Capital: exceptional attention

aliris19March 5, 2012

Hi all -- say what you will about Trevor's self interest, being "just" a salesman [comments of some time ago but hinted at periodically], and Capital's silence in the face of some customer complaints regarding simmering issues, and their tacit insistance that there is no problem: the team of Trevor and the company with which he helped develop this range are most definitely Available.

As a result of this thread, I received a phone call this morning from "Bob" at Capital asking what was going on. Like, wow. He called me. So I told him, and he listened - a lot. Also, wow. He's now researching the history of this specific machine and will call back.

So, to recap ... I'm too chicken to call the company back and make additional complaints, preferring to try to hear others' experiences first and attempt homemade remedies; but they are expressly interested in halting the public griping as well as addressing the issue as it's gotten so noisy.

Again, I'm sure there's a cynical angle to this in terms of halting bad PR, but so what; that's actually been the point of this, no? It's not bad to want to run public damage-control; that's good. Frankly, that's some of the reason I did jump into the market of a new machine, knowing that first generations usually do run into problems. As long as someone's home and available to look into subsequent problems, that mitigates the risk enormously.

I've been surprised that this simmer issue has simmered so long, and it does seem to be on the verge of taking its toll economically, but be that as it may, I have a lot of hope that is may be about to be addressed now.

I wanted to inform one and all of this immediately, as I know some people have expressed being on the cusp of making a purchasing decision soon.

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Impressive that Capital called *you*!

Is it just the oven issues you're having that Bob seemed the most concerned about? Or is the simmer on his mind also? It seems that if he's researching your specific range, that the simmer issue in general isn't his focus.

Do you think I should direct my call to him when I suck it up and telephone this morning? After my coffee, of course...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 12:21PM
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Hi Breeze - When Bob called me his opening remarks were very open: 'I hear there's a problem', or some-such. He was curious about my previous service call, and of course what my current issues were.

So I mentioned the three items of interest in the previous service call, the simmer-problem being one of them.

I'm guessing he totally gets it that this simmering problem is the Big Bad Name problem they have out there. I think; maybe I should check with him when he calls back. I presume it is through Trevor's pointing out all of this that the call happened, but maybe he didn't read the threads himself. It was before 9am on a Monday morning after all....

Anyway - I do think you should direct your call to him this morning. And I do think it stands repeating that the simmer issue is the really big one. That is, the one that's causing people to say things like "I'm gonna look elsewhere". The simmer issue is a deal-breaker for many. Interestingly, not for everyone, even those who say they experience the problem. But we do all cook differently, have different needs, etc...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Thanks, S!'re on the top of my to-do list today....

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 12:36PM
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I posted this on Aliris's other thread on simmering, but thought it useful to post here as well. Hope you don't mind, Aliris, my double-posting or the fact I referenced Bob's call to you this morning when I spoke with him. I also dropped the forum name several times.

I called Capital this morning and spoke to Bob Waymire. Upon explaining my inability to adjust the burner low enough to get anything other than a rapid boil, he suggested maybe something needed to be adjusted with the ground or that the modules might need to be changed. I freely admit I am not of a technical/engineering-gas-cooker mind so I haven't a clue what that means. Bob will set up service and call me back.

During our talk, I tried to emphasize just what an issue this is for owners and particularly for future owners following our discussions with impending range ordering deadlines looming. I suggested that a fix for what is beginning to be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a major problem by many on GW (Kitchen forum members have been commenting on a thread there as well) would go a long ways towards garnering future business. Of course, I fumbled my way through that communication cuz I'm not too eloquent over the phone with a 2 y.o. fussing to talk on the phone. :) I'm not sure if he really heard me or not.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Good job Breezy!

I bet your fussy 2yo actually helped your cause ... he seemed awfully nice on the phone to me and I think multitasking-with-child gets you points with some folks.

Hope your little one isn't getting what you had...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 3:37PM
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The power of the internet!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 3:55PM
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If I remember correctly when the CC was in prototype and Beta they had a discrete simmer burner. Later they made the decision to do away with it and make all the burners the same. Sounds like they need to bring back the simmer burner. And retrofit current customers if they want to have a simmer burner. And give new customers a choice of simmer burner or no simmer burner.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:09PM
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I'm reposting this from another thread because it's relevant to simmer and we have about 5 different simmer threads going on here.

jscout mentioned a good idea for Captital to have a White Glove service plan. I wonder if part of the problem is the service people in the field don't know how to properly adjust the CC simmer. They may adjust the simmer a little hot to preven the clicking, which is not problem on a lesser burner, and that "a little hot" ends up being too much with the 23,000 BTU burner. The service people may not understand the adjustment window for simmer on a CC is *much narrrower* than on lesser burners, and they need to take more care in performing the adjustment.

