Introductory speech by IKEA’s new director of customer service

Thank you! Thank you! Thank. You. All!

Now stop your clapping and listen the Hell up!

Things are going to change around here. To stay agile in this business, we must shake things up.

You’re probably used to certain success criteria, like on-time delivery and customer satisfaction. I want you to forget about all of that. Right now.

Today, I introduce a new directive. It’s called “Great Furniture, Yes!” or simply GFY. Personally, I like to use a helpful mnemonic to remember this acronym: “Go Fuck Yourself.”

“Go Fuck Yourself” is how we’ll be doing business on my watch, ladies and gentlemen.

Let me ask you a question: What is the most important thing in customer service? Who said, “Making sure the customer is happy”? Was it you, Sven? Congratulations, Sven, you’re fired! Effective immediately.

Now, while Sven is busy packing his personal belongings into a Skansvarra folder and crying into his Flummoksta tissues, let’s continue, shall we?

Where were we? Correct, “Go Fuck Yourself”! You’re catching on. Let me answer my own question. The most important thing in customer service is not wasting precious company money on frivolous things like phone calls to customers or making sure their orders are delivered correctly, or at all. Do you have any idea how much a single minute of phone time costs this company? Neither do I, but I can assure you: It’s money we simply can’t afford. Every krone we waste on talking to a customer is a krone less in my…uh…our collective pocket.

I can see most of you nodding. I’m not sure if that’s simply a nervous twitch, but I’ll take it as a good sign. Looks like you’re starting to understand the “Go Fuck Yourself” mentality. But how does it look in practice? I’m glad you asked. But you didn’t ask. I asked. Pay attention.

Let’s say a hypothetical customer—let’s call him “Nest,” or simply “Daniel”—shows up at our store on a Tuesday. Let’s say that, before leaving his house, this “Daniel” uses our online system to check that all of the furniture he wants is, in fact, in stock. When he arrives, we discover that even though the products are in stock, they are at the very top of our warehouse and cannot actually be delivered to him that day. What is our next move?

No, not “offer to deliver these products to him at no extra charge.” Who said that?! Sven? Why the heck are you still in this room, Sven? We’re not a charity. No, instead, we charge this sneaky “Daniel” a fee to deliver the products to his house and another fee for picking his products from our shelves. Then we tell him to pay for the furniture and the extra fees ASAP, so that we can “reserve” his order. Then we remind Daniel of our “Great Furniture, Yes” concept and send him on his way. We promise to deliver the products between 15 and 19 the following day.

What’s our next move?

AhaAHahahhahaahaa. Did you hear that? He said, “Deliver the products to Daniel between 15 and 19 the following day.” HAHAHHAA! Sven, you crazy fucker, you crack me up. I’m almost tempted to rehire you this very second. Just kidding, you’re still so fired.

No, instead of delivering Daniel’s products we—get this—don’t. Just don’t. And then we wait. You’ll be tempted to call him up and tell him we’re busy and we’re delayed and we’re so sorry and all that other bullshit you’re used to. That’s old habits. Fight the urge. Don’t do anything. Daniel will contact you himself. Then you tell him we’re delayed. Don’t apologize. That shows weakness. And weakness is for pussies like Sven. Right, Sven? Right!

Now, here’s the good part: You tell Daniel he’ll get his order on Saturday, three days from now. Don’t give him options, just say we’re closed for Easter and he’ll be informed when his products will arrive on Saturday. He’ll probably protest, because Daniel lives in some fantasy world where paying customers get to decide when and how to get their orders. Silly fool, that Daniel. But humor him. Say something like “OK, we’ll see if we can deliver your order later today after all.”

Then you send a truck with a bunch of stuff he didn’t actually order to his address at 21. Predictably, Daniel has eyes, so he’ll probably see that the furniture you’re delivering isn’t what he’d ordered. No problem, you take it all back, having successfully simulated an attempt to resolve the issue. Then you repeat to yourself, GFY, shut off all phones and emails, and leave on a well-deserved Easter break.

When you wake up on Saturday, make zero attempts to reach Daniel. Remember what I told you about phone call costs. Daniel wants his furniture, doesn’t he? He’ll call you. Then you tell him he’ll get his furniture between 15 to 19. I just love that time period, 15 to 19. We never ever deliver between 15 to 19, do we? Yet we always give people that time slot. That’s true “Go Fuck Yourself” in action, ladies and gentlemen.

