Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ikea Treats Their Customers Like Criminals

So, I spend big bucks on furnishings. It is the way of my people. In the past 12 years in Kuwait, I have thrown down beaucoup bucks at Ikea. Never had a problem with them until recently.

When they first opened at The Avenues, Slapperella and I had been shopping at the mall and walked in with a few bags. We were accosted (literally) by 2 Ikea men who didn't speak English who pointed and waved towards the check-out desks. I don't know the word for "locker" in Arabic, so whatever they were saying made ab-so-fuckin-lutely no sense to me. They were both so rude that we turned around and left the store.
This is before we even entered the store to shop. Ya know - that's pretty pathetic. You are treated poorly even before you have the chance to look at what items they have!

On my next visit, there was a dude who did speak English and told us that we needed to put our bags in a locker. We needed 100 fils (I NEVER have coinage). So, he broke a 1 dinar and I put my stuff in the lockers and fought past people to get back into it. Knowing the system, I thought I would be ok for the next trip to Ikea.

So we went this weekend. Here is the new deal (and whose brilliant phuckin idea was THIS???): You have to go to the little info desk next to the escallator and give them your Civil ID or 5 kd for a key to a locker. If you don't return the key, you have to pay them 5 kd. First and foremost, NO ONE is getting my civil ID. Sorry, too much personal info. Aint gonna happen. When I gave them the 5kd note, they don't even give you a receipt. All the civil IDs and the money goes into a business-card holder and is left on top of the counter. Wow. That's really secure.

I'm prone to hissy fits and this just set me off. As Slaps says, "You are an activist complainer. You go one step beyond..."

First Ikea, if you have theft problems, install better security systems like cameras and security tags on smaller items. Hire more security personnel! How much can your losses possibly be on small items? I'm telling you this now - on behalf of the multitude of customers who (unlike me) won't complain directly to Ikea. There are a lot of them out there: Do you think that they are really going to take the time to sit down and write a letter?

Don't treat your customers like theives! If I want to carry my bag into your store - it should be my choice - not yours! I shouldn't have to be run after by members of your staff like I stole something - I should be rewarded for wanting to shop there (sending thousands of dinars!) in the first place.

What happened to the concept of customer service? Do you not know that you have COMPETITION in Kuwait? Safat Al-Ghanim, Midas, The One... must I go on? Ikea, you are no longer the only shop in town.
May 5, 2008 Update: Ikea sent the following SMS to my mobile
Ikea would like to thank you for giving us your comments and suggestions. This will help us improve. Ikea Customer Service. Otay, that's nice. How are YOU going to help ME?
I spoke to a very nice higher-up at Midas who says that the #1 most-stolen item from their store is an ash tray shaped like a lady's handbag. That thar is something to ponder... It just screams, "Yo! Theif-lady! Put me in your baaaag...." I'm going to Midas just to see what they look like and maybe BUY one for myself (because my parents raised me right!).
May 9, 2008 Update: Ikea responds to Blog Post via E-mail
Got a nice e-mail from the Service Operations Manager at Ikea who apologized for the "lackadaisical attitude on the part of any of our Co workers". It was a nice attempt, but unfortunately, it isn't the employees' fault; it is a policy put in place by Ikea management.
DG response:
As you know - everyone in your store must place their bags in a locker and provide either their civil ID card or 5 KD. Signs are posted in the entrance to the store. I'm not alone - this policy affects all your customers; and I am quite sure that it subsequently affects your sales. Unfortunately, until you put appropriate security measures in place (do away with the forced placement of bags in lockers), you will continue to have this problem.

As we are in Kuwait, most customers will not take the time to bring the point to Ikea management attention; Instead, they will just go to another store. I did take the time to fill out your electronic comments at the time that it happened. I also discussed it with the manager on duty at that time.

This policy is negative. It makes the customer feel bad - before they even get inside to view the items. Most stores want a positive, pleasant shopping experience for their customers. I want to feel good about spending money.

I have discussed this problem with owners of other furniture stores around Kuwait; they have stated that they would prefer small losses through theft on small items than to lose customers who make large purchases (like me).'


Purgatory said...

Why do you take a bag with you to Ikea? Just visit Ikea first, or visit without bags. I am sure you heard of the guy who tried to sneak a mattress, a kitchen and a full set of knives.

Ruby Redux said...

Passes a memo to Ikea.

Big Pearls said...

oooh!! I wouldn't want to carry a lot of bags while shopping around IKEA but like u said..this is my choice is not to be made by them!

Mohammad said...

One of the reasons why Companies treat their customers like this is that most of Kuwaiti people are simple minded and they will trust any shop with their personal information and put up with any stupid rule or procedure the companies make up without complaining ...

and the companies will keep doing this because they don't know that they are upsetting their customers since they don't complain about it ..

We hope to see this change whether it's because they will improve their customer service or they will worry about their image in response to unsatisfied customers who will criticize them like yourself ..

Desert Girl said...

The bags we carried were from places like boots - small.

I filled out their in-store electronic customer comment form, but of course no one has contacted me.

Mohammed - very well said.

I was standing at the Avis counter at the airport once waiting for them to process my rental car paperwork. They stuck my credit card recept on a stand next to the counter, behind a computer monitor - but within reach of anyone walking by. When I got upset by that, they just said something about that it is their "policy" or "system". Anyone walking by could get an entire stack of credit card numbers, names, signatures... Do they not GET it? I took a picture on my mobile and the agent actually stood there and smiled for the camera. No one complains - like sheep.