The more I think about it, this may be a sensible explanation as to why some of the simmers are too high -- because the service people did not understand how to make this adjustment on a CC and they adjusted the CC simmer too high. They turn down the flame until the ignitor starts clicking and then they back off until the clicking stops -- but if they backed off too far they leave the simmer too high (without realizing it) and then they tell the homeowner "the simmer has been adjusted.".

A service notice and/or more information in the manual would be helpful.

I think I'll retry the adjustments tonight. I suspect I can get my simmer down a little lower than the service rep did.

I can truthfully say there is no way the current simmer panic would cause me to re-think my decision to buy a CC. I LOVE cooking on this stove and in addition to its performance I personally think it is the best-looking open burner range out there.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:31PM
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Wow everyone. Thank you Aliris, Breezy and Trevor for finding the time in your busy lives to do this.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Mangiamo--a gracious your welcome.

Billy--yes, so many simmer threads. Please report back when you've tinkered more. I think I tinkered correctly and can't get mine lower, but I'm the first to admit that I'm no pro at this.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 8:51PM
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Darn auto fill. My first sentence should say "you're" welcome instead of "your."

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 8:52PM
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What impresses me is that awhile back we had some threads about bad customer service from Capital, to the point where I remember posting a list of things good CS requires, and they seem to have taken it to heart. I don't mean what I posted, particularly, but that people needed a better CS experience and that they're trying to do better. Good for them.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:48AM
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cross-posted on another thread:

Capital is coming for round two of simmer adjustment at my house today. I'm as eager as the next to see the adjustment succeed. If it is possible for a full burner to also simmer "truly", that would be best for all -- who actually wants to have to be limited by the placement of dedicated specialty burners?

Although it was Capital who adjusted my burners previously and so I had assumed they were on; as good as can get ... it has been explained to me that the techs may nonetheless have been mistaken in the settings as has been described in Billy's, I think, simultaneous thread. Failing, still, to find the necessary instrument for my own tweaks, I am as yet still unable to test that theory.

So I'm looking forward to the next great chapter and I'll keep y'all posted. This time Capital is, I believe, intimately aware of the finer points of this issue as well as what's at stake. I just hope hope hope not to have to suffer that awful "lady this is what it means to have a high-powered range; get used to it" feeling again. I feel scolded for the temerity to play around in the room with the big boys.

I wish I had skin as scarred and hoary as so many on this forum seem to. (that would be a cue for one of those fantastic funny pictures someone -- is it dodge? deeageaux? marcolo? likes to post on here.)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 11:40AM
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That would be mojavean. ;)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 12:04PM
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Hi all -- Permit me to report here some results of a morning get-together with the head engineer at Capital, Joey Kitabayashi, and a service tech (whose name I'm blanking on).

It seems my simmer can definitely be turned lower. Not necessarily at the fine-tuning screw level behind the knobs, but upstream, at the black funnel-shaped air intake valve located underneath the drip pans. A clue to this is that the blue flames coming out of the ports on my burners were "lifting" - they didn't erupt from the burner at the metal, but there was a air gap between ignited flame and metal burner. This was made to go away by adjusting the air mix and *then* the flame was adjustable downward with the little screwdriver.

And guess what: Mr Joey gave me an adorable little long-shank 3/32" slotted screwdriver branded with the Capital logo that fits. How cool is that? ;) (Sorry, I know this is trivial, but I just love that little thing. It's snuggled in a drawer next to my range. It works, it's easy to adjust the flame (they watched me do it), and ... I dont have to trudge out to a sixth hardware store looking for this thing ... except that I do have to go back to the third to return the driver I bought that doesn't work. :( )

Now, Mr Joey and I chatted for many long hours, principally about customer relations. He's working on getting that adorable to screwdriver to anyone who wants it. Mind you, I'm not Capital and I'm not promising, but it's my understanding that they're definitely sitting up straight and about to launch into Remedial Customer Relations 101.

