and even more positive now that the mixer is going in the registry. Thanks, Consumerist!

    Also, I got some Quaker oats, and the sucralose (splenda) buried in the list of ingredients escaped my attention. I was SO excited for lower-sugar instant oats, and equally unhappy to find the chemicals, that I complained on their site. I received an apologetic response within 3 business days, mentioning the FDA, diabetes, etc. They’re sending a coupon to replace my purchase. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use it for one of the nice cylinders of natural, old-fashioned oats that I have to sweeten and flavor myself.

  23. Joafu says:

    Ah, another happy story about a company that still cherishes their customers. Perhaps Kitchen Aid should start an airline; I’d fly them.

  24. adamondi says:

    I think I may go through all of the Above And Beyond posts, make a list of the companies involved, and use them as my “Preferred Brands/Companies” whenever I am in the market for a purchase.

    Perhaps a periodic “Above And Beyond” company roundup could be done on The Consumerist.

  25. SexCpotatoes says:

    I have that knife holder, but it doesn’t have three knives in the chest, the paring knife is thru the head.

    It’s called “The EX” to anybody who wants to run a search for one. I paid about $80 for the set a year and a half ago, but I saw a black model on the DODtracker website for $60 a few months back. Happy hunting.

  26. Husker-fan says:

    Airren, try
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/gear/86dd/

    They have both the red and black models for sale for $69.99

    I will also say, to stay on topic, that I’ve never had any trouble with the KitchenAid products that I’ve used. But, it’s good to know they are willing to stand behind the items they sell.

  27. chandler in hollywood says:

    OK, I was a scum sucking yuppified pig who bought a BLACK 5quart Kitchen Aid mixer to replace my WHITE 5 quart Kitchen Aid mixer because I remodeled my kitchen. When I opened the box for the new mixer, the attachments were WHITE for the Black Mixer. So the complaining little bitch in me sent a “what’s up with that” letter to Kitchen Aid. THE NEXT WEEK I received in the mail, with a letter of apology, a complimentary set of industrial metal attachments!

    It now looks nice next to the 6 quart Black Kitchen Aid mixer I later bought.

    Kitchen Aid FREAKING ROCKS!!!!!!

  28. Smashville says:

    Does anyone have a bad story about KitchenAid? I’ve never heard one…seriously. They should get into the car/credit card/cell phone industry.

  29. sukki007 says:

    I’ve been bitten and stung so many times by rotten companies who don’t understand the meaning of either Customer or Service, so it warms the cockles of my heart (whatever and wherever they are) to read of a company (KitchenAid) that acts the way EVERY company should.

    Unlike

    BOSE…

    …who refused to repair my recently out-of-warranty $500 Wave Radio CD without charging me $150 plus forward and return shipping. No amount of appealing to company compassion would budge them. I’d never owned a CD player – or even a CD when I purchased the radio. I bought the radio, and then a few CDs, which my teenager promptly “borrowed.” When I tried to play them on the Bose they all skipped. Badly. I berated her, of course, because she had a way of taking and trashing everything I owned. What did I know??? It wasn’t until a year later – when I got a new car with a CD changer and my CDs all played perfectly – that I realized the Bose had been defective out of the box. But did they care? No, Nein, Non, No Way José. They wouldn’t budge. No mercy repairs. No understand. NOTHING. Oh, they did understand. But they didn’t Care. Out of warranty is out of warranty. I wouldn’t pay them. I didn’t fix it. But I would have loved to see face of furor on the burglar who broke into my house a few months ago and stole that Bose CD Wave Radio. Good riddance to the radio…and to Bose.

    OR

    THE HOOVER COMPANY…

    …a company who (tellingly, it seems) does not have, display, or provide an 800 number for their customers, and makes them pay for the calls to report problems. The gem in question is their eye-catching Flair Bagless Stick Vacuum, which apparently is the updated replacement for my old workhorse Hoover stick, which has never given a moment’s grief. But I live in two different states (U.S. states, not altered ones. Ergo, the need for another stick vac). After reading many reviews on Amazon.com, a number of which extolled the virtues of the product while lamenting its tendency to overheat and die, I ordered it anyway. Mine wouldn’t die like a dog, would it? Ha! It is a beauty, and it sucks, really SUCKS ~ er, picks up everything, including all those nasty things that end up along baseboards. But it overheated and died after 5-10 minutes of use, just like all those other ones reviewed on the Amazon site. But with kudos to Amazon for its amazing customer service, I received a replacement.

    When the replacement performed just like the first one, I figured it was time to contact Hoover. What, no 800# on the box? Time to Google. THERE IS NO 800 number!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to pay for the call, which I did, figuring it was my duty to the company and to the public at large to let Hoover know that their product had a design flaw. Hairdryers are designed and built to shut off when the internal temperature reaches 140° (I learned that a few years ago on the program “How Things Work” on, maybe, HGTV). BUT THIS IS NOT A HAIRDRYER!! It’s a vacuum. Or vacuum substitute.
    The “Customer Service” rep probably pressed a button to deliver his pre-recorded-sounding pronouncement that I’d have to take it to a repair center. “But it’s not broken,” I said, “It’s a design flaw. Lots of people have had the same experience.” Mr. “Wood” simply droned on and repeated: “Would you like the address of your nearby Service Center?”

    I vote with my pocketbook. This stick thing is a $40 item. And Hoover may have corrected the design flaw, since more recent reviews of it don’t seem to reflect the same issue. BUT, I needed to buy a real, full-sized Vacuum cleaner, one with a real, full-sized price tag. Guess which brand with no 800# didn’t even get consideration?

    I have two houses. I spend lots of money keeping them dressed in goods and services. I also have a fair amount of friends, and I’m not shy about letting them know about my many bad – and less often, good – experiences with companies’ Customer Service. And now…The Consumerist.

  30. kpfeif says:


    I just had a great Kitchenaid experience, too.

    We’re building a new home, and we decided to use Kitchenaid major appliances in the kitchen. They happened to be offering a rebate (I know, I know), which went increased as you bought more appliances. This was in December, however we wouldn’t take delivery until March. The rebate expired in March. What to do?

    No problem! Kitchenaid had a process in place to handle this. I sent in the card, checked a little box, then they sent me a letter, letting me know they received my initial rebate form. They also gave me a number to call when I had the serial numbers upon delivery.

    I had a question and called the number – it was Kitchenaid – not some moronic rebate processing firm. Question answered.

    We received the check one week after calling them with the serial numbers.

    Awesome. Best. Rebate. Experience. Ever.

  31. Scuba Steve says:

    @alexak:

    Kitchenaid = Whirlpool = Roper.

    They already lease their name. And yeah, they’ve gotten ripped on it more than a few times. We had 3 different policies for people based on the store they dealt with.

  32. Hexum2600 says:

    t

  33. Ben_Q2 says:

    I know this is a old post, I have found that if I buy anything from KA from the Apple Valley, Super Target it will rust. If I buy it from another store, it does not. I have no idea why, it just is.