Smile, You’re on Candid Camera


What happens when you automate everything?

You better pray things don't change. And you also better hope there are no humans involved.

I wasn't going to write about it. Give everyone involved — or failure to get involved — the benefit of the doubt.

Then I received a call from an automated 800-number at 8:47pm EST last night. Apparently, Urban Express, the company to whom IKEA outsources delivery services, is really good with automation.

They automate their phone number so you never get a live person when the delivery that was supposed to arrive between 1-5pm is nowhere to be found and you try calling them.

And they automate customer surveys after the fact, past bedtime on a Sunday night.

I suppose, somewhere along the line, they forgot to talk to the dispatcher who called at 6:45pm, way past the delivery time, and lied about having called earlier.

An order not delivered is not complete.

Which means all logistics are left to be sorted out by the customer: me. Wish me luck. I was sent to two places at the IKEA store this morning, and told there was nothing anyone could do because the items were "in transit". 

Now I have no idea where the items are and am way past wanting them. Is there anyone who cares long enough to address the issue at IKEA? Their growth may be everything but flat. It seems to me they could use someone rounded (and willing) in customer support.

It would have been fairly simple to make a small little effort to communicate with the third party delivery company in the morning. It would have saved everyone the extra next steps. Time and energy cost money.

Businesses continue to make the same mistake — not making all customers special by addressing issues on the onset. Which is why customer service in social is not fair.

This post will be recorded for quality assurance purposes.

Smile, you're on candid camera.

UPDATE: Progress was made this morning and the issue was addressed by IKEA at the store. However, it is my understanding that Urban Express is still missing in action with the packages.


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0 responses to “Smile, You’re on Candid Camera”

  1. Interestingly, I wonder how much cultural influence affects service? I used to be a big fan of IKEA for a great many years before they entered the US market. Whilst living in the UK and France, service was polite, delivery prompt, and everyone followed the instructions (i.e. entered the store at the entrance and exited at the exit). I never had a reason to call them.
    My first, and subsequent, sojourns to IKEA in NJ and FL have left a bitter taste. Customers don’t care about systems or rules – they seem to want what they want when they want it. There are always a large number of people fighting to enter through the exit, walk through the cashiers and then look thoroughly lost with bewildered faces such as “is this it?” By following the arrows on the floor I’d get more bruises from opposite traffic than if I wound my way through the displays.
    Could such carelessness, laziness, and entitlement spill over into the employees, too? From your experience above, it sounds possible. Shame. I liked the company, and still like a lot of their products, but I’m much less likely to shop at IKEA USA than at IKEA Europe.

  2. My issue actually is with the delivery company, Urban Express. Yes, IKEA is expecting me to take a couple of trips back and forth to the store, because there’s nobody on the other line of the phone… the logistics company that does their delivery is not doing them any favors in the reputations department.
    Lack of interest in this case, as in many others where automation has been implemented, stems from nobody stepping forward and owning getting the question answered, or the problem fixed as it may be. Instead, out of sight, out of mind… it’s even worse that rudeness. It’s lack of interest.
    It sounds like you have not visited one of their stores in Italy.

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