Use Social Media to Improve Customer Service

Ikea customer serviceI shared this story on an old blog that is soon to go the way of the dodo bird, so I though I should share it here so that all of you can learn from Ikea’s loss.


A friend posted on Facebook, “Stupid Ikea couch and chair covers: they shrink in the wash. Being washable was the whole reason we bought them in the first place!” This simple comment evoked several dozen comments back from friends and family about ideas on how to remedy the situation. The conversation continued and eventually we all learned, “The lady at the store was no help whatsoever.” This evoked a comment from one of the moms on Facebook, “Stupid Ikea.”


I don’t imagine that this is how you’d want your company to be discussed among 200+ highly engaged moms in your target market. Taking my mom hat off and donning my social media strategist cap, I responded to my friend that she should post on the Ikea Facebook wall. My friend thought this was a great idea and set out to post that very day. Here is her comment and Ikea’s response:


FRIEND: “I am not happy with my Ektorp slipcovers. They shrink even when I follow the washing directions!”


IKEA USA: “Thank you so much for letting us know of this issue. At IKEA, we guarantee replacement of missing or damaged pieces within 90 days of your purchase.
We would recommend that you go to our Customer Service/Returns Desk, with your original receipt and assembly instructions.
We hope this helps!”


FRIEND: “It has been more than 90 days.”


IKEA USA: no response




Hmmm. Good customer experience? I think not. There are two points I’d like to make here:

1. Let’s think about this logically for a moment. We are talking about slipcovers you put on a sofa or chair. Do you typically wash slipcovers within 90 days of purchase? My answer would be “no.”

2. Ikea makes a BIG deal of their “Love it or Exchange It” policy. It’s all over their store, website, everywhere! This sends a message to their customers that Ikea will take care of them if something is not right. This response is not consistent with the “Love it” policy.


Had I been advising Ikea in this situation, I would have recommended that they request to contact my friend offline. Give her a phone number to call or email address. Once they are in one-to-one contact, offer a discount, a gift card, something that would leave her saying, okay I didn’t get free slipcovers, but Ikea tried to make things right. Had Ikea done the right thing, it’s very likely that my friend would have posted on Facebook and told her 200+ mom friends that Ikea is okay again in her book. Instead, she had more negative comments and more people shared other negative stories and experiences for all to see.


Think of any guarantees, promises, claims or advertisements you offer. Are you inconsistent with anything you say to your customers vs. your actions? When things don’t go right do you leave your customers saying, “they tried to make things right” or “they don’t care about me”?


Be Sociable, Share!
About Karin Khuhro

Karin Khuhro is a Digital Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Copywriter. As the owner of Strategy E-ssentials she works with other savvy marketers, digital specialists and business leaders to bring knowledge, know-how and solutions to small and medium sized businesses. Connect with Karin on Google+ or Linkedin.