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  #121  
Old 16.02.2011, 15:24
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Yes, I have heard that story. While the governor's wife was definitely arrogant and deserved to be shamed, IKEA didn't need to get an attitude about it either as twisting the fact that they don't empower employees into something positive is a tad cynical IMHO. If they'd only treated the wife of the governor this way, that would be cool. But they treat all customers this way.
By selling to all of them at the same (IMHO low) price ? By not granting a special price to those who can better haggle in local lingo ? Shame on that company indeed !
If empowering employees means to you that one can reduce the price you have missed essential bits of what it takes to be a good salesperson.
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  #122  
Old 16.02.2011, 16:04
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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By selling to all of them at the same (IMHO low) price ? By not granting a special price to those who can better haggle in local lingo ? Shame on that company indeed !
If empowering employees means to you that one can reduce the price you have missed essential bits of what it takes to be a good salesperson.
It's not about haggling. It's about taking the customer seriously and meeting his needs. An empowered employee knows roughly what the real costs are and can decide where a price cut is appropriate if the alternative is that the customer will go away empty handed. A non empowered employee knows how to press buttons on the till and knows how to articulate the words "no, can't do that". IKEA is the antithesis to individuality, initiative or empowerment. In IKEA everything has to be done strictly by the rules and even as a customer you are a statistic and not a client. If what you ask for isn't something that they can tick a box for then you can't have it. You get told off if you try to do things differently. See my earlier posting about getting shouted at at the checkout.

As I said, I'm no super fan of Media-Markt. In fact I find the store almost as depressing as IKEA. But I have run into many employees who did their best to understand and meet my needs and even offerred me a special price or threw in some freeby extra before I even asked for it. And Media-Markt prices aren't especially high either so I don't think it's because they have more margin to maneuver in.

Last edited by amogles; 16.02.2011 at 16:42.
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  #123  
Old 16.02.2011, 16:44
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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It's not about haggling. It's about taking the customer seriously and meeting his needs.
Your "needs" seem to be limited to a price discount. Do you also discuss the price of a litre of milk at a supermarket ?
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An empowered employee knows roughly what the real costs are and can decide where a price cut is appropriate if the alternative is that the customer will go away empty handed.
An employee who was 'empowered' to reduce the price will be told exactly what the minimum acceptable price is. That's not what I'd call empowerment.
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IKEA is the antithesis to individuality, initiative or empowerment. In IKEA everything has to be done strictly by the rules and even as a customer you are a statistic and not a client.
You have never had a kitchen planned at IKEA, have you ? They will bend over backwards to try and meet your needs. However, IKEA is selling commodities, not bespoke furniture.
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You get told off if you try to do things differently. See my earlier posting about getting shouted at at the checkout.
I only found one post of yours in this thread claiming that you were yelled at for running up an escalator the wrong way. I know such behavior from teens.
If you do want to haggle you can try it at IKEA's Fundgrube, where they sell returns etc.
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  #124  
Old 16.02.2011, 16:58
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Your "needs" seem to be limited to a price discount. Do you also discuss the price of a litre of milk at a supermarket ?
Milk is a commodity. Furniture is not, at least not as long as other stores don't sell items that are totally identical so that I can make a comparison based on price alone.

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An employee who was 'empowered' to reduce the price will be told exactly what the minimum acceptable price is. That's not what I'd call empowerment.
So what? At least they can make the judgement of whether they are giving it to me or not. As was mentioned on this thread before, IKEA staff don't even get commission on the stuff they sell. So whether they attempt to meet my needs or insult me and send me away empty handed, it's all he same to them. Where's the empowerment in that?

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You have never had a kitchen planned at IKEA, have you ? They will bend over backwards to try and meet your needs. However, IKEA is selling commodities, not bespoke furniture.
Look, I know here you're coming from. I know plenty of Ikeaites. They love everything IKEA makes and won't even consider shopping anywhere else. One even thinks the IKEA catalog is good bedtime literature (I joke you not). And if you're like that (and no offence intended) there'd no point arguing with emotion. There's a lot of emotion in IKEA's marketing concept and credit is due to the very clever marketing folks for having set it up that way and kept it going for so long. But that alone doesn't excuse staff attitudes.

