Customer Presentation Silhouettes

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!

Concrete and stone can break my home

Remember how I’ve told you that we were basically finished with the new apartment? Yeah, I lied.

Turns out that blind optimism mixed with poor judgement result in wrong timeline projections. Who would have thought?

Yes, we have bought all of the furniture. Yes, I have assembled most of the IKEA chests of drawers during the first few days of the past week. But I have grossly underestimated the amount of time and effort required to make our wardrobe fit.

You see, we have this niche inside the bedroom that rests on a step. The dimensions of the niche match perfectly with an IKEA wardrobe we purchased. Well, almost perfectly. There’s a concrete bar hanging up at the ceiling that steals a centimetre of the space needed for the wardrobe to fit.

Actual picture of the actual concrete bar

We have purchased our wardrobe in the strange hope that the extra centimetre would magically appear by itself. It didn’t. Not to worry, I decided to buy some equipment to shave a bit of that concrete off.

I’ve played enough with Lego to know exactly how the real world works!

Quiz time! What are some of the things you would least want to happen to a power tool? If you said “exploding”, then wow – you’ve seen some crazy shit! If you said “the handle falling off in your hands” or “safety screw popping out during operation”, then congratulations – you have described both things that happened to the first angle grinder I purchased. Thankfully, nobody was injured and I’ve managed to exchange the angle grinder for a more expensive and hopefully less deadly one.

To make a long story slightly shorter, after hours of my power-tool-happy friend grinding through concrete and us trying to make the wardrobe fit, we have realised that we will need to butcher the concrete even further. Here’s how it looks now:

Sexy, eh?

Now imagine that…times four. That’s how long it will have to be. My friend is only able to help again in two weeks, so until then our bedroom is off limits. What used to be a nice and almost finished bedroom is now a storage room for all the crap we’ve got in the house. It’s also a place where (my) nightmares live.

If you look closely enough you can spot Waldo!

All of the construction work is also accompanied by high levels of stress and blood pressure as I see our brand new apartment get mutilated. Thankfully, the others (my girlfriend in particular) are dealing with my panic-mode calmly, instead of stabbing me in the neck with a screwdriver. But now I’m giving them ideas…

Anyway, the apartment is a good few weeks from finally being done. By then I expect to bring you some “after” pictures that hopefully look a bit more encouraging than the ones above.

In between the stress and waking up at night thinking of wardrobes and concrete grinding I hope to still remain sane enough to bring you some fresh posts. Stay tuned.

Moving stuff…

Dear friends, family, casual onlookers…and also you! Yes, even YOU (whatever your name is). If you have a well developed memory and a functioning eyesight you may have noticed that my posts have been a bit sporadic the past few days. Rest assured that I did not forget about you…well, except maybe you (whoever you are).

The truth is, I have been busy. Over the weekend my girlfriend and I have finally moved into our new apartment. So between moving, unpacking, IKEA shopping and assembling furniture I have had little chance to update my blog.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that most of the work is behind us, so I should again start having more time for you. Even better news is that I now have an office. The office is also a reading room, a guest room, a hobby room and a dust-collecting room. But that’s all beside the point. I now have a room where I can lock myself in to be with you…wait, that didn’t come out right! What I’m trying to say is I now have an office. So, yeah…

I expect to bring you more posts soon, once we’re fully settled in. For now, I leave you with a picture documenting my friend’s impressive packing skills:

Pfffft, 2D Tetris is so last century!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe I’ve got a few more drawers to build.