In their defense, among many other interesting things I learned today, is that Capital has received very, very few calls complaining about the simmer. There have been a lot of complaints on here about it. But they aren't getting translated to the folks who need to know and can do something about it.

As a personal matter, I am culpable, doubly in some sense because I happen to live near their factory. They are endearingly desperate to be introduced to problems in their backyard so that they can at least get things perfect here before tackling, say, Maryland. It's a long plane trip to New York, and they've indeed been undertaking service calls that far away.

So that's another interesting point: Capital is a smaller endeavor than some may realize. I tried to make the point to Joey that the size of the operation is measured to we consumers in some sense in terms of reputation of product quality, not, say, gross profit or units produced. But from their point of view, it's just a bunch of guys in a warehouse south of here. They don't have a sales army of distributors to relay customer information to them; they need to hear it from you, personally, on the phone. Joey answers customer service calls sometimes.

On to the substantive issue, the simmer. It is Joey's hope, belief and contention that they can actually adjust all the people's machines with "simmering problems" downward. However, what that means practically, is another matter. Not in terms of doing the adjustment, but what will constitute a good-enough simmer.

He told me and I believe him, that he's committed to trying to work on each and every simmer problem presented to them on a case by case basis. More out there may be remedied in the same manner as my machine's. There may be different solutions as well. I got quite an earful about the myriad parameters affecting gas flow and ultimately temperature. While that machine may be essentially simple, the focusing of its flame is not.

So - back to my service call. They managed to get the temperature way lower and then we set on to "simmer" a panful of canned baked beans. They appeared to simmer lowly very nicely for a while. Most definitely better than had been; possibly enough low that I might not be complaining. With time however the glop did continue to heat up and eventually started to scorch. So I know that this was all very interesting to Mr Joey. In some sense the jury's still a little bit out about whether my machine, then, has achieved a "true simmer"; the definition of that elusive quality has yet to be nailed down.

But at least I believe in the course of my conversation with Joey we were quite agreed that a practical definition is most important, that is one relevant to a home cook, involving home-cooked items and a homecook's needs (e.g., all-day simmering without constant monitoring, no scorching, thick and thin, etc).

He is, BTW, extremely desirous of developing real-life, practical feedback about all of this. He recognizes (now) that boiling water is all well and good for a factory/lab test but that translating results to a more practical milieu matters. I think this is an important step for us CC owners (personally).

What else?...drat; forgot to ask about the cooling fan.

Other interesting tidbits: the convection necessarily draws air around through the middle of the oven's interior cavity, hence the temperature there is necessarily, always lower. They're going to undertake some more, practical, experiments on this in the factory.

Oh yes -- the bottom line is that, as I understand it, Capital believes it quite possible that each and every simmer problem out there can be addressed and improved. Whether it will be improvable enough is still a little unclear. So in the meantime, they are indeed in the process of developing a simmering plate for their machine. How that will be distributed, cost, etc, is entirely unknown as of now.

However, most important was also this information about the actual engineering. The paradigm, if you will, of how the burner varies from low flame to high, is not like, say, turning a light bulb dimmer from low to high. It's more like, um, well -- don't know if this is a good analogy for all, but more like on my stereo's receiver there's a large "volume" dial, and then a smaller "loudness" dial. The loudness kicks in its particular sound spectrum at the lower end of volume; after a certain volume the 'volume' knob takes over.

With these burners it seems there's a main, basically a cylinder like it sounds to me, a car's cylinder. This adjusts the flow of gas on a large scale and affects the blast furnace end of things, the 23K BTU part. Then at the bottom end of things is this adjustment screw that controls the low-end simmering part. It's not particularly related to the gross adjustment. And hence, it is, theoretically, possible to "have it all", a burner that ranges from low-end simmer to blast furnace. Still in discussion, however, is just how low a simmer capability needs to be from a practical, home-cook's standpoint.

And I'm going to have to go in a second here, possibly before conveying all. But let me just say that this bit, the discussion of what is low-enough practically, is something that was made clear to me Capital is very willing to hear from its customers (and potential customers) regarding. They have a website, with contact information on it. I urge sundry to contact them (even if I myself am utterly chicken about doing so).

gotta run, sorry .... more later if it occurs.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 5:43PM
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