I recently visited Boston’s new Ikea store with my two young children. A few days later, I flew to Italy on my usual carrier, Alitalia. The two experiences offered quite a lesson in the design of a customer
Ikea, the Swedish chain of retail stores for the home, is a worldwide success in customer loyalty and profits. Alitalia, the Italian national airline, seems perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy, with a shrinking base of often-dissatisfied customers.
All the while, Ikea provides a taste of Sweden to a receptive global audience, and here the contrast with Alitalia is dramatic. Far more tourists travel to Italy than to Sweden — 40 million last year alone. Yet Alitalia does little to leverage Italy’s positive “brand,” ignoring opportunities to offer a unique experience for its customers and to actually design itself out of its financial predicament.
Imagine if Alitalia thought about the customer’s total travel experience the way Ikea thinks about the customer’s total shopping experience? Here are some touch points that would be part of the total designed “Ikeatalia” experience.