Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

Don’t put foil in the oven

December 19, 2011

Maybe your grandma used to use tinfoil to line her oven floor to aid clean up.

But times have changed; tinfoil is no longer made of tin. The stuff you use to shield your ham is actually aluminum foil, which has a lower heat tolerance.

The high temperatures of your oven floor can actually cause the foil to melt right onto that oven surface.

And you can’t clean it off.

We’ve had Warners’ Stellian Appliance customers spend hundreds of dollars replacing the oven floor on relatively new ranges because of this well-intentioned mistake.

Instead, aluminum foil-makers suggest you line the oven rack you’re using with aluminum foil rather than lining the oven itself.

HOW TO: Shop the Warners’ Stellian Warehouse Sale 2011 like a pro

November 11, 2011

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I’m reposting this now-classic blog because hey, why reinvent the wheel? These tips remain relevant for the Warners’ Stellian Extreme Warehouse Sale 2011. Measure twice and cut once, people.

Here are some Extreme Warehouse Sale pros, lined up before the doors open.

What is it with us Midwesterners and our deal-bragging? You know: upon receiving a compliment we gloat about the gasp-worthy low price we got it for, unsolicited. Perhaps it’s because we fancy ourselves pro deal hunters.

But our Extreme Warehouse Sale 2011 this Saturday and Sunday is no Macy’s clearance rack. I’m talkin’ big-ticket items at huge discounts: you need to prepare a bit. The savings are so hot, all sales are final.

Luckily for you, I’ve compiled the secrets of the pros — tips that will prepare any appliance rookie for the big league.

Before the sale

Don't be a fool; Use this tool.

Measure your space
Don’t learn the hard way: there is no “standard” in appliance sizes. Use a measuring tape on the available space — not the existing appliance — and write down dimensions to bring to the sale.

Also — and this is HUGE — measure the width of the doorways and staircases the appliance will need to travel through. Some door frames can be removed, but it’s often that someone buys a washer only to find it doesn’t fit down her narrow basement staircase.

Know your fuel type
This might seem obvious if you’re buying a cooking appliance like a range or cooktop (is it flat, coiled or does it have grates? Duh.). But you should double-check whether you have a gas or electric hookup when buying a dryer or oven.

Consider your hinges
For example, some refrigerators on sale will be left hinge only. Wouldn’t it be terrible to find a great deal on a fridge only to get it home and not be able to open it? Also know what side you want the hinges on a front-load washer and any type of dryer, in case there’s an option.

Do some research
We’ll have more than 2,000 appliances available at the start of the sale, so have something in mind to avoid frustration. The best tip? Know what you like and don’t like about your existing model. Check out our website for more ideas on what features are important to you.

Get preapproved
You MUST pay for your purchase at the time of sale, though we certainly have financing options to help you pay. Save time by getting approved online at home. Just make sure to bring in your approval slip with your new account number for our files.

Also, even if you’re financing the purchase, you must pay the sales tax at the time of sale.

The day of the sale

744336_pick-upBring a hauling vehicle
Usually, we offer free delivery on purchases $499 and above, but this sale is anything but usual. Our warehouse is full of products, so we encourage customers to take their purchases with them the day of the sale. We’ll help you load it up and everything.

If you do choose to have it delivered, it’s $75 and you must take delivery within 14 days.

Know your schedule
We’ll arrange for delivery and any installation for built-in appliances (available for additional charges) at the time of sale. We’ll call you the day before the delivery with an AM/PM estimate and our crew can call you before they arrive if you need to meet them at your house.

warnersstellianwarehousesale

Pack a stroller
Our warehouse is a warehouse. It’s clean and safe, but it’s also big and crowded and without a play area. Strollers work well to keep small children nearby when you’re shopping the selection. We have coloring stations and movies once you get to checkout to keep meltdowns at bay.

After the sale

Receive delivery/install time estimate
You’ll receive a call with an three-hour window estimate the night before your scheduled delivery and/or install.

Apply for rebates
You could qualify for even more savings by rebate. Once you receive your product, you can fill in the serial number (the delivery crew can help you locate this) on your rebate forms and submit them promptly, as they expire.

1139528_communicate_4Don’t waste your investment because you lack product knowledge.

Read your manual
Knowing your new product can help you save time and improve the quality of your cooking and cleaning. Stow it somewhere memorable to refer to for troubleshooting and general operation questions.

Don’t ignore accessories

If you get a dishwasher, buy rinse aid to help dry your dishes. If you buy a smooth-top electric range, you’ll want cooktop cleaner to keep it looking new. Your refrigerator water filter will need to be replaced every six to 12 months. And please, for the sake of your breathing, don’t overstuff your vacuum bags!

