Kohler Provides Flawless Customer Service

Here’s an example of terrific customer service, this time from the sink and faucet company Kohler.

Enough negative news gets tossed at your site (which I love, btw) that I thought that everyone would appreciate a little positive story.

I have a leaky faucet in my kitchen. It’s been leaking for a year and I have, for a year, planned on fixing it. Well, I am home on paternity leave and it had become that much more annoying being home 24 hours a day!

I, as most red blooded Americans would do, headed to Lowe’s to find the replacement part. No such luck (mostly because I had no idea what I was looking for). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve replaced leaking faucets before, but the bathroom style 2-handled sinks are a different bag.

Next, I did some research online, trying to find a DIY guide for this particular faucet. What I stumbled upon was a number and a mention that Kohler has a lifetime warranty . . . . interesting.

So I called Kohler and got a pleasant support lady named Ashley (I think). She was absurdly patient. I mean, so patient she let me go down to my basement and try to find the paperwork that came with this faucet a decade ago so we could verify the model number. Once we had done that, she actually walked me through taking apart the faucet over the phone so we could figure out what was wrong. Once we had done that she VOLUNTEERED shipping me the replacement part, free of charge. I didn’t ask. She offered. She never once was accusatory or hesitant in providing the service and by the end of our conversation, which had to have been at least 30 minutes, I had a new thing-a-ma-bob on my way to my house to stop the leak. (which I will know how to install since I’ve already gone through the process!)

Bravo Kohler. I do believe I will buy your faucets in the future.

Comments

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  1. HogwartsAlum says:

    Now there’s a company that knows how to do business.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Wait..a CSR who knew how to troubleshoot a leaky faucet? Seriously? I too may be interested in Kohler products in the future.

    • andybarlow01 says:

      @pecan 3.14159265:

      Impressive for a female also! I don’t know many ladies that could break down a faucet, much less do it over the phone. Heck, there aren’t many guys that could do it either. Well done!

      • Starphantom12 says:

        @Andy Barlow: Yeah, normally girls get special “girl training” when they’re hired for technical jobs- you know, the training where they spend all day reading Cosmo and doing each other’s hair. It’s the boys that get the real training about how to actually fix stuff. Seriously dude?

      • Rain says:

        @Andy Barlow: Well, as a woman, I do know a thing or two about sinks. I spend all day next to one in the kitchen after all.

        • Starphantom12 says:

          @Raindrip: Oh yeah, I forgot! Must be those female brain cells, always letting me down. I wonder if I could get a job jello wrestling, since my night job is all about being on my knees cleaning food other people throw on the floor. I could get letters of recommendation from all the men who spend quality time looking at my rear as I’m on the ground fixing everything they can’t be bothered with. If not, I’ll just stay with my current job doing custom level support for storage area networks owned by some crazy big companies and institutions. When my disk array is running slow, should I just show it a little leg?

      • kmw2 says:

        @Andy Barlow: Well, we all know that one usually uses one’s penis to fix a leaky faucet, so this is indeed impressive.

    • tbonekatz says:

      @pecan 3.14159265:
      My husband is a plumber. He says every first tier Kohler CSR knows this stuff. It’s part of their job training.

  3. kfspins says:

    I had a similar experience with them just a few weeks ago. I had my kitchen faucet about 7 years, had a part fall off. When I emailed them, they had me email a picture of the faucet to verify the model. I had the part within 3 days. I would buy from them again- I love their faucets.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I am from Wisconsin, as is Kohler. I can agree with the consumer that it is a great company and, as corny as it sounds, I am proud that such a respected brand comes from our state.

    I would add, though, that this is a Wisconsin/Midwest thing – i.e., we don’t treat people like shit for having legitimate questions/complaints. I didn’t have any bad experiences with CSRs until I moved to the East Coast and, especially, DC (Comcast!!!!!!). I really don’t understand why, but the Midwest simply produces nicer, more well-adjusted people.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @FentonRhinoceros: One day I had to call Andersen Windows (Minnesota), Seed Savers (Iowa), and Nordic Needle (North Dakota) all in the same day for customer service. It was like the most pleasant customer service day EVER. They all have on-site call centers staffed by Midwesterners who were all saying, “Oh, you’re in Peoria? Are you getting that 70* weather we’re having?” and were generally polite, patient, and chatty during the boring/waiting parts.

