Archive for IKEA

IKEA’s Double-Edged Customer Service

Posted in General Chang, neverbeengood with tags , , , , on June 24, 2010 by badhex

Yesterday I went to IKEA to help a friend get some stuff for a new flat and grab a couple of bits myself and I discovered a couple of pretty pleasing facts, and also experienced an interesting customer service juxtaposition.

I’ve got to be honest I’m a bit of a stickler for customer service; I tend to think that provided customers are being generally respectful, staff, in particular customer service staff, should always try to make the effort to help. I’ve worked in several customer facing roles such as bars where people can be extremely rude and abusive, and various IT support roles where one can also sometimes be subject to a similar level of venting; my point is that I understand it’s not always cut and dried and I do see it from the staff point of view.

Herewith, the following examples of both terrible customer service and outstanding customer service within 5 minutes from two different IKEA staff members stood not 5 yards apart.

One of my particular reasons for going had been that a few months ago, I was given a couple of LACK shelf units by a friend, but unfortunately they were missing one complete set of screws. I figured this kind of thing must happen regularly and I’d probably be able to buy more screws, so I asked a staff member, who told me to go to customer services behind the tills.

Upon arriving at customer services around 10pm closing time, there was one person being served, but the guy behind the counter brusquely told me that he was not serving anyone else as he was closed which then prompted the following conversation:

“Okay. Is there anyone else I can speak to?”

“No”

“Well, it’s only a one minute question, I just…”

“If it’s one minute that will mean I’m here one minute longer, so I’m not answering it”

“Look, I just want to know if you sell spare screws for your products”

“No we don’t”

<pointing to the large range of screws in little trays behind the desk> “You don’t sell more screws?!”

“We will give you more screws but you have to come back another day”

At this point, the chap being served helpfully pointed to some trays containing screws etc that I hadn’t seen, which were self service, and said I could probably look there. I very pointedly thanked him, and turned to the CS guy to point out somewhat ascerbicly that he a) worked here, and b) could have pointed that out instead of being Johnny Jobsworth. I walked over,  and realised that they were all numbered, and I had no idea which I needed, so at this point was going to give up the ghost when I was beckoned over by another CS lady who said to give her a minute and she would look up the screws for me. I thanked her and apologised for it being after 10pm.

A few minutes later she duly looked up the shelf unit’s instructions, pointing out that even if you came back ten years later, the screws wouldn’t have changed (which pleases me greatly from a design point of view), then went off to look for them. She came back and handed me a full compliment of one type, but said she didn’t have a rest of them in, so I should give her my details and she’d order a full set and post them to me in a couple of days!

Mega pleasing.

So, the moral of the story? In these sort of situations, there’s always gonna be someone who is a dick – but every other employee should not be tarred with the same brush, which it is very easy to do when one has been treated unreasonably. I think the fact that they give you the screws/fittings etc for nothing is fantastic – especially as they will post them out if they don’t have them in stock.

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