IKEA: a customer service tragedy in 4 Acts

ikea-logoSince I have genuinely tried to sort this out with IKEA and am getting nowhere and it’s costing me time and money, I will put this out there in the hope that someone up in the arcanes of the company will realise what a mess their system is when the “Computer Says No”…. It may even give you a laugh on a dreary Monday morning.

I hereby introduce my IKEA saga: “A customer service tragedy in 4 acts.”

ACT 1: I tried to purchase an IKEA conference table from the IKEA show floor in Dublin, ref number xxxxx. It was out of stock. I was told to call and check its availability as they were due a delivery between November 18 and 24. I called back on the 18th and was informed they had 13 in stock. Read more of this post

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Swinging success for Bank of Ireland business event

A swinging success: Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny looks on during Bank of Ireland's Building Business Momentum conference.

A swinging success: Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny looks on during Bank of Ireland’s Building Business Momentum conference.

It’s expected of journalists to be cynical, especially about a business event involving two stages, organised by a bank, with a line-up including the top man in Ireland, the top man at Ireland’s top bank and a man who shook Nelson Mandela’s hand on numerous occasions and who is not Bono.

After all, the banking industry is one of the most maligned entities in Ireland, if not worldwide. So positively praising an event organised by one of those terrible banks and worse, actually admitting to taking something from it can feel a little like selling out.

Yet it was hard to fault the Bank of Ireland’s Building Business Momentum Conference this morning, which closed the bank’s National Enterprise Week initiative. It was of course over-seasoned with upbeat messages about the current business climate, shimmering with the promises of billions in available loan funds and layered with covert admonishments of the media’s penchant for doom and gloom. Read more of this post

First European appearance for InfoComm’s Labuskes

David Labuskes

David Labuskes

This article appeared on Day 2 of the Integrated Systems Europe daily publication. All four editions are available for download.

InfoComm’s new executive director and CEO David Labuskes made his first European appearance at ISE on his 4th week in the job. After outlining his background in technology and architectural engineering, he commented on feeling privileged to be speaking on behalf of InfoComm at ISE2013.

“I would never have imagined a year ago that I would feel the sense of obligation that I do to the industry. It’s been an extraordinary introduction.”

Reminding the audience of the broad remit of the industry association, which currently counts approximately 5000 members, he highlighted InfoComm’s certification programme and the 3 certifications it now supports.

“We have over 8500 people certified with a CTS certification around the world,” he said. “We also provide a million sq feet of exhibit space to the industry every year with over 120 000 attendees. The scale of our involvement is extraordinary, in my opinion.”

Labuskes announced a restructuring of InfoComm’s membership this year, replacing a previous 10 to 15 categories with two classifications. Benefits to members have been added, including free standards, free admission to trade shows and free online classes like CTS prep which became available in January.

InfoComm also published the audio-visual service provider’s checklist, with 162 items that can be used to define the quality of an AV installation and offer “exceptional experiences”.

What are the current trends in digital signage?

Digital signage by Techflow, www.techflow.eu

Digital signage by Techflow, on show at ISE

Hot off the press, this is an article I wrote for the Integrated Systems Europe show daily, Day 1 (January 29th 2013).

Digital signage is no longer a market for experts and insiders according to Oliver Schwede, senior analyst at Invidis. “The European market, including displays, integration, DOOH, advertising revenues, is now valued at between €1bn and €2bn.”

Mike Fisher, senior analyst at Futuresource, describes a split between the high-end, interactive digital signage market and simple plug-and-play systems. “In between there’s a range of solutions, but the top and bottom ends are really driving it.”

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Already worn, already loved

It’s 6pm on a balmy March Wednesday in Dublin. The heat wave is still bleeding a frantic workforce out of offices and into the sun.  But there are no half-days at Siopaella, a “recycling and restyling” clothes and accessories shop in Temple bar.

Owner Ella de Guzman, who gave her name to the shop, is chatting to customers, tapping on her MacBook, running up and down to the basement  and clearly still in the middle of a very busy retail day.

“We opened this new outlet last week,” says Ella when at last the frantic pace has slowed and the last customer has left the shop, taking with her an unsold coat. “I was always on the lookout for a second location for all the high end brands.”

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Commitment and dedication: how did the Irish buy concert tickets before the internet?

Radiohead

Radiohead

In the era of broadband and smartphones, it’s never been easier to access concert tickets from the comfort of a sitting room. The challenges are different and involve multiple browsers, multiple connections, interminable clicking and a bit of luck.

But has it taken the fun out of the whole experience of having to queue and ‘earn’ the right to a ticket and of proving unwavering dedication to a band by camping out?

Michelle Aherne from Dublin remembers how she joined the queues in front of HMV on Henry street in 2001 after a night on the town in the hope of getting tickets for the U2 concert in August that year.

“It was 3am when we started queueing behind people who had been there all night in sleeping bags and everything,” she said. “We weren’t prepared at all we just decided to end the night there in the hope of getting tickets. We waited all night, we were about half way down Henry Street in a queue that stretched right back to the GPO arcade.”

She remembers the utter disappointment of many people who were left without tickets when the sale opened in the morning.

“My brother was at home on the phone as well, we were physically in Henry street yet we never managed to get a ticket. There were 80,000 tickets and yet I don’t know anyone who got one for that first concert, where on earth did they all go?”

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Networking as gaeilge with Des Bishop on Abair Leat!

Comedian Des Bishop was in Dublin this morning to launch a new Irish-language social networking site called Abair Leat.  Abair Leat was created by Coláiste Lurgan, an Irish-language school in Connemara which Des Bishop attended as part of his show “in the name of the Fada.”

Hear Des and Principal of Coláiste Lurgan Mícheál Ó Foighil explain what’s behind the initiative

Read about the background to the project and about Irish-language social networking:

A new educational social network dedicated to the Irish language was launched today by Des Bishop to encourage Irish speakers of all levels to use the language. The site, called Abair Leat, will offer users interaction and access to language support tools such as translation, spellcheck and a specialised dictionary.

Abair Leat!

Abair Leat!

It’s the brainchild of Coláiste Lurgan, an Irish-language school in Connemara which embraced the web a few years ago by making materials available to its students in what it calls an online language lab.

Principal of Coláiste Lurgan Mícheál Ó Foighil explains that the distinguishing feature of Abair Leat is the language determination capability, which ensures that any content posted to the site contains over 70% of Irish native words. Content can be linked to Facebook, but not the other way around.

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