Last edited by amogles; 16.02.2011 at 17:13.
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  #125  
Old 17.02.2011, 02:05
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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While I have my issues with Media Markt and am certainly no fan, at least in Media Markt you can often negotiate some price cut on more expensive items. IKEA doesn't do that, ever.
This is probably due to a totally different corporate structure. The Media Markt stores are run quite independently. E.g. it's the local store manager who determines product range and prices.
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  #126  
Old 17.02.2011, 02:26
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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This is probably due to a totally different corporate structure. The Media Markt stores are run quite independently. E.g. it's the local store manager who determines product range and prices.
other aspect: MediaMarkt is often far away from beeing a bargain (comparing the same products with other stores). that is why at MediaMarkt you can sometimes negotiate price cuts from 3 to 10%.
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  #127  
Old 19.02.2011, 11:07
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Right, I had a bad experience at Geneva Ikea today. For some it might amuse, for some it might remind of a similar customer service incidents.

Whatever the case, I think it is better to share, discuss and understand cultural nuances than ignore.

Background - I am a new comer to Switzerland (Non EU, Asian) so settling down to the new ways. Incase i am mistaken please correct my understanding of the situation.

This morning I went to IKEA and approached a sales person (young guy in uniform at the tills)

The incident goes as follows:

Sales agent: Bonjour,

Me: Hi hello,

Sales agent: Bonjour,

Me: Hi

Sales agent: Bonjour

Me: - sorry, do you understand english?

Sales agent: dosent reply, ignores and looks into the PC

Me: I ask again, hi sorry, do you understand english?

Sales agent: yes.... i do a little bit but my colleague here speaks better english (in perfect english grammar + pronunciation which surprised me) and completely ignores me next minute

The other guy was with a customer and refuses to even acknowledge (which is fine, it doesn't surprise)

Now i was bit disturbed at this behavior (not used to anyone treating me like this) and walked to the next counter where i approached a girl (very french) who could not understand english (well sort of). When I asked if she spoke english and if she could help. She was friendly and said wait one sec....walks me down to the same (rude) sales agent and said - talk to him as he speaks english! Now remember, the girl had not seen me chat to this sales agent before.

Before leaving me to him, both of them discuss something in french but she insisted that he helps me.

Then the sales agent says: OK,you can ask me anything and i will try to help you as much as i can (again perfect english)

I ask my question,he replies and the issue is sorted.

Now i want to know whether customer treatment like this is common in a big city like Geneva? Is there anything wrong or is this the way city behaves?

This is not a personality conflict or misunderstanding. I have the maturity, blended appearance and international outlook to understand the difference. Never once faced a discriminatory issue in last 10 years in Europe.

Ofcourse, i did raise an official compliant with a full follow up action request, .

Having said, I sympathise with people who work on low paid manual jobs. It is hard work and frustrating to work in such stores but this cant be an excuse to treat a customer like this.

So what do you guys think ?
Welcome to Switzerland! - where the clerks are the kings and customer a huge pain in the ass!

Another huge oxymoron...Switzerland and customer service...does not exist.
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  #128  
Old 19.02.2011, 11:16
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Everyone is entitled to a bad day maybe it was his, maybe he was actually busy and referred you to someone else for a valid reason,
Yes...but here for clerks everyday is a bad day

"Actually busy" or not...if he is working on the shop floor he MUST provide professional service regardless of the customer is black, white, pink, english-speaking, chinese-speaking, short tall etc etc.

There are ABSOLUTELY no reason for a clerk to ignore or to be rude to a customer, if he can't handle the "pressure" of dealing with customer then maybe he is not in the correct position...which seems to be quite normal in Switzerland...
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  #129  
Old 19.02.2011, 11:23
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Salespeople at our local IKEA here have flags on their name badge, this way customers can easily spot somebody who can communicate with them in their language of choice. That's pretty helpful! Not sure if that's common in all IKEA shops, though.

Said so, I'm sorry you were unlucky, but try and put things into perspective: you were in a French-speaking place, so you were the one at fault because you could not communicate and you put no effort to at least greet them in the local language.

Remember a local who can speak a language you understand is a courtesy, not a requirement. Take into account these salespeople are only human and their main jobs is not even to be fluent in 3-4 different languages (bear in mind that they maybe have studied German and/or Italian to be able to communicate with their Swiss customers)... you can't really expect them to speak also English.

