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Providing a more personalised omnichannel experience during each unique visit.

What new ways of data usage have proved to create a more personalised experience?

Machine learning is enabling the retail industry to deliver more value to the customers, more sophisticated algorithms are allowing programs to interpret new kinds of data (visual, auditory) and extrapolate emotions much more effectively than in the past.

At Ikea, we are using machine learning to deliver more value to our customers visiting our stores, to make each visit unique with a personalised omnichannel experience.

Is it possible for technologies to fully replace traditional customer services in the near future?

Digital technology has transformed consumer habits and expectations, allowing customers to get what they want almost exactly at the moment they need it. This means the interactions with the customers are changing: Sales teams are replacing cold calling with social selling, building a relationship by sharing relevant content and your expertise as part of a solution to their problem. Customer service teams are no longer restricted to waiting for the phone to ring as there is a wide range of channels to seek out support. Softwares like “Affectiva” are enabling a better recognition of the human emotions when customers are interacting with digital support channels. When looking at the FlyZoo hotel, it is clear that the question is not if we can replace but rather if the customers of the future will need customer services at all.

How do you think the future customer-centric brand would look?

In the future, I see more customer-centric brands that are customers obsessed but also leading in innovation, employee experience and sustainability. A growing number of companies are embracing the “Net Positive” business model as described by Paul Polman & Andrew Winston. These are courageous brands that thrive to give more than they take. It’s a new way of thinking about creating business value by creating no waste and building everything for full circularity.


Join Cristina at our 12th Annual Enhancing Customer Loyalty and Retention Summit, on 1st – 2nd June 2022 in Barcelona where she will present The Customer Support Transformation Journey at IKEA.

Cristina RUTGERS-ASTOLFI is a Global Head of Analytics at IKEA Customer Support. She drives and leads analytics globally to deliver transformational customer insights, enabling performance optimisation and continuous value creation for IKEA customers.

Cristina has previously worked at HP Inc where she held various leadership positions spanning across Customer Experience Analytics, Business & Strategy Development and R&D.

Cristina graduated in Economics at the University of Bologna (Italy) and has a postgraduate in Finance and Marketing.

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