The List Is In: Top 11 CX Leaders Of 2023
The virtual confetti has settled. But, we’re still riding high on the energy from our recent LI Live event – announcing the winners of the 1st ever Back To The Customer (B2C) Awards.
These awards—named in honor of Jack Lorentzen, who loved CX and who advocated daily to bring the focus back to the customer—were created to recognize and celebrate extraordinary Customer Experience in DTC & eCommerce.
Which we firmly believe is something there needs to be a whole lot more of.
And, that’s what this post is all about. But, first – let’s lay a little more groundwork.
Setting The Stage
Which leads me to (here’s a fun bit) the prizes!
Aside from recognition (much needed), B2C trophies (ooh, pretty), and bragging rights (woot), we also had a whole lot of cash on the line for our winners: $3K+ for each 1st place winner, $1.5K for each 2nd place winner, and $500 for each 3rd place winner.
And, the competition was stiff! We received 135 incredible nominations for folks in 3 categories:
- Best Brand
- Frontline MVP
- Top CX Leader
Which made it a tricky job to judge. Lucky for us, we were joined on this journey by 6 Judges—all superstars in their own right—who share our passion for recognizing great CX:
Flip’s VP of Partnerships, Shawn Li hosted the winners announcement event. And, all those who attended brought some FIRE!
It was inspiring to watch the comments blow up with support for each nominee and winner throughout the event – the kind of experience that renews faith in people.
If you didn’t get a chance to attend, not to worry – you can find the full replay here.
Now, there’s simply too much B2C awesomeness to share in just one post, and you’re a busy person. SO, this is the 1st installment of our 3-part B2C 2023 blog series.
In this one, I’ll be diving deeper (right here, right now) into what exactly won our Top CX Leaders their B2C titles. I’ll also share more about some of our semi-finalist in this category + a few behind-the-scenes tidbits.
Without further ado, let’s dig into some details!
Top CX Leaders
The power of truly excellent leadership should never be underestimated. Maybe a no-brainer, but—seeing the extraordinary difference so many of our CX Leader nominees have made—it bears repeating.
Alexandria Collis, Senior Director of Operations at Princess Polly and Co-Founder of CX Accelerator Nate Brown did the honors of announcing this category’s winners, and the excitement was palpable.
As Alex said, “Customer Experience is the heart of an organization. We pump blood and deliver vital oxygen to the organs in the business, and help them thrive and grow stronger. And I truly believe that the best CX leaders are able to recognize that, and then help others in the organization recognize that as well.”
Nate whole-heartedly agreed, referring to great leaders as guides whose job it is to “understand what the customer’s ideal definition of success is, so we can bring them to the right destination.”
This year’s B2C winners embody all of that.
3rd Place Winner in the Category of Top CX Leader
This award went to Daniela Perez, Head of CX at KIN Apparel! As it’s impossible to wrap up contributions in a tidy box, I’ll be giving you just some top highlights for why the Judges chose Daniela.
- QUICK RESULTS – Fairly new to her role, Daniela completely transformed the customer service department into a customer experience department (an important clarification) in just 90 days.
- CROSS FUNCTIONAL FOCUS – When interviewing for her current position, Daniela stressed the need for cross functional support – something she delivered on within the first few weeks.
- SMART TECH CHOICES – Also within that short time, Daniela had KIN up and running with an entirely new platform (Gorgias), a brand new FAQ/Help Center, and automations.
- ONE-PERSON WONDER – She maintained an average CSAT score of 4.91 as a one-person team from June-August, despite inventory delays, a complete 3PL transition, and a pause on international shipments.
- KNOWLEDGE CURATOR – Daniela also jumped in and created a CX handbook, as well as a customer journey map – which earned her the unofficial title of “knowledge curator” from Nate Brown during the event.
- FUN FACT: Daniela’s nominator, Alyssa Ghilardi, submitted her for 2 categories: Top CX Leader and Frontline MVP. Because, as Alyssa said, “She truly does it all.”