But of course Daniel will be difficult. Of course! “Daniel” means “annoying pain in the ass” in ancient Greek. So Daniel will ask to have his order delivered after 19, because he apparently has plans. On a Saturday. I don’t even leave my bed on Saturdays, but this damn Daniel dude has places to be. But hey, fuck it, it’s not like we’re planning on delivering his order anyway, so you promise him he’ll get the order after 19. Now you have two more days of Easter to look forward to.

This part is crucial:

Do. Not. Deliver. His. Order. After 19.

Do. Not. Call. Daniel.

Don’t give him any options to contact customer service. Switch off all numbers and online chat. Leave him in the dark.

What’s he going to do? Not much. If I know Daniel, he’ll just write a passive-aggressive post on his blog on Monday, where he invents a fictional IKEA customer service department director and then goes all meta on his own post by self-referring to it using some cheap literary technique. That’s all.

In the meantime, we need to find out what we’ll tell him next time. I don’t know the answer, ladies and gentlemen. That’s your homework: How do we introduce Daniel to more of our trademark “Go Fuck Yourself” approach during our next working day.

I look forward to working with each and every one of you. Except you, Sven, you poor loser.

Have a wonderful day and remember to not give a shit about IKEA customers.

Go. Fuck. Yourselves!

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13 thoughts on “Introductory speech by IKEA’s new director of customer service

  1. GFY will be chanted all across the land!
    Hope you finally got your stuff Daniel. The mixed up mix up is never good.
    But of course, I enjoyed reading about it.

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  2. Hahahaha – sorry, I shouldn’t laugh. But back in the UK, we learned a lesson long ago: if stuff is not on store shelf ready to be picked up there and then, forget it. Never EVER engage in delivery games. Alas, now that I am in Ireland, there is no IKEAing of any sort. Don’t know what’s worse… :/

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  3. Aw that sounds frustrating! For, um “Daniel” of course. And Sven. I feel bad for Sven.

    On a serious note though….. Is this still a Denmark thing? I’ve never been to Denmark, but I feel like in Europe, customer service is ….well, not always customer-serving. Not to be all “Rah rah, ‘Murka!” But if there’s one thing we’re good at it’s being impatient and annoying, which businesses prepare for well in advance. I mean, there are plenty of things I vastly prefer about Europe, but in terms of Getting My Shit NOW American is truly #1.

    (Of course, that’s probably because we don’t have things like Easter vacations, vacations period, or a concept of work-life balance. So if we can pay $8 to demand some poor dude deliver furniture at any hour of the day or night, well dammit we’ll do it! ¯(ツ)/¯ )

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    • I have previously heard this from US colleagues – that Denmark was very subpar when it came to customer service. I did notice that service people are a lot friendlier and more helpful in US when I was there.

      Having said that, this level of shittiness is the first in my life. It is still going on to this day, two days after the post. I wonder whether it’s all part of some IKEA conspiracy to test new weapons of irreversible psychological trauma on customers. We’ll soon find out!

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  4. Ugh, that’s horrible. How frustrating. And I thought it was rough with cable companies. To have them deliver the wrong items was like salt in the wound. Here’s hoping you see your furniture. Eventually. (Maybe you need to sic your ninja cats on them.)

    Poor Sven. He’s had a rough day, too…

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    • That Sven was asking for it!

      It’s Wednesday today, and I can officially say that this hasn’t been resolved until now. No furniture, and not even any contact from customer service updating me on the situation. Instead, I had the distinct pleasure of listening to lounge music while trying to reach customer service myself. After 10 minutes, I decided that maybe lounge music wasn’t really my thing.

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      • You seem to know me quite well.

        I even bothered to spend almost 1 hour to summarize the full experience from Tuesday the 31st to now in a 4-page Google Doc, which I am now busy spamming to any IKEA public space I can. Yes, I’m that kind of an annoying person sometimes.

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      • Next step: Exploring ways to train Django and Pebbles in advanced martial arts and unleash them in IKEA warehouses to wreak havoc. At this stage, that plan actually seems more realistic than getting attention from IKEA.

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