Visit my blog
I attack the FAQs plaguing our industry. Hard-hitting issues like, Troubleshoot (almost) any dishwasher problems and HOW TO: change a refrigerator water filter. It’s also an easy way to reach me if you need help. Plus, you’ll be the first to know about the next Extreme Sale!

Well-versed in customer appreciation

October 21, 2011

Artist's rendering of customer

Yesterday, we received pretty much the sweetest letter from a customer in recent memory.

Not only did it remind us how great our customer service department is, it rhymed (well, mostly).

We’re so very appreciative of our customers (especially now through 10/24 during our Customer Appreciation Sale), that we’re delighted whenever the sentiment is returned.

I’m publishing the poem with you here, because it’s too cute to be shared with only an envelope:

I arose this morning
Happy as can be
Went into my kitchen
And what did I see?

Water all over
My nice clean floor
I opened my refrigerator
And couldn’t believe what I saw

A small lake in the bottom
Some frozen, some melted
I dashed for the phone
I really needed help

Tomorrow, they said,
My fridge would be fixed
I said OK
My popsicles melted off their sticks

I called back again
And with Lauren in St. Paul I pleaded,
Oh somehow can my fridge get fixed today?
And by gosh she conceded and they were on their way.

An hour or so later
Mike & Bill did arrive
When the truck pulled up
I was so happy I almost cried

What a great team
They saw the problem right away
Out came the tools
And eventually, the ice melted away

What a great company
to do business with
Which I have for many years
Give a toast to your employees, use champagne not beer

I wanted you to know
What great people work for you
Anytime stop by for a cold one
The bottles are cold thanks to your crew

Regards, Mike

Seriously, customers. Any time you offer creative appreciation AND beer, you have our attention :)

Our delivery crews go ‘above and beyond’

March 21, 2011

Our customers frequently gush about their experience with our delivery and installation crews. We hear about how professional and courteous our delivery crew members are. But most importantly, they’re ours (most appliance companies outsource these services), meaning they undergo background checks and appreciate the responsibility of representing Warners’ Stellian.

We recently found this thank you card a customer sent with some pictures she snapped of our employees, Tim and Tony, tackling a particularly challenging project.

Mr. Warner,

Your two employees did a great job getting the old machines out and Maytag stackable washer and dryer in.

The outstanding part came when they tried to connect the dryer vent. I’m including pictures so you can see what good employees you have.

I thank Warners’ Stellian for years of good service and especially Tony F. and Tim B.

Sincerely, Mary P.

p.s. note the small opening for his head. At one point all you could see was his feet.

For the majority of our orders, delivery and installation is free (delivery on orders $499 & up; freestanding installation) disproving the old adage, “you get what you pay for.”

Anyone else have similar experiences they’d like to share?

Loud refrigerator? We hear ya

July 7, 2010

Image: maxabout.com

If you’ve replaced your refrigerator within the last several years, your shiny new model might be making its presence known in noisier way.

Why?

For one, foam insulation — often used to make these appliances more energy-efficient — lacks the sound-baffling capabilities of fiberglass insulation incorporated into previous energy hogs.

Here’s some other “normal” sounds to expect, along with their abnormal counterparts:

Evaporator coil

A boiling, surging or gurgling sound as the compressor starts and stops. Also, a pop as the evaporator expands and contracts after defrosting.

Evaporator fan

The sound of air being forced through the unit is normal, but a continuous ticking or even intermittent squealing is abnormal.

Defrost heater

Sizzling or hissing sound from water dropping onto the heater during defrost cycle

Compressor

Newer fridges’ compressors are much more efficient and run much faster, giving off a high-pitched hum, whine or pulse. But watch out for clicking during start up (especially if the lights dim), banging or knocking during start or stop, a ping or snap followed by the compressor stopping.

Cold control and defrost timer

A snapping or ticking sound as the refrigerator turns on and off

Plastic liner

Cracking or popping as the temperatures change

Drain pan

Running water during or after the defrost cycle

Water valve

Buzzing, clicking or running water as the icemaker fills or water is dispensed

Icemaker

Cracking of ice and cubes dropping into the bin

Condenser fan

Air being forced over the condenser is normal, but squealing from the motor is abnormal.

Condenser

You should hear a surging or gurgling sound from the flow of refrigerant when the compressor runs, but an improperly placed drain pan could cause rattling.

If the normal sounds bother you, consider a piece of rubber-backed carpet for underneath the fridge. You could even put sound absorbing materials inside the cabinet if the refrigerator sits in an enclosure.

Cleaning oven glass

December 9, 2009

Noticed some streaks and stains on the inner oven glass that weren’t there before?

(fig. 1)

Hold up! Step back from your Jump To Conclusions mat — it’s not a bad seal.

