By December 28th, 2011 it had become completely apparent we were not going to be able to take our annual trip to Michigan. We'd been planning for Thanksgiving, been postponed by my father's most recent surgery, rescheduled for December only to be sidelined by what turned out to be a pneumonia like infection - yay me! Thank goodness for ZPack antibiotics, nurse practitioners who can knock sense into me and a husband who is flexible. Inlaws who are understanding don't hurt either.
So, instead of being on the road on 12/28 for Michigan, my dear, darling husband drove us to Ikea. For me, Ikea is like the big girl Lego store. This is a store I have been going to whenever I need furniture since 1977. I have played in the Ball Room my son now plays in - OK, not the exact same one, mine was in Manheim Germany and his is in Virginia - and I understand their system of list, pick, pay and pack. Usually, once I get home and open the boxes, I can get everything up and running in about 2 hours at most.
That was not the case this past trip. Or rather, I should say past several trips.
You see, we started on December 28 but continued going back and forth with returns and exchanges all the way up to January 8. It was about then that I encountered the lovely, wonderful, fantastic call center that is the Ikea Call Center. Most specifically - I was introduced to a wonderful woman named Michelle P. who helped me beyond belief. Let's start with the story.
We started returning Besta products almost as soon as we bought them. The first piece we returned was returned because we picked (*NOTE - picking in Ikea is also known as pulling) the wrong color from the warehouse. We thought we were picking white and in fact picked the black brown of the same product. We returned it hoping for an exchange but they didn't have any in the story. Crystal told me not to worry, they'd set it up for me at no cost to me.
They did. There were some issues, but that's another post. Tonight is happy post so we will stop with they delivered the product.
But after that we started noticing that the Besta line we had determined was the line we wanted for the toys, the den like area of the upstairs and the family room downstairs. Boy were we wrong.
Let me rephrase. If the products could be put together they we probably would have been right for the spaces they were chosen for. However, none of them went together. We stripped the back off of one because the grooves holding the backing on were cut incorrectly. The peg holes - rather important when trying to put on doors - were between 1/4" and 1/3" off. The doors looked like and Edvard Munch staircase. More nightmare than dream. It was more than painful especially since to get it looking that good we had spent the better part of 3 weeks, 5 trips back and forth, 1 botched delivery, 4 phone calls to the service center and a whole lotta frustration. By the time Saturday rolled around when we had company I was practically in tears. I had wanted the upstairs organized before they came over. Oh well.
Then Michelle came in and waved her magic wand. To be fair, the wand was passed to her by someone who's name I don't remember but she was at the Call Center and would not hang up until I had a solution and she had spoken to Michelle or someone at the store who knew when Michelle would be in. We ended up speaking with someone who knew Michelle and spent time getting to know the case, my name, my situation, and listen to the problem. While she didn't have a solution, she had an idea. She was going to suggest to Michelle that Ikea send their cargo truck to my house, pick up the big places that we know needed to come back (the Besta line did not work in the family room) bring replacements for the Besta unit upstairs and replace the thing - all the way from box to built.
And they'd do it on a Monday. But not just any Monday - Monday, Martin Luther King Day. My town doesn't usually get Ikea deliveries on Monday - we're a Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday sort of crowd. She was also able to ensure it was the best team. They all spoke English fluently (my Spanish is REALLY rusty and forget the African languages, I don't know them so that that was helpful.) The gentlemen who came were helpful, kind, had no idea what they were in for and took it like champs. In the end I have a beautiful wall unit that started as two bookcases and is now one as he screwed it together to make it look better. The doors open and close perfectly. Now we just have to fix the lights and shelves and we're good.
It is amazing what good customer service will do in a situation like this one. By all rights I should walk away from Ikea and never give them a second chance. It wasn't just one piece of product that had a major fault. It was the entire line that had been build by that supplier. Any bookcase that came out of the supplier in question had their products pulled from Ikea's shelves somewhere between when I purchased them and finally got so frustrated I couldn't get it together that I called. I
I had 2 in store contacts with customer service, 1 on the phone with the store (Michelle) and then several call center calls. Each customer contact was met with curtesy. Each person listened to the problem before deciding if they could handle the issue or if they needed to pass it along. If they had to pass it along, they stayed with the case to make sure the case was covered regardless of the fact that they were no longer on the case.
And as of today, the case is resolved. I have a Besta wall unit, professional installed in our home. We still have to do one or two more things to get it so we can get light into the cabinets (holes for cords etc) and move the shelves a bit to make it more finished. But other than that, it's what I imagined and all our games are now in a wall unit and not scattered all over the floor right where we can trip over them. Who knows - we may even play the games more often now that we know where they are and where the pieces are.
All this because Ikea gives their employees the opportunity and the empowerment to fix the problem when it shows up. I envy the employees of Ikea. They seem to love their jobs, they seem to have managers who care that the customers are taken care of and understand that means they need to take care of their customer service (read that everyone in the story) employees well. I have not met one person who works at Ikea during this ordeal who has not been smiling or been sincerely upset this happened to me. Go, Ikea, go. Whatever you are doing it is working.
And soon we'll be back for a couple of Expedits, lights and one or two other things.
Thank you, Ikea Woodbridge, Michelle P. and everyone else who worked on our case. It was a bear and y'all got it done. Thank you just doesn't seem like enough.
We'll see you again, hopefully it will be to say "hi" and not for any other reason.