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The Modern Customer Podcast

The Modern Customer Podcast is a show exploring the intersection of customer experience, digital transformation, and the future. We will also dive into related leadership topics. The show is hosted by Forbes contributor and customer experience futurist Blake Morgan and author of the new book The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles for Winning Tomorrow's Business. The show features guests that include practitioners, authors, influencers and other tastemakers.
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Now displaying: August, 2018
Aug 27, 2018

Some people say millennials don’t golf. That might be the case in the normal world of golf, but at Topgolf the stats show a different story. 51% of Topgolf customers are people who don’t play traditional golf. At Topgolf, customers visit for an experience away from other entertainment options they might have. According to Erik Anderson Topgolf Entertainment Group's Executive Chairman, they are competing with everyone including Netflix, bowling, music events or people who simply choose to sit at home on social media.

It used to be that golfing was reserved for older people with money. It meant spending the morning on the golf course doing 18 holes. Today, you can get the same golfing experience, but with music, lights, food and friends. Topgolf is changing how people golf and capturing the future of customer experience.

Creating Moments that Matter

Topgolf competes in the attention economy. It’s up against anything else that can capture people’s attention, and in order to stand out, the company aims to creates moments that matter.

Part of the reason for Topgolf’s success is that Erik Anderson and his team view the company as a creative company instead of a service company. It’s not just about serving customers their food or ball buckets—it’s about being creative to exceed their expectations. The goal is to create moments that matter, and employees at all levels are encouraged to be creative to do that.

Anderson tells the story of an 11-year-old girl who celebrated her birthday at Topgolf. She didn’t like the guacamole she ordered because there was too much stuff in it. Instead of just offering a refund, the chef came out to talk to the girl and made a simpler version of his recipe that she loved. The creative approach to solve the problem helped create a great experience for the girl and her family.

Customer Experience Defined

Anderson’s approach to customer experience at Topgolf has three parts:

1. Must be authentic. Topgolf is a modern take on golf, but it is still an authentic golfing experience that has been updated.
2. Creates community. The goal of Topgolf is to allow people to golf how they want to. Guests can play games, watch TV and have fun. The experience is aimed at creating community and allowing people to experience great moments together.
3. Use technology to extend the community. The experience is designed to be shareable, which is huge for younger customers who share everything. Customers are encouraged to stay in touch with the brand through social media even when they aren’t golfing.

A Culture of Trust

Those three elements work together to build a culture that celebrates creating moments that matter. Leaders trust employees to create a great experience. Employees have to learn to take on that trust and be responsible for customers.

Anderson likens it to a rowing team. Each person on the team must be precise and trust every other team member. If anyone takes a stroke off, the boat veers off course. Topgolf creates a culture where employees know their colleagues will do what they need to do. Employees trust each other and are allowed to be creative. Customers can tell the difference.

Topgolf’s approach to creating an authentic customer experience shows what things will be like in the future. Instead of focusing only on basic customer needs, brands should consider the entire experience. Be creative, think outside the box and trust your team to create great moments for customers.

Aug 7, 2018

Imagine having an expert mentor at your fingertips at all times. Someone who could answer questions, provide advice and move you in the right direction. For customer experience representatives at Allstate, that dream is a reality with Amelia, an AI-powered bot trained in the language of insurance. It’s just one way the company is using AI to power customer experience and lead the charge in a changing insurance industry.

As customer expectations have changed, Carla Zuniga, senior vice president at Allstate, has worked to modernize how the company interacts with customers. The goal is to make more out of everyday interactions with customers and to move more interactions to automated channels, including chatbots and AI-augmented human roles.

One of the major players in the AI game at Allstate is Amelia, a chatbot trained on more than 50 unique insurance topics and regulations across all 50 states. Allstate employees can quickly chat with Amelia to get concise answers about complicated insurance questions from customers. Not only does it allow customers to get the answers they need right away, but it allows employees to be ready to work much sooner by cutting down training time. Instead of having to sort through numerous articles and resources and make customers wait, representatives can now chat with Amelia while the customer is on the phone to get the most accurate information. In an industry where regulations and compliance are incredibly important, Amelia helps make sure every customer’s needs are met and are in compliance. Amelia provides the best of both worlds—the quickness and accuracy of AI mixed with the personal touch of human interaction.

Amelia handles more than 250,000 conversations each month and is used by more than 75% of Allstate call center employees. Allstate has plans to increase her workload and expand her scope to eventually interact directly with customers. Paired with other AI programs like automation and big data, Amelia has helped Allstate reduce its talk times and increase its first call resolution rates.

Zuniga believes AI will continue to grow and transform over the next five years as the technology becomes more robust. As Amelia and other AI services become more customer-facing, employees will be able to focus more on case management and the human aspects of customer experience.

No matter how the technology grows, personalization is still a key element of insurance companies. It can be easy for customers to just feel like a number when they get a new policy, file a claim or contact their insurance agent. To combat that, Allstate relies on data and creates detailed profiles of each customer. By leveraging this information and using AI to highlight trends and the most important data points, the company can help interactions feel more intimate.

As the digital transformation continues and AI changes how insurers interact with customers, innovating and staying ahead of the curve is incredibly important. Modern customers want to feel empowered and engaged, and the best insurance companies must innovate in order to stay relevant. A major part of that innovation must be centered around AI, just like what is being done at Allstate.

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