AI Bot Billie

Implemented owned by IKEA
43d ago update
IKEA set out to provide more value to its customers and did so brilliantly by transforming their customer service reps into skilled interior design advisors, thanks to AI and a robust training program.

The Swedish furniture behemoth who used an AI-driven skills strategy to transform their call centre workforce into interior design advisors.

This initiative aimed to improve customer service while allowing an AI bot, aptly named Billie, to handle routine customer inquiries.

The challenge was twofold. On the one hand, IKEA wanted to offer more personalised services like interior design consultations.

On the other, they had to manage the ever-growing volume of routine customer inquiries. Enter Billie, the AI bot, and the idea to transform call centre employees into design advisors.

Ulrika Biesert, Ingka Group Global People and Culture Manager, made a commitment. “We’re committed to strengthening co-workers’ employability in Ingka through lifelong learning and development and reskilling,” she told Reuters.

This was the moment when IKEA decided not just to adapt but to evolve.

Step 1: Recognise the need for change

IKEA started by acknowledging the need for more personalised customer services and a more efficient way to handle routine inquiries.

Step 2: Leverage AI for routine tasks

Billie was introduced to manage routine customer service tasks, allowing human employees to focus on more complex, value-added services.

Step 3: Training and Upskilling

IKEA invested in a comprehensive training program to upskill their call centre employees, turning them into interior design advisors.

Step 4: Launch and Monitor

The new services were launched first in Europe, then expanded to the U.S. and the U.K., with close monitoring of performance metrics.

Since the initiative started in 2021:

  • 8,500 call center workers were transformed into interior design advisors.
  • Billie, the AI bot, effectively managed 47% of customer inquiries.
  • Sales through remote interior design consultations amounted to 1.3 billion euros (~$1.4 billion).

Attributes

Retail
Customer Service & Support
Better Customer Experience, More Efficient, New Business
Professional, Practioner
Creation, Language
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