Also, learning English is often not a priority for French-speakers (in Suisse Romande but also in France), while in German-speaking Switzerland you will find more people who believe English is a good passepartout language (even for communicating with other Swiss).

I don't think they meant to be rude to you (maybe I am naive, but I usually assume good faith when things like this happen) I think they were just as frustrated as you at the linguistic barriers... for some reason the guy wasn't comfortable speaking English, yet he did, but you still weren't happy. Maybe he felt you were being a bit confrontational.

Or maybe he was really an asshole, who knows?

But whenever staying in a foreign place I do think it helps to spend a few minutes to learn at least the local greetings. It's a great way to make conversations start with the right foot.
Still not an excuse for the salesman to totally ignore the customer. And the salesman spoke perfectly english, if you are not comfortable speaking in another language then you could have communicated this to the customer and say that another salesman will assist, so please wait here, instead of reacting as he did...very simple...

he was just a typical swiss salesman...Lazy, depressed, rude, humorless, ignorant etc etc.
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  #130  
Old 19.02.2011, 17:37
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

To suggest that if you greet someone in the local language makes a difference is quite idealistic. I speak a reasonable level of French, but when I get lost for a technical French word in IKEA I get the same treatment.
The collection depot is the worst though. The guys there refuse to help anyone (Ladies, elderly etc) load goods into their car, and last time I was there I spent 30mins going from one car to the next helping others, as the IKEA staff should be.
Unfortunately IKEA is so well priced compared to other retail stores in Switzerland, I find myself going back!
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  #131  
Old 19.02.2011, 17:49
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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To suggest that if you greet someone in the local language makes a difference is quite idealistic.
I think it depends on the sales person. When I was working in a café, I would constantly have exchanges like this:

Me: Hello!
Customer: 2 coffees and a tea [please].
Me: *sigh*

I got so fed up of these initial encounters (which I'm sure the customer didn't think was rude, but that made me feel like I was just some sort of machine, that they didn't even see a person behind the counter), that I started having exchanges like this:

Me: Hello!
Customer: 2 coffees and a tea [please].
Me: Hello!
Customer: *confused expression*
Me: Hello!
Customer: Erm... hello... *looks at me like I'm a serial killer* Please may I have 2 coffees and a tea?
Me: Certainly.

Why on earth these people found it strange that I required a "hello" in return for my own I don't know. I just wanted to point out that, sometimes, the service you will receive depends on your initial impression. People in customer service get fed up with things that may seem trivial to the public, but that they have to put up with all the time.

Of course, some people are just grumpy sods.
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  #132  
Old 19.02.2011, 17:56
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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I think it depends on the sales person. When I was working in a café, I would constantly have exchanges like this:

Me: Hello!
Customer: 2 coffees and a tea [please].
Me: *sigh*

I got so fed up of these initial encounters (which I'm sure the customer didn't think was rude, but that made me feel like I was just some sort of machine, that they didn't even see a person behind the counter), that I started having exchanges like this:

Me: Hello!
Customer: 2 coffees and a tea [please].
Me: Hello!
Customer: *confused expression*
Me: Hello!
Customer: Erm... hello... *looks at me like I'm a serial killer* Please may I have 2 coffees and a tea?
Me: Certainly.

Why on earth these people found it strange that I required a "hello" in return for my own I don't know. I just wanted to point out that, sometimes, the service you will receive depends on your initial impression. People in customer service get fed up with things that may seem trivial to the public, but that they have to put up with all the time.

Of course, some people are just grumpy sods.
Nonetheless, this is very French behaviour.

I do tend to find it annoying when someone tries to "teach me manners" when I have said good morning, etc., already and they failed to notice. Otherwise, it is just good manners.
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  #133  
Old 19.02.2011, 18:12
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

Well it's a bit difficult to fail to notice when they're right in front of you on the other side of the counter...
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  #134  
Old 19.02.2011, 18:18
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Welcome to Switzerland! - where the clerks are the kings and customer a huge pain in the ass!

Another huge oxymoron...Switzerland and customer service...does not exist.
Something quite in principle. Wherever you are in the world, try to greet people in the local language and then continue in English or French. This is a very basic rule and works quite universally.