    • ecwis says:

      @FentonRhinoceros: I’m from the Midwest and I don’t think it’s necessarily based on the region. I have experienced poor customer service from a Comcast call center in Michigan. Perhaps if the company is HQ’ed in the Midwest, then they may provide better customer service.

  5. ageekymom says:

    We remodeled the kids’ bathroom in 2000 and the handle on the shower broke. I called them, and even though they no longer make that style, I had the replacement part within days.
    They do a great job! I wish other companies would follow suit!

  6. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Kohler FTW! The pressure balancing anti-scald valve on all 5 of our showers had given up, which the plumber attributed to our not-so-smart idea of setting the water heater to 140 degrees to keep it from running out as fast… A friendly Lowe’s rep nearly refused to let us buy new shower handle things and insisted that we call in for lifetime warranty support (so much better vs. stores that try to get you to buy buy buy!). The Kohler rep was exactly like the OP described – quite knowledgeable, polite, etc.

    I felt bad not being completely upfront with such a nice CSR, so I admitted that it’s probably our fault for letting them get melted or whatever. She still took all the blame, and sent us out a beefed up version of the diaphragm/valve set.

    The only other companies with service this awesome are Lego and Fujitsu!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Six years after we remodeled our kitchen, our Kohler sink faucet began leaking. The problem was in the spray nozzle head, which could not be disassembled. One call to Kohler and a replacement nozzle assembly was on its way. Fantastic.

  8. strells says:

    They helped me too with a leaky kitchen faucet. The only problem with them is that you cannot buy their parts off the shelf *anywhere*. You have to go through them. And for some reason, the parts I needed were back-ordered, so it took at least a month to get everything.

  9. Vincent Raicovi says:

    I’ll echo the sentiment that they are a great company to deal with. I had a leaky handle in one of our bathrooms and after not being able to find the part at Home Depot, I resorted to calling Kohler. They were incredibly helpful and not only sent the part for the leaky one, but sent one for the second bathroom which hadn’t started leaking yet.

    Great Job Kohler!

  10. Dani0209 says:

    Home Depot and Lowes get a different quality, less well made version of Kohler products than supply houses. If you ever need parts, or to purchase a faucet, you should check your local plumbing supply house first. It may cost you a little more in the beginning, but you will have many less headaches and issues.

    • Bailen says:

      @Dani0209: I can assure you, that at least in Canada, Home Depot and Lowe’s get the EXACT same Kohler products you will find anywhere else. The only difference is that most box stores will start selling with the lower line products that a specialty store probably wont bother carrying. But if you order product K-1442-BN from a Lowes store, and a k-1442-BN from a specialty plumbing house, they will be the EXACT same product. Kohler does not produce a box store line and a real line as some manufacturers due. Product A is product A, plain and simple.

    • Dani0209 says:

      @Dani0209: @Dani0209: @Bailen:

      As a plumbing distributor, I can assure you they absolutely get different products. They look the same, but are made with different components. In a retail store all Kohler products start with an R-model #, meaning “Retail”. They also only sell specific styles to Lowes and Home Depot (ex- Home Depot gets the ‘Devonshire’ series, Lowes gets the ‘Forte’) so that they will not totally undercut prices. But it is absolutely a different quality.

  11. CharityCaecus says:

    Having never before bought a faucet, sink, or anything along those lines, I can honestly say that I will probably go with a kohler if I am ever in the market. Kohler, you’re incredible service has won you my business.

  12. donovanr says:

    Well that decides which faucets are going into the new house. But let’s break this down and compare it to almost every other tech support.
    Friendly,
    1st Tier support has a clue,
    No begging for genuine support,
    No excuses or byzantine hoops to get support,
    And lastly I hear no complaint about the woman tucking a marketing survey into her “information required to help you”

    I suspect they might cost more but I want my life as hassle free as possible.

    In comparison, I once called D-Link after a semi-failed firmware update and spent 10 minutes answering irrelevant questions such as the brands of networking equipment connected before she finally told me that I had to unplug it for a few minutes to completely reboot the router. Needless to say that was the last piece of D-Link junk I ever bought. Don’t even get me started with Rogers Cellphone tech support.

  13. dssstrkl says:

    Well, I guess my next faucet will be from Kohler!

    • oneandone says:

      @dssstrkl: Same. I’ve found their commercials entertaining for a while, and I’m happy they have the customer service & product reputation to back up my initial good impression of them.

