Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When 'self service' goes wrong...

Elisa is a huge fan of Ikea. To a certain degree I can see, and maybe even subscribe, to the creative empowerment that they enable... but... there are anomalies to this utopian vision of furniture-ness.

We went there recently to purchase some new super-hide-your-life-storage system which would be far too big for us to transport.

So when we approached the staff to organise such a purchase/delivery we were told that - process-wise - we had to go into the open warehouse space,collect all the elements of the system that we want and wheel it through a checkout on a trolley.

Not withstanding the weight of the items, there was also the hilarious moment where, after checkout, you had to go wait in another queue to arrange delivery and .... give the stuff straight back to them.

I know forklifts are expensive but surely getting customers hot and flustered by forcing them to move heavy objects a mere 40 metres - for no particular benefit to either party - is a bit off.

In the end we just gave up.... the trick 'apparently' is to avoid the store all together and just buy it all online. Their finely distilled customer experience is killed stone dead but a poor process.

Update: so we did end up placing an order online and it came with it's own set of oddness. Given that IKEA (in Perth at least) is a fully 'open' warehouse, there is no way for them to 'secure' stock. There is also no 'check' online when placing your order as to whether the goods are available or not.

Basically, you enter what you'd like and availability is checked - per hand - within a given time period. You then receive a phone call telling you what is (or isn't available), offering you the various delivery options (including costs) and then logistics are discussed - dates, times, etc.

In our case, a few separate items weren't available. We could (and did) take a partial delivery the next day with those items deleted from our order or alternatively wait until the others were available.

The problem with the later option was that the other items are not secured in the meantime. That is, they potentially could sell out of the other items in those 'gap' days.

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