Several vents (highlighted in fig. 1) open directly into the inner door to vent the hot air away from the glass. And because of their proximity to the stove top and its mess, people often spray cleaner near the vents that sneaks inside the door and drips down, causing streaks and stains.

What to do?

Our smart and helpful customer service rep Amy cautions you against pulling the door apart yourself.

Officially, if it bothers you enough, pay a service company to clean it — otherwise you’ll void the warranty, she said. Unfortunately, this aesthetic nuisance falls outside of warranty coverage because the customer did it herself.

Anatomy of an oven door

But if your range is older than 10 years — and in some cases, five years — warranty is no longer a concern.

So, unofficially, you can check out this HOW TOs on espares.com and find more on fixya.com — at your own risk.

Don’t get all “Red Green” inspired and duct tape the vents, like one customer informed Amy he’d being doing. That hot air needs to go somewhere.

A better way to prevent stains between the glass is to not spray near the vents. Better yet, spray cleaners directly onto the rag, rather than the range.

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not clean

November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving means two things: lots of food and lots of dirty dishes. And more dirt requires more soap, right?

WRONG.

Despite what you might think, too much soap can actually prevent your dishes from getting clean — especially on the top rack.

You should only use about half the amount of detergent recommended on the package. And if you have a water softener, you need only 1-2 teaspoons of powder — even less if you use liquid.

I think these people may have used too much detergent.

Too much soap can cause over-sudsing. Our customer service representative Maghan explained to me that the dishwasher tries to drain as much of the soap suds and food residue as it can. But when too much soap is used and it produces  so many suds, the dishwasher can’t drain it all in the time allowed.

So instead of draining, the soap bubbles pop inside, redepositing tiny food particles back onto the dishes, which show up most on glassware and silverware.

How do you know if you’re over-sudsing? Run a cycle without any soap. If suds are left at the bottom of the tub, you’re over-sudsing.

To remedy, we suggest a “vinegar cycle”:

  • Empty any dishes and shut soap door, without adding any detergent
  • Run dishwasher until it gets to the wash cycle
  • Open the door and check if the dispenser flap has opened
    • If it hasn’t, run for another minute or so until the flap opens
    • If the flap has opened, add the 1 cup vinegar and run through the full cycle.

You might have to repeat the process two or three times to ensure you’ve eliminated the build up of soap. Maghan also suggests trying a dishwasher cleaner like Glisten or Dishwasher Magic.

And I’ve said it again but I will continue to harp on about using rinse aid. It’s not just for looks, people! Maghan reminds us dishwashers today come designed to use rinse aid to help dry, as they lack a built-in fan.

So remember: gorge on turkey, just go easy on the soap, OK?

Photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flexsleuthor/ / CC BY 2.0

Dishwasher troubleshooting: Dishes not drying

October 21, 2009

So you go to take your dishes out of the dishwasher and they’re completely wet. Sound familiar?

howtodrydishes

If your dishwasher has a stainless steel tub, you probably need rinse aid. Sure, your dishwasher could be the best, highest-efficiency model. It still needs rinse aid. Rinse aid helps dry dishes by reducing water droplet formation. (Note: If you have a plastic tub and your dishes aren’t drying, you might need a service call on the heating element.)

If you’ve added rinse aid to your dishwasher and your dishes still come out wet, check if you’re washing a lot of plastic dishes. Sometimes these can exacerbate the problem. Have you ever noticed that plastic dishes often come out with droplets of water while all your glass and porcelain dishes are completely dry? That’s because plastic does not hold heat the same way regular dishes do.

Why does that matter? It throws the dishwasher off its drying mojo. Here’s how the dishwasher drying process works:  The final rinse water reaches a very high temperature (at least 157 degrees on European models) — and the final rinse temperature is really important to the drying process. By now, the dishes ideally hold a lot of heat. But the stainless steel tub (hopefully you purchased a model with a SS tub) is a cooler surface, so the moisture collects on the tub and condensation naturally occurs.

Other things that throw the dishwasher off its drying mojo:

  1. Washing all the dishes before you load them. Scrape off large food pieces, but just say no to washing your dishes before you wash them! If the dishes are clean, your smart dishwasher cuts the wash time down. If this happens, the dishwasher may not have time to get hot enough. The water is heated to more than 40 degrees higher than the hot water being piped in. There are other reasons to not wash your dishes before you wash them, but I’ll save those for another post…
  2. You’re using the light or quick wash cycles for everyday stuff. It won’t usually wash or dry as well.
  3. You’re not using rinse aid (shame on you). Rinse aid is a key element in drying and it will keep everything sparkling as well.

So retire that dishtowel, OK?

Photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/weelakeo/ / CC BY 2.0

Ice maker troubleshooting

October 7, 2009
Isn't it beautiful? But with great beauty, comes great responsibility...

