Customer services (Photo credit: gordon2208)
My husband and I spent 3 hours shopping IKEA this afternoon. We went to purchase a king size bed we saw on their website. Imagine our surprise when we got to the IKEA bedding department to find out that the bed we had spent hours deciding on (and guessing at the measurements since they left out some crucial dimensions – like the height of the headboard) isn’t actually available. In fact, the salesperson we were finally able to convince to help us find it, laughed and said it had never been available and that I must be mistaken.
We were disappointed but quite frankly assumed I’d read something wrong, so we went about trying to find another bed frame that would work with the dimensions of our room. We finally settled on a white king size bed frame and opted to pick up the 2 nights stands that were very over priced at $89 each; but they matched and were the right size. Then we spent an hour trying out all of the mattresses finally deciding on one of their most expensive king size sets.
Again, we had to locate the fellow wearing the Ikea shirt – seems he was more interested in chatting with his co-worker about the computers being slow. See silly us, we thought those people were there to help – little did we know that later that night we’d be informed by a senior customer service agent (through another agent because evidently the senior agents don’t actually TALK to customers) that their job is NOT to help us. The IKEA concept is one of self-help and they just aren’t getting that message across to customers. In fact, we shouldn’t expect their employees to work like REAL salespeople and you know, help us by providing product information and support. But silly us, we wanted to take advantage of their home delivery and actually pay them MORE money to bring our bed 7 miles from the store. But their signage didn’t provide enough information so I had a few questions. My husband and I are mild mannered, polite, and smart. We tried to figure it out on our own but there was this whole vague language on their signs – “take the old mattress away and a fee might apply.” That made me nervous. Call me cheap, but I’d like to know if I’m paying $20 or $200 for that privileged of having them remove my mattress.
The fellow finally realized we were serious about wanting his help and he printed out the pieces we’d need for the bed from that slow computer he’d been standing in front of and then told us we’d have to go pick the pieces ourselves, pay for them, and then cart them to some mysterious home delivery desk. But what about the $90 option to have them pick it and deliver it to that desk? No he says, I wouldn’t recommend paying $40 for that ($50 was the home delivery) – you can pick them yourself.
So off we go all excited because we’ve decided on what to us is a major purchase – our cart total is about $1500 before taxes and we still need bedding. So we spend 1-1/2 hours in the bedding department trying to find sheets, comforter, pillows, and a duvet cover. It’s not easy because they’re out of stock in almost everything king size. So we do our best, pick what’s in stock and make due, and then head for the self-service aisle (silly me, I thought this was the only area of the store that was “self-service”).
We go to the first aisle to pick up the over-priced bedside tables and the shelf is empty. Ok, weird, why didn’t the guy back in bedding see they were out of stock. Oh wait, waaaaaaaaaaaay up on the top shelf is a huge stack of the item we’re looking for. Great. I go to hunt down an employee and the hubby heads off to get the bed frame. I find another surly employee who acts completely put off because I’m asking him about the empty shelf- he attempts to look up the item instead of following me back to the shelf. Only he doesn’t know the item number so it takes him 10 minutes at which point I’m done watching him and say I’ll go get the number.
As I round the corner to go back to the shelf I’d left my husband at I see him coming from the other end of the warehouse and if looks could kill, I wouldn’t be writing this. It turns out the bed frame shelf is empty too. Again, we had all this checked out back in bedding. Now we have two employees – he has one and mine has finally tailed after me – mind you this is a Wednesday afternoon at about 3pm – supposedly the best time to shop with them so they weren’t busy. The two crowd around a computer terminal and my husband’s fellow whispers something to mine to which mine says quietly, “She saw them up there.” What he’s referring to is the tables up at the top of the shelf.
Well, I found out later that’s called “In the Air,” and what should happen is he should tell me they don’t get things down from there during store hours. I can understand that. Instead it appears the first guy was going to tell me they were out of stock and the second guy let him know that wasn’t going to work. They then proceed to tell my husband that IF they can get the bedframe it will be 10-15 days. At that point we left are cart which was overflowing with all the bedding and walked out ticked off.
Now normally it wouldn’t be any big thing, but what happened next is why I’m bothering to blog this. The first thing I did when I got home was look up that first bed. Sure enough, it certainly was on their website and it said it was available in king size. Then I pulled up the bed we’d decided on and it said I could order it online but I’d have to pay that $99 fee ($40 for picking and $50 for delivery – I’m not sure where the extra dollars come in). Then I noticed you can check the store stock so I did – it said there were FIVE beds in stock. Really?!?
So I called the local number provided on the Ikea page for assistance. I got a very lovely young woman whose name escapes me who very kindly looks up the stock and sure as all get out; they have SIX of the beds in stock and TWENTY SIX of the bedside tables. She also noted they’re getting more beds in tomorrow and had NO CLUE why the guys told us 10+ days if EVER. She was sympathetic and said she appreciated me sharing our horrible shopping experience.
So here’s my HUGE demand – I asked that they waive the picking fee and have the items ready for me tomorrow. I’d drive down, pay for them, and we’d have them delivered. Seems really fair to me since we’d already made the trip once and been lied to about the stock (I suspect the bed was “in the air” as well but I never visited that isle to see). She put me on hold and told me she’d have to have that senior person approve it. Well, I was on hold a loooooooooooooooong time and when she returned to the line I could tell from her demeanor immediately that I wasn’t going to like what she had to say.
First, she told me about the store being self-help and that I shouldn’t expect real service. Then she told me that sometimes when you check stock at home by the time you get there it’s sold out (which was NOT the case here – she told me how many had been sold and how many were in stock). She said they couldn’t waive the $40 fee and if I wanted to take it up with the store manager I had to drive down there to talk to him/her.
WHAT?!? I thought I WAS talking to someone in customer service at the store! Turns out it’s a call center and YOU CANNOT CALL THE LOCAL STORE - ever. Sorry, but that’s just bad business and bad customer service to expect me to make the same trip and expect a different outcome; I’m so certain that the horrible customer service would continue the moment I walked into the store. All I wanted was assurance that I’d walk out with the items they have in hand – it seems so easy.
Oh, I almost forgot the best part. When I called the local number to what I thought (’cause the website implied it) was the local store, their entire system is recorded – I expect that – but what I didn’t expect is that it states that if you want quick customer service you should call them between 2 and 4pm. Ok, so does that not set the standards for their terrible customer service? If you’re swamped at other times…you’ve got a problem!
So I just wasted another hour of my life trying to give them $2500 of my money only to find out I’d gotten nowhere. At that point I lost it and out of frustration started to cry. Six hours of my one day off with my husband wasted in a sea of frustration. Yea, laugh at me. So people get mad, I cry.
I guess the whole point to this very long rant is this. Be warned, us customers clearly think that we’re entitled to know what we’re buying and get assistance in finding it when it’s not where it’s supposed to be. We’re expected to know when their website is wrong or is not up-to-date, and we’re supposed to understand that they clearly are not interested in helping any customer after a bad experience. I guess you can say this girl has learned her lesson. Who can trust a company who says their mattress has a 25-year warranty when I can’t even get them to help me in purchasing it?
I’m not one to complain about first-world problems like this but I also know people drive hours to these stores and how disappointed will you be if this happens to you. So tonight I’m sleeping on the floor again and we start the hunt all over again on Saturday. Wish us luck.