  14. backbroken says:

    I too can attest that Kohler has great customer support. Unfortunately, after 3 repairs in 2 years of owning my Kohler faucet (always the same point of failure), I bit the bullet and replaced it with another brand. Customer service is only 1 ring of the satisfaction circus. Product quality and value are the others. Kohler is 1 for 3 in my eyes. But still, they do provide great customer service and support.

  15. Inail says:

    I have a Delta faucet that’s several years old in the kitchen that came with a lifetime warranty.

    Special washers, they come right away. Diverter, a few days. Been meaning to call for a spray hose and I’m sure that’ll come too.

    Good to finally hear some good news. These faucet companies do it right!

  16. GearheadGeek says:

    When buying goods with a 20+ year lifespan it’s worth it to spend a little more. Even with some of their wackier products (chromatherapy tubs, and a new one with some sort of acoustic massage) Kohler makes great, durable, high-quality products. That’s why they can afford good customer service… most of their customers just don’t need it.

  17. Quill2006 says:

    Well, now Kohler is going on the “list of companies I should buy for if I ever need X product” in my brain.

    Does anyone else have one of those? I seem to be putting more companies on the “list of companies I should avoid buying from at all costs” recently; it’s nice to hear about a good experience!

    See, companies? This is why good customer service helps sales. I don’t need a faucet or any other plumbing at the moment, but I won’t forget hearing about this. I’ll buy from Kohler when I need what they sell. Is that really so hard to understand?

    • krista says:

      @Quill2006: “See, companies? This is why good customer service helps sales.”

      I agree. Reading all these stories of happy customers will make me much more likely to buy Kohler for my upcoming renovation (2 kitchens and 3 baths).

      Also, I am in architecture, and sometimes get to specify the fixtures, tubs & sinks. I will be more likely to check Kohler first for products that will fit my design, since I know my customers will not have problems with customer service in the future.

  18. locakitty says:

    @Andy Barlow Thanks to my house purchase (and a DIY dad) I’ve gotten a LOT better about fixing things. So far, two leaky faucets, one showerhead and one garbage disposal.

    If anyone knows anyone who can install a ceiling fan however, I’m all ears. I can’t handle dealing with electricity.

    • Aladdyn says:

      @locakitty: electricity is really pretty simple, for things like a light or fan at least. However if you are not a very careful person and or you tend to be forgetful, its definitely worth it to just find a good electrician.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @locakitty: Ooh ooh ooh! I can install ceiling fans.

      Technically its really easy so long as there’s already a fan box in the ceiling. Basically just follow the directions, and if you need to remove a fan that is installed already, just read the directions and do them backwards.

      Keep in mind you’ll probably want to install the motor assembly to the ceiling before you install the blades, just so you ensure you can easily get to all the electrical connections without having to squeeze between the blades.

      If you’re installing a fan box, however, I can be of no help :(

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @locakitty: Oh, and just turn the electricity off first – thats the MOST IMPORTANT step!

  19. TEW says:

    I will defiantly look at buying Kohler products when I buy my first home. I am willing to pay twice as much if I know it will last and I will get good customer service. It is not like I will buy a faucet every week so why not spend the extra money and get a quality product that will last for years to come.

    • ChicagoKev says:

      @TEW: I will defiantly look at buying Kohler products…
      Great typo, that.

      I will defy the competitor’s marketing and buy from Kohler.

      • TEW says:

        @ChicagoKev:
        Cut me some slack. I just worked for 5 hours and had college classes for another 4. By the time I noticed it I had posted it and could not change it.

  20. Franco Gaudry says:

    Well good. Now I’ll feel great when I purchase some of those really sleek looking faucets and splurge on those awesome showers.

  21. Frank Murphy says:

    I have a feeling that it has to do with being sensible Midwesterners. We need more of those sort of people running things!

  22. Jerry Houlihan says:

    Too bad Kohler advocates flushing all sorts of cloggy things down your toilet. Very irresponsible. Bad for the environment and it can be VERY costly to fix clogged sewers. Hey Kohler, the only thing people should be flushing is TP…..NOT bras, plastic bottles or dog food.

  23. Jerry Houlihan says:

    Oh, another thing. I have Kohler Wentworth toilets in my house and they are the WORST toilets I’ve ever had. They don’t flush well and they are way too easy to “stripe”. I previously had Toto toilets that were so great.

