Friday, October 13, 2006

Making a good impression

In case you dont know, I'm BIG into making a good impression. In particular the first impression. It is from this perspective that I share this experience.
We have recently finished expanding our facility. As a part of this project I am moving to a new office. I had hoped to be able to buy some new office furniture but my budget at the church nor my personal one would allow that at this time. No big deal really, I've never had new office funiture, ever. Its always been used. It just so happened that one of my friends at church wanted to do something nice for me and knew I was moving to the new office and got me a wonderful gift of a gift card from IKEA, you know the swedish funiture people. I was so excited! Actually getting new funiture for my new office, awesome!
I look up the nearest IKEA store and make plans to go. The nearest one was still about an hour away on the other side of DC. No problem, I decide, I like driving around DC. (sarcasm, please). Honestly, given the quality of the gift I really didn't mind the drive. I spent a few minutes looking online to see what might interest me and then off I go.
Upon my arrival I notice the store is reasonably busy but only about half of the parking lot was full so I figure it wont be a difficult purchase. I spent a good bit of time looking at and sitting behind several different desks and decide which would work best for me. The saleswoman was friendly and helpful and things were looking good. As I talked with her, I began to wonder about getting this large item in my little car. It comes in several pieces but still the desktop is one large piece. I discuss the matter with the saleswoman and express my concerns. She tells me I can get basically the same desk without the nice corner design in a standard straight desk and I decide that it would be better in terms of getting it in my vehicle. She places the order and off I go to find the cashiers and pay for it all.
I was confronted with the maze of the store to get back to the front where the stairs are located, since the showroom for funiture was upstairs. After going down the steps I don't see a way to get to the registers easily. I soon discover I must walk all the way to the back of the store again to get thru to the other side of the wall and then walk all the way back to the front to get to the registers. Herein begins some frustration on my part and a major ding on the bell of poor customer service. I understand they want you to walk thru the store in hopes of you purchasing something else, but I want to get to what I want and get out quickly. Think Walmart here.
After making my purchase, I'm told I need to make my way to the furniture pickup area where they will call my number when it is brought out. There is a convenient loading area near the doors so I take the few items I have in hand and take them out to my car and move up to the doors hoping by that time they will have gotten my furniture ready for pickup. I inquire at the counter about my order and am told it will be about 30-40 minutes before its ready. WHAT?!? Wow, well not much I can do I guess. Its about this time that I notice a sign nearby stating they have a delievery service. GREAT, I think, but I sure wish the saleswoman would have mentioned that earlier given my angst over getting the larger desk in my car! /sigh. At this point I'm ready to just pay a few dollars and have all the stuff delievered. I grab the form to fill out with all the information about where I want it taken and notice a tiny sign stating that I must have the funiture I wish to be delievered with me before I can proceed. Now I'm thinking, "You must be kidding!" I have to sit and wait, then wait again while you take my money again for it to be brought to me? I just have to shake my head and wonder what person thought this was a great way to serve their customers.
Eventually I get my furniture, manage to get it all in my car and get home. I am very pleased with my new office, and am eternally thankful to the kindness of friends for the gift, but I am doubtful as to ever darkening the door of an IKEA store again.

If you want to learn how you and your church can make great impressions on people, read First Impressions by Mark Waltz. It will be an eye opening experience for you.


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