2nd Place Winner in the Category of Top CX Leader
This honor goes to none other than TJ Stein, Head of CX at Everlane. Let’s lay out a few of the awesome contributions that won him the title.
- CULTURE – TJ’s emphasis on culture—his inside out approach—wowed our Judges. As Nate said, “You love and care for your people, and it’s just so evident in the culture that you’re creating.”
- SERVANT LEADER – Alex praised TJ’s service leadership advocacy – how he prioritizes the needs of others and fosters a collaborative approach to leadership.
- THOUGHT LEADERSHIP – TJ’s a true thought leader, which not only benefits the organization he’s a part of, but offers valuable insights to the industry as a whole. Just a few quick examples of how TJ’s contributed to the field of CX:
- Through articles & blog posts – like this one: How TJ Stein and the Media Temple Team Dominate Customer Service
- Via podcast appearances, like this one: SupportOps Podcast #6 – The Media Temple Way
- With conference talks, like this one: What You Should Know About Outsourcing
- BONUS: TJ’s no stranger to awards, but his humility and gratitude in interactions throughout B2C has been incredibly admirable.
1st Place Winner in the category of Top CX Leader
Our Top CX Leader—1st place in our 1st ever B2C Awards—went to Brian Kaufman, Head of CX at Bespoke Post. (Cue more confetti… cuz why the heck not?)
Not only does Brian win the title, the trophy, and the associated bragging rights (which we strongly encourage him to use!) – He also takes home $3K to be used as he chooses AND an additional $3K from our generous sponsors, to go toward a CX initiative or to a charity of his choice.
Let’s dive into some of why our Judges chose Brian as this year’s 1st place Top CX Leader.
- TRUE CUSTOMER CENTRICITY – Pair Brian’s customer centricity with both his innovative approach and effective use of technology to enhance CX and you’ve got impressive gains in, as Alex said, “customer satisfaction and operational synergy.”
- LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM – Nate praised Brian for how he advocated early on for the use of things like LMS tools to educate and align his team.
- RESULTS – Taylor Blakin, Director of Retention at Bespoke Post, points out that – when Brian first started there, “Performance metrics for the team were hard to come by. Now, not only do we closely track KPIs, Brian has guided our team to best-in-class metrics across the board, including for CSAT, QA, and response times which all saw drastic YoY improvements in 2022.”
- RECOGNITION – Brian’s efforts have helped Bespoke Post rank among Newsweek’s best customer service companies in America – 4 years running. He’s also contributed to their place as Finalists in the CCW Excellence Awards for the past 3 years, which includes Bespoke Post’s win as Best in Class Contact Center (1-99 Seats) in 2021.
- FOSTERING CURIOSITY – Ben Segal, who has known Brian a long time, points out that our champion has always aimed high, asked questions, and worked to find the very best pathway forward.
- INSIDE SCOOP: Aside from being a nominee, Brian himself nominated —and provided supplemental materials for—his teammate Char Wood (Frontline MVP category) and Bespoke Post itself (Best Brand category). He clearly cares, and is proactive in his desire to lift others up.
There were so many extraordinary nominees for Top CX Leader, and we are grateful for the contributions of each and every one!
Among our semi-finalists, some major stand-outs included:
- Angi Veek, Senior Director of Customer Experience at Dutch Bros. Coffee
- Anne Dyer, CX Manager at OLIPOP
- Samantha King, CX Team Lead at Feastables
- Jonathan Wells, National Director of Customer Experience at Rugiet Health
- Dan Brady, Director of Customer Success at AwesomeCX
- John McCahan, VP of Customer Care at FTD
- Caela Castillo, Director of CX at JAXXON
- Guang Xia, Customer Experience Manager (North America) at Lumen
Massive thanks to ALL of our nominees in this category, and another huge congratulations to B2C’s Top CX Leaders of 2023!
Feeling properly inspired? Keep an eye out for part 2 of our B2C blog series – where I’ll share all about the top contenders and ultimate winners in the category of Best Brand!