    • TEW says:

      @Jerry Houlihan:
      Are they the low flow toilets? The government mandated the companies switch over to the low flow style with less than a year. All toilets from the early to mid 90’s are junk.

  24. momma_andrea says:

    I am in the market for a new kitchen faucet. Kohler will be high on my list! Thanks for sharing.

  25. digg4james says:

    I went through a tour of their factory two years ago. They put their products through crazy torture tests, flushing golf balls, clothes, dropping all sorts of things onto their toilets, stress-flexing the faucets.

    Their tour guide also told me that all their call-handlers have access to ALL product documentation and technical guides.

  26. adamwinn says:

    I had the same experience with Price-Pfister. It really is worth paying a couple bucks extra for the name brand sometimes.

  27. MrEvil says:

    Correction, they’re the sink, faucet, AND small engine company.

    Kohler also makes some of the best small engines on the market.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Reading this experience called to mind a similar one. I purchased a new/old house that had an $800 corner shower that the door would not close properly on. It was a Kohler. I called customer service they walked me through everything and then volunteered to replace the seals and risers at no charge. Two days later they arrived with an extra seal even. The most amazing part is that I did not even buy the shower it came with the house and they knew it. The CSR was friendly, helpful and kind. I will buy Kohler when ever I can.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I work for a Plumbing Supply, and have always found Kohler to have the best customer service. Moen faucets also have a lifetime warranty, and their customer service is very helpful as well. Price Pfister has good customer service, but I feel their product are prone to more problems.
    And in response to Jerry, I’ve sold Kohler Wellworth toilets for years, and the only time I’ve ever had any trouble was when they first switched to 1.6 Gallons-Per-Flush back in the early ’90’s. (All the first-generation 1.6 toilets had trouble regardless of the brand) I would suggest calling customer service and explaining the trouble you’ve been having, they may be able to help.

  30. nycguy says:

    Same great experience. Leaky kitchen faucet inherited in a new apartment. Took it apart, diagnosed that it needed a new washer, found the Koehler part number for the washer, tried to get it everywhere, no luck.

    In desperation called Koehler, they were helpful from the start, said all their products have a lifetime guarantee, even though I wasn’t the original purchaser. They didn’t have the washer so they sent me the entire faucet assembly. Installed it, no more leak.

    I’m in the process of re-doing a bathroom. Guess whose fixtures are going into it. Koehler is wonderful.

  31. TheFuzz53 says:

    What the hell is paternity leave? Did he physically have a baby?

    • Kaessa says:

      @TheFuzz53:
      Fathers sometimes like to spend time at the beginning of a child’s life bonding with said child. Paternity leave makes it easier.

      Maternity leave isn’t just for recuperation from the birth, y’know. ;)

  32. Nighthawke says:

    Kohler gets the Golden Platter award for top notch CSR relations and their sterling warranty work.

    (The statue looks like a little butler holding a platter with a #1 on it.)

  33. iambeaker says:

    My wife and I are planning to redo my two bathrooms. Based on this story, we will be buying nothing but Kohler.

  34. plyhard13 says:

    Awesomely, this is not a random act by a singular rep. They are well known for this. My dad had a shower set from Kohler. His wife broke the handle that came with it while getting out of the tub. He called Kohler to order the replacement part. Kohler refused to let them purchase anything and, since they couldn’t locate the part he needed, they sent an entire new shower set! They are a bit more expensive that some of the other brands but it is definitely worth every penny!

  35. Anonymous says:

    I had a very similar experience 2 years ago with, coincidentally enough, Price Pfister. This was for a ceramic valve on a kitchen faucet, and they shipped the part to me for free as well. Must be something about plumbing manufacturers.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I purchased a $500 porcelain “farm” sink from Kohler last year. A month after installing it I dropped a cast iron pan into it and it chipped. I called them and they sent me a coupon for a new free sink. All I had to do was take the old one out and take to any Home depot and they would special order a new one at no charge. I still have the coupon here. Its too much of a hassle to take out and wights about 200lbs so I can live with the chip. Plus, after thinking about it it was my fault for dropping such a heavy object into it. But they did offer to replace it no questions asked. BTW, Delta has the same policy too.

  37. HalOfBorg says:

    Sauder furniture. I needed new slides for my keyboard shelf. I had the original model number, so I contacted them, described it all and they sent me new ones. I offered to pay,but they said no.

    Of course, they were the wrong ones – too long. Contacted again and they sent me MORE new ones – correct size.

