Would you agree that this is a particularly handsome bread machine?
Would you agree that this an acceptable loaf, judging by its appearance?
It looks pretty good, yes?
So, it’s a handsome machine, and a good loaf, agreed?
Right. Now, and please be honest here, would you be happy if the underside of the loaf looked like this?
Yes? Then call me difficult, demanding, fussy, awkward, one of those people who’s never satisfied, but I don’t find it acceptable. At all.
It’s the fourth bread machine I’ve owned. The previous three all left a modest paddle-shaped slot where the non-stick paddle had been. A relatively small slot that hardly showed. None of them gouged out a giant cavern from the loaf.
After baking three loaves with the handsome new Kenwood machine, all with the same result – the non-stick paddle firmly wedged into the pan and the loaf firmly stuck to the paddle – it took vigorous shaking to dislodge the loaf, leaving the aforesaid cavern – I wrote politely to Kenwood Customer Care asking if they could help. Liberal coatings of oil to the non-stick paddle before baking had done nothing to solve the problem.
The following reply arrived within a few minutes:
“Thank you for your email however as you are not in the UK, I am afraid that I cannot assist you.
Please contact our office in France for further assistance.” They gave the address of DeLonghi in Paris. (DeLonghi bought out Kenwood in 2001).
Note the absence of any expression of concern for a dissatisfied customer.
I wrote back, perhaps a little acerbically, saying I was surprised that they were unable to offer any written advice to one of their customers, no matter where in the world they might be.
The “Senior Customer Experience Advisor” replied:
“The only advice I could provide would be to rub a very small amount of oil onto the kneader which you have already done therefore I can only refer you to our office in France for further assistance.”
Note the lack of commas in this long sentence. Perhaps they are rationed by Kenwood. And still no “We are sorry …..” or “We hope to help ….”
So I telephoned DeLonghi in Paris and asked to speak to their Service Clientele. How could they help me, they asked in a tone that suggested they had no particular interest in doing so.
I explained about the machine, the non-stick paddle, the gaping hole.
“That is perfectly normal,” replied the SC person.
“No,” I said. “It is not. It is not normal that the non-stick paddle will not come out of the tin, and that the loaf will not come off the non-stick paddle without leaving a hole big enough for me to put my fist in.”
“It is normal,” repeated the SC person. “The paddle is not meant to come out of the tin.”
We debated the issue for several minutes, neither side giving any ground.”Well,” said I, beginning to become somewhat exasperated, “if your machine cannot produce a loaf without a large proportion of it remaining stuck in the pan, and you assure me that is normal, then it is no use to me, and I’ll have to return it.”
“As you wish,” replied SC.
And so today back it went, neatly packed up in its box, with its tenacious non-stick paddle, sensible plastic measuring jug and spoon and instruction manual in about eleven languages.
Had Kenwood/DeLonghi shown even a flicker of interest in the defect of their machine; if they had said they were sorry that it was not functioning correctly; if they had said they would do everything they could to help find a solution, I might have been persuaded to keep trying with the machine in the hope that the non-stick paddle would eventually become non-stick, and the pan would eventually learn how to release the non-stick paddle. But they did not. They gave the impression that they knew there was no hope that it would ever give satisfaction, and that they really couldn’t care less.
So after 40 years as a customer and fan of Kenwood since my first Kenwood Mixer bought in the 1960s, I have to say that my Kenwood Customer Experience merits 0/10.
They could perhaps learn something from Amazon Customer Service, which I have always found to be faultless. I’m so pleased I bought the machine through them, and was able to return it, post-free, for a full refund. Heaven forbid I’d bought the thing from a store here in France, where you have as much chance of getting a refund or replacement as you have of growing feathers.
Bouquet to Amazon. Adieu to Kenwood/DeLonghi.