Antonia J.A. Hock is a world-renowned expert in customer and employee experience, leadership, and building experience-based brands. Her unapologetic style and high-energy has benefitted companies like The Ritz-Carlton, Microsoft, HP and Siemens.
And when we say high-energy we mean it – in her free time she literally climbs mountains.
What one invention would make your work life easier?
I would love to have a machine to clone myself! That would definitely allow me to cover more ground every day!
If there were no holds barred, what change would you make to customer service?
I would like to see customer issues resolved immediately at the first contact. No escalations, approvals, or false scripted apologies. Every customer concern would be addressed in the moment. No waiting!
If AI is going to change the customer service industry monumentally, who do you think stands to benefit most, and why?
I think that customers and employees are going to benefit! AI will allow so many important, but transactional items to be completed quickly and fully! This will mean that employees won’t have to engage in these areas, and customers will have their needs met quickly and fully. Employees will be able to spend their time creating experiences for customers that require a human touch to be magical and memorable. This is fun for employees and meaningful for customers, so everyone wins!
What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when nurturing a team?
Everyone wants to be appreciated for their authenticity! Nurturing a great team means that you find opportunities to allow everyone to bring their authentic strengths and personality to the work that they do! This hasn’t always been a historic focus for leadership, but today, this is a critical skill to attract and retain talent while delivering exceptional results. Authentic experiences create stronger, happier teams!
What do you think is the most important lesson you’ve learned recently?
It is important to always keep nurturing your own creativity and doing things that turbocharge your ability to create. All of us have great ideas and insights, but it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. Make time to just think and let your mind wander through your ideas!
Which book, podcast, or newsletter are you enjoying right now?
I’m reading “Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete” by Steve House and Scott Johnson. As someone who aspires to climb big mountains, this book breaks down the work required to prepare your body and mind for big climbs. One of the incredible things about mountaineering is that the mental and physical discipline required to climb also translates into the rest of life—especially my approach to business.
Which living person do you most admire?
I am a huge Nimsdai fan. Nims holds a number of world records for mountaineering, and the spirit he brings to life is absolutely inspiring. He doesn’t see limits, excuses, or boundaries. He relentlessly prepares, and then he gives it his all, every time. I love that mentality! He inspires me to push harder, do more, and aim high!
What part of your day do you look forward to most?
I love the early morning! I start my day with at least two hours outside—preferably on a run through the desert, on the side of a mountain, or a long city run (if I am traveling). I then make time to create and work on the biggest ideas or concepts that I need to tackle. Nothing beats a great start to the day!
What’s your most memorable experience as a customer?
I travel to the Middle East for work, and during one trip to Abu Dhabi, I was expectedly upgraded into a First Class apartment on an airline that I was flying for the very first time! It was such a special experience—from the private chef to the accommodations to the special extras. As someone who loves to see customers have wow moments, this was such a special wow experience, and one that I will never forget! The team at this airline delivered in every way, and they created so many memories for me!
Who is your favorite cat?
I don’t have a favorite cat, but I do have a favorite cat breed! I am a Cornish Rex fan through and through. They are smart, odd, beautiful, and funny creatures that just bring joy everywhere they go. And we all need more of that, right?