    Didn’t even ask for the others back.

    We recently bought new TV stand and shelf. From Walmart. Made by Sauder.

  38. linlu says:

    Well this pretty much clinches it for me. Our sink is a Kohler, I guess we will forego buying a Delta faucet for that and the bathrooom sinks and just buy Kohler faucets from now on.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I just wanted to chime in that Price Pfister has been very good to me. The pull-out spray handle of my faucet broke a couple years ago and I sent an email to their warranty department. They sent me an entire replacement head in about a week with no verification. Over the past couple months another faucet started to leak, so I contacted them again. This time they had me send in a picture of the faucet as proof of purchase, then sent an entire faucet to me.

    Glad to know other manufacturers are also easy to work with.

  40. fatcop says:

    Kohler is fantastic and is the only company I will use for plumbing products.

    Don’t know if it’s the same company but Kohler makes good small engines as well.

  41. AlexPDL says:

    I had a similar experience with GROHE. Had a borken part. Gave my details ona web form and faster than I could say Merci…they sent me the part. Kudos to GROHE!!!!

  42. winstonasmith says:

    My company is a client of Herb Kohler, and let me tell you, there is not a single more genuine or down-to-earth CEO you will ever meet.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Customer service may be great, but Kohler’s guarantee policy is suspect. I recently purchased a Kohleer toilet , spend $200 to remove the old toilet and replace it with the Kohler Gravity Toilet. IT DIDN’T FLUSH! . . . . . I called Kohler and after inspecting my drain line (clear) and my vent pipe for clogs (none) the customer service rep determined that the brand new toilet bowl that I just purchased was DEFECTIVE. Sure, they said tey would replace the bowl (took 3 weeks) but would not reimburse me for the second plumbers bill to install the replacement. Not fair . . . . the bowl was brand new, never used and didn’t flush . . . . . . why should I have to pay for a second installation of their defective unit? Still waiting for the replacement . . . . (two more weeks to wait for the replacement unit) so I can’t use my bathroom for approximately one month. Wrote to the president of Kohler and still waiting for a response. Will keep you posted as to how Kohler handles this situation. D. Kubiak

  44. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad you have had good luck with Kohler, because I am having a problem. I recently bought a sink which had to be special ordered. It is a great looking Kohler sink but it does not work so well. I didn’t think it was possible to have an ill functioning sink, but mine will not drain completely. There are two puddles of water that remain on either side of the drain when I turn off the water. They do not touch the drain which seems to be an “island”. The puddles of water just sit there until they evaporate. Who would have thought that you would have to put water in a sink before you installed it to look for such imperfections. I would have thought quality control would do that at the factory. I may be able to get another sink but it will be my responsibility to pay the plumber to come back, take everything apart and then reinstall the undermount sink. This will cost me a lot of time and money and Kohler doesn’t feel any responsibilities for my issues. I’m not happy with their service at this time.

  45. FixMyGenerator says:

    I’ve had the exact opposite service. Kohler sells products under misleading guidelines and has ignored my letters an emails to fix the problem. I’m not dealing with their faucets, however. I purchased a generator from them that is promoted to last for 15 years in any climate, but mine has totally rusted out in less than half that time, which is unacceptable.

    I’ve set up a website trying to get the word out about this, which is in my profile.

  46. JK says:

    I’m glad so many of you have had good experiences. I did as well, up until just lately. When it came time to remodel our kitchen (3rd house in 16 years), I didn’t think twice about ordering a Kohler sink-the same model I put in the other 2 houses. Much to my dismay, after 10 weeks I have a chip in the enamel that goes through to the cast iron. Nothing has been dropped on this sink and I don’t throw my dishes around while washing, and after finally convincing customer service that it was not a dirt spot or dark mark, they agreed to replace the sink. All labor is at my expense, however. I will be contesting this, as this sink has only had normal everyday use and I don’t feel it should be chipping after 10 weeks and I sincerely feel something went wrong in the firing process at the factory. The customer service rep acted like she was doing me a BIG favor by taking my word for everything, and perhaps she was, but she mentioned it enough times that I finally told her she was implying I damaged the sink and she apologized and backed down. I will photograph the chip and Email my complaint and keep you posted. Please keep in mind the sink had been used for only 10 weeks when I discovered the chip which has taken off the surface enamel about 1″ in diameter and exposed the cast iron about .25″ in diameter.