Monthly Archives: July 2013

KitchenAid customer service delivers when product malfunctions

It is always refreshing to find a company that does the right thing when its products falter and offers customers a pleasant product return experience. That’s exactly what I found in KitchenAid recently.

In a previous post, I shared my love for my new KitchenAid personal coffee maker, which I purchased about five months ago. I still love the coffee maker, but recently, its swinging basket stopped sealing properly against the body of the coffee maker. When making coffee, considerable amounts of  heat and steam began escaping through the front of the coffee maker, instead of being vented out the tiny opening in the back designed for this purpose.

So, I couldn’t call KitchenAid and say the coffee maker didn’t work. It did work, but not like it should. I called the company’s customer service line to ask for a replacement and was promptly greeted by a company representative who was very well-spoken and announced he was located in Tennessee (“Thank you for calling KitchenAid, this is Chris in Tennessee.”) Chris agreed to send me a new coffee maker. After collecting the model and serial number of mine, he explained a new coffee maker would be delivered to my home, and then I should use the packaging and prepaid label that accompanied it to return the old coffee maker. He said it would take up to 10 business days to get the new one.

The new coffee maker arrived in about a week and is now in use with a properly fitting basket. As I write this, the old one is making its way back to KitchenAid. Even better, the company said a new one-year warranty applies to the replacement product.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give my customer service experience with KitchenAid a nine. Why wasn’t it perfect? Two reasons:

  1. Chris asked if I would like to receive an email notifying me when the replacement shipped, and I provided my email address for this purpose. I never received a notification.
  2. Chris indicated FedEx would pick up the replacement product if I called and asked them to. But the return instructions accompanying the replacement instructed me to send it back via the United States Postal Service. However, the postal carrier did pick it up from my front porch, saving me a trip to the post office.

My return experience showed me KitchenAid cares about its customers and stands behind the products it sells. I will seriously consider KitchenAid for future appliance purchases.

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Ask Amazon, Walmart online customers for product info

I do a lot of online shopping. While it is a convenient way to find affordable products, it does have its downfalls. One is that you cannot see or try out the product you are viewing on the Internet. In some cases, you can find the same product at a local store and examine it there, but this is not always the case. That’s why I’ve been excited to discover helpful tools offered by Amazon.com and Walmart.com.

Both retailers have an “ask-a-question” feature on their product pages that allows you to post an inquiry about a specific product and get answers from other customers. I have been amazed at how quickly questions I posted on Amazon get answered and by how many people take time to share their input. Often, I will get an answer within one to two hours of posting my question on Amazon.

Answers come more slowly on Walmart.com, sometimes taking a few days or even weeks.

Both websites give you the option of being notified by email when your question is answered, so you don’t have to keep revisiting the product page to look for a response.

It can be a bit tricky to find the “Ask a question” feature on Amazon. You have to click on the link to customer reviews found just below the product name at the top of the page (behind the product’s star rating). Once the reviews page loads, you’ll see this heading on the right side of the page: “Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers.” Type your question in the box provided.

On Walmart.com, it’s not readily apparent where this feature is, either. After you open the product page, scroll down to the “Item description” section, and look for this wording at the end of the description: “Do you have questions about this product? Ask a question.”

I’ve only encountered one instance where customers disputed the correct answer to my question, and that involved a technical specification on a specialty electronic device. While there are no guarantees you’ll get a right answer, I’ve found the responses I receive to be generally helpful, friendly and accurate.

Are there other websites where you have found helpful customer question features?

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Product review: Wristband pepper spray makes protection easier for runners, walkers and joggers

Companies who care about customers create products that address real-world problems. For those who run, jog or walk for exercise outdoors, safety can be a serious concern. Aggressive dogs and passersby who want to do you harm pose a real threat in many areas. But if your athletic wear doesn’t have pockets, it can be tough to carry along something to help you protect yourself. For many months, I put up with the hassle of jogging with a can of pepper spray in my hand because of the peace of mind that it brought. Then, someone suggested a new product that makes it easier to work out while keeping your spray handy.

It’s called the Personal Savers Wrist Saver. The product has a 1/2-ounce can of pepper spray that slides into a pouch on a wristband you secure with Velcro. So, you basically wear it like a bracelet. There’s an extra pocket on the pouch where you can put a small identification card. The manufacturer says you can hit people up to 10 away from you with multiple blasts from this small canister.

Thankfully, I have not had to spray my canister, but I have worn it on my wrist frequently while jogging. The wristband feels a bit bulky, but it is a lot less cumbersome than running down the road and trying to hold a canister in your hand. The wrist saver comes in three colors: pink, black/pink and black/orange. You can also get it in two sizes (measure your wrist before ordering). A small LED light is included that functions like a tiny flashlight.

In addition to the Wrist Saver, Personal Savers sells pepper spray accessories designed specifically for biking and attaching to baby strollers. As with all personal protection products, be sure to read the instructions immediately after your purchase.

My one wish is that the pepper spray container that comes with the Personal Savers products were larger. The old canister I ran with contained one ounce of spray. Maybe I don’t need that much, but I felt it gave me a better opportunity to defend myself against multiple threats. I have decided the convenience of the Wrist Saver is worth the trade-off of the smaller container, though.

Do you have a go-to product for personal safety when exercising outdoors?

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