And of course, where does customer service "exist" ? To be mentioned are the USA, Italy, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey. But the U.K., France or Germany are definitely NOT among the league
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  #135  
Old 19.02.2011, 18:35
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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Still not an excuse for the salesman to totally ignore the customer. And the salesman spoke perfectly english, if you are not comfortable speaking in another language then you could have communicated this to the customer and say that another salesman will assist, so please wait here, instead of reacting as he did...very simple...

he was just a typical swiss salesman...Lazy, depressed, rude, humorless, ignorant etc etc.
Not an excuse but the reason. Add to this that sales personnel in the Romandie react rather aggressively to Swiss German speakers who do not at least try to speak French. So that the thing above was just a tiny bit of this problem.

It right today had nice service at the Tsarina in Seefeld by a nicely Swiss German speaking very nice Russian girl ! and at Coop across the road from a cashier of Iranian origin. And on Thursday evening at the Wollishofen Supermarkt near the Shamrock the tremendously nice service of that Moroccan girl from Meknes, often around in that place

And yesterday at one of the local Coops got served at the cashiers desk by one of the two "aging" and a bit grumpily looking but quite humourous and competent "cashier-ladies". Helpful and nice.

And also yesterday, at the local ZKB, by one of the best members of that superb small team they have there, who manages to give you the feeling that this ZKB station has just been built for YOU !

True, my personal technique has always been to give personnel anywhere the message that they were exactly the advisor I was looking forward to meet, and it almost always works YOUR positive attitude helps, but if you look like the definite complainer, they will retreat into their shell
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  #136  
Old 19.02.2011, 18:37
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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To suggest that if you greet someone in the local language makes a difference is quite idealistic. I speak a reasonable level of French, but when I get lost for a technical French word in IKEA I get the same treatment.
The collection depot is the worst though. The guys there refuse to help anyone (Ladies, elderly etc) load goods into their car, and last time I was there I spent 30mins going from one car to the next helping others, as the IKEA staff should be.
Unfortunately IKEA is so well priced compared to other retail stores in Switzerland, I find myself going back!
Well, low prices make Swedish service acceptable
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Old 19.02.2011, 20:44
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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The collection depot is the worst though. The guys there refuse to help anyone (Ladies, elderly etc) load goods into their car, and last time I was there I spent 30mins going from one car to the next helping others, as the IKEA staff should be.
That's very kind of you, but I don't think it's those employees' job to help loading customers' vehicles. If people plan to buy big items that they can't handle themselves they should take along someone who can or have them delivered. Or shop at a full service furniture store in the first place...
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Old 19.02.2011, 21:00
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

What ever the language, a smile goes a long way.

And I guess that I am lucky enough to have just great service here.

Lucky? Maybe not, I think it might be just because I smile a lot and excuse myself to have such a bad german (with a terrible accent) and everybody is cool with that and is happy to change in one of the language I propose.
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  #139  
Old 19.02.2011, 21:29
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

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To suggest that if you greet someone in the local language makes a difference is quite idealistic. I speak a reasonable level of French, but when I get lost for a technical French word in IKEA I get the same treatment.
The collection depot is the worst though. The guys there refuse to help anyone (Ladies, elderly etc) load goods into their car, and last time I was there I spent 30mins going from one car to the next helping others, as the IKEA staff should be.
Unfortunately IKEA is so well priced compared to other retail stores in Switzerland, I find myself going back!
Why should they help load goods into cars of customers ? The customers have those carts with which they can take their goods to their cars ! As soon as you have paid, the transport of the stuff is YOUR affair, and not at all the one of the staff. This is not the USA. There can be a difference if the customers park their cars right in front of your shop, as we have it, and we if necessary really help our customers out with taking heavy purchases out to the car. But in general, I have not seen this anywhere outside the USA
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  #140  
Old 19.02.2011, 21:34
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Re: Rude IKEA salesman

I never have problems with service in shops or restaurants, nothing I can't deal with by smiling, explaining or insisting. No big deal really.

Either I am a rude b*st*rd myself or you are all prima donna. I tend to think the first applies (ersteres ist der Fall). Am I mistaking?
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