Isn't it beautiful? But with great beauty, comes great responsibility...

Ice makers built in to your refrigerator are super handy (and pretty darn impressive when you have that dispenser on the door — it’s actually known for blowing people away).

However, if something on a fridge requires troubleshooting, more often than not it’s our frosty friend over there in the freezer. The good news is you can probably diagnose and treat the most common problems without a service tech.

I’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions from ServiceMatters.com about ice makers for you to print, save or bookmark  (or frame).

Click on links below to jump to a section or scroll down and read the post in its entirity

How do ice makers work?

Troubleshooting

Still having problems?
How do ice makers work?

JennAir.com

JennAir.com

Water constantly runs over a freezing plate in your ice maker. Meanwhile, minerals from your water are rejected; this mineral water, if you will, is drained with each ice-making cycle.

When the ice is thick enough, it slides down into a cutter grid that separates the sheet into cubes, which fall into the storage bin. A sensor determines when the bin is full and the ice maker shuts off until more ice is needed.

JennAir.com

JennAir.com

Key takeaways: The bin isn’t refrigerated so some melting will occur, especially if you take your good, sweet time loading the freezer after a trip to the grocery store. Also, higher temperatures in the freezer mean fewer cubes. So shut that door! Likewise, if you want more ice, dial your freezer to a colder setting, wait for 24 hours and see what happens. Wash, rinse, repeat — ice cubes!

If your freezer is completely cooled, you should get a batch of cubes every three hours. Note: It takes 24 hours for a newly installed ice maker to start making ice and 72 hours for it to swing into full operation. So be patient and remember to be supportive of your new fridge as it reaches its full ice-making potential.

Troubleshooting

Ice makers vary from model to model, but here are the most common issues and how to make them go away.

Ice maker not/barely producing ice

Is the control set to “ON”? It should be.

Is the water supply properly connected and turned on? It should be, also.

A loose drain cap can leave you with thin ice because water will empty from the water pan, so tighten that drain cap!

The drain tube could be clogged from sediment. Shut off the water line, wait, and turn it back on. This should help flush the sediment out. And speaking of the drain tube, make sure there are no kinks in it as they could prevent the flow of that rejected water out.

Make sure the metal arm on your ice maker is DOWN. (Remember: There’s no “on” in UP, but there’s “on” in dOwN.)

JennAir.com

JennAir.com

My ice cubes are small/hollow

You probably have low water pressure. You need a cold water supply with pressure between 35 and 120 psi to properly operate the ice maker. If you have a water dispenser, you can test the pressure by filling a measuring cup for 5 seconds. If you end up with fewer than 3 ounces (a little more than 1/4 cup), your pressure is likely low.

Do you have a water filter in your fridge? It could be clogged or installed improperly. Remove the filter and see if your water flow improves. If it does, try reinstalling the filter. If that doesn’t work, buy a new filter.

My ice dispenser isn’t working

Is your dispenser locked? It might sound stupid, but that’s probably why you didn’t check it before you checked this. Press and hold the lock button for several seconds to unlock.

Has there been a recent power outage? If power goes out for more than one hour, some models disable the dispenser. Press and hold the reset button to fix this. (Some models beep when they’re finished resetting.)

Check the ice chute for large clumps or cubes that are blocking it (continue below)

My ice cubes clump together

Pull any clumps out out of the dispenser and wipe the area out with a warm, wet cloth and then make sure to give it another once-over with a dry cloth. Ice clumps in the bin could also be your problem, so give the bin a good shake. If the clumps don’t separate, empty it and clean it out. This is also the solution is ice has formed around the auger (that usually-metal spiral thingy in the middle of the bin). Remember: It’ll take 24 hours to the bin to refill.

Ice clumps aren’t always because of melting. Even if freezer temperatures stay well below freezing, water molecules can condense and refreeze back together where the cubes are touching each other. So naturally, clumps can be lessened with more frequent use of the ice dispenser (i.e. don’t ignore it for a week).

Ice cubes can clump because of increased moisture due to a bad dispenser seal or gaps on in the freezer-door gasket (the rubber that seals to the freezer cabinet — try rubbing Vaseline on its face if it’s not sealing.) You’ll know bad seals are the culprit if there’s frost on the cubes. Unwrapped fresh food in the freezer can also be releasing the extra moisture.

Still having problems?

Call us at (651)222-001, option 4. We have a group of real, customer service women that answer the phones right here in our St. Paul headquarters/warehousenot in India — from 8:30-5:30 Monday through Friday.

Or you can contact the manufacturer directly, if you prefer.

Take some time to leave your own maintenance tips in the comments. What’s gone wrong? What works to fix it and what doesn’t?

Photo credit:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/01-17-05_t-m-b/ / CC BY 2.0

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