Michel’s career began in 2007 working as a call center agent for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, a $100+ million dollar/year company based in Vancouver, Canada. It was on the phone lines that he discovered his passion for customer experience management and employee engagement. He saw firsthand how a great company culture can have an impact on the businesses’ success. During his time at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? he was promoted four times in just five years eventually working on the Operations Management team within the company.
He now leads Trogon, a customer experience and employee engagement strategic advisory agency. Trogon helps companies build the right systems and processes to increase customer loyalty, reduce employee turnover and build strong company cultures. Michel advises dozens of multi-million and billion dollar companies across industries ranging from hospitality, tech startups, real estate, banking, telecomm, biotech and many others.
Companies of all sizes and industries were understanding that they could benefit from improved relations with their customers and employees. With that in mind, Michel and his team created Experience Academy. The academy is an online course that allows Michel to serve his customers on a global level having already served companies from Canada, USA, Nigeria, France, Australia, Sweden, Columbia, Peru and many others . The goal is to help 1000 companies each year; Experience Academy makes it possible.
Michel’s keynote speaking services are represented by the National Speakers Bureau. He is invited to keynote conferences and events, where he shares his knowledge on customer experience, employee engagement and career development.
His thought leadership has been included in Time, Inc, Digiday.com, Yahoo Small Business Advisors and Yahoo Finance. Michel is also the host of The X Report – a Youtube show that discusses customer experience and employee engagement strategies.
- As an employee of a medium sized company (2007 – 2012) based in Vancouver, Michel was promoted 4 times in 5 years
- As a customer experience and employee engagement advisor, he has been hired and spoken to companies like Verizon Wireless, BlueCross BlueShield, Electronics Arts, Illumina, McDonalds, Lexus, Vega, Tangerine Bank, Dominos, Unilever and several others
- Michel’s online course, Experience Academy, has grown to become a worldwide educational platform with members from Canada, USA, Nigeria, France, Australia, Sweden, Spain, Colombia, Peru and many others
- His keynote speaking is represented by the National Speakers Burearu
- Michel has been included in publications like Time, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Yahoo Small Business Advisors and Yahoo Finance
EXPERTISE: CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE CONSULTANT | CUSTOMER SERVICE | EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT | CORPORATE & EMPLOYEE TRAINING | NET PROMOTER SCORE & VoC | COMPLAINT RESOLUTION & MANAGEMENT | SOCIAL MEDIA & ONLINE CUSTOMER SERVICE | COMPANY CULTURE | CAREER DEVELOPMENT | KEYNOTE SPEAKING
A PERSONAL ANECDOTE
I’m not an academic – I’ll be the first to admit that. However, I’ve always been interested in how businesses grow. Naturally, I enrolled in a university. I struggled for two years. I didn’t have a focus or an idea of what I wanted to specialize in. Was it sales, marketing, PR?
It wasn’t clear to me.
On a summer day in 2006, I was on the court playing basketball with a friend who had just got a gig with a company called 1-800-GOT-JUNK? It was a medium-sized business based in Vancouver that grew quickly from a $1000 investment and into a $150 million dollar international company.
I was intrigued.
They had grown into an entrepreneurial success story – and had recently won The Best Workplace in Canada award.
I hurried home and began to study the company. I was glued to the screen – learning as much as I could about what made it a success. I was confident that I could learn more from this company than from any lecture at my university. I was hooked – and wanted to understand what it really took to grow a business so quickly and with this sort of success. I sent off my resume and waited. Now, came the difficult part – breaking the news to my traditional South American parents. It was time to call it quits with school and work for a company that hauls junk. I knew I was too old to be spanked with a wooden spoon, but I got an earful for what felt like an eternity. The conversations weren’t easy – but my parents began to buy into my idea.
Now, I just needed to secure this job.
$10/hour Call Center Era
Growing up, kids don’t aspire to be a call center agent. No disrespect – it’s just not up there with athlete, pilot or heart surgeon. My game plan was simple – get hired and work my ass off. Learn, absorb and use my call center role as a springboard to launch my career.
I submitted my resume and received a call. They wanted to interview me – the game plan was in motion. It was the first time that I’ve ever been in a group interview with multiple candidates tackling the same questions. But I was uber competitive and out to crush my competition. I had to shine to secure the job and begin my career. Shortly after, I was contacted.
The job was mine.
At the call center, I learned how everything operates. But I also learned the value of company culture, workforce management, service level agreements, producing KPIs and much, much more. The greatest gift I was given was working alongside Patrick Louis. He’s the man who expedited my career – he questioned me, challenged me and shared abundant opportunities with me.
To all those working in a call center – I appreciate you. I understand what it’s like to speak to a 100 customers a day and be expected to deliver amazing service on every single call. It’s a grind – and it’s not easy. You’re the face (or voice) of the company. You speak to more customers each day than the CEO will in one year. I tip my hat and I salute you!
In my first year with 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, I discovered something called Customer Experience Management. This was another turning point in my career. I wanted to specialize in customer experience – but, first, I needed to study its value.
Finding my expertise
I read an article about an entrepreneur named Tony Hsieh and learned about his company – Zappos. They had grown from $1M to $1B in revenue in 10 years and he attributed its growth to company culture (something I was experiencing at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?). Customer experience was another factor affecting his success. I understood company culture, but what exactly did he mean when he said “customer experience”? I was eager to learn more about it and my boss planned a trip for me to visit their head office in Henderson, Nevada (this was before the formal Zappos tours). For the entire day, I had one-on-one meetings with their senior leadership team. I asked dozens of questions and got to sit in on calls in their call center.
My visit to Zappos reaffirmed my beliefs. A focus on customer experience and employee engagement could grow any company – and I wanted to become an expert. I turned the internet inside and out studying the subject. I wanted to bring new strategies into the company that I was working for.
My customer experience education
After discovering customer experience, I began to think long-term. One day, I wanted to be the one consulting businesses and delivering keynote speeches.
I also needed to be realistic.
I was in my early 20’s with only a small amount of experience and with no credibility. I recognized that I needed to gain experience and build that trust. I needed to become a practitioner.
Every day, I studied my craft. I read case studies about customer-centric companies for up to six hours – while still maintaining my job. I reached out to people who worked for customer-focused companies – Apple, Amazon, Zappos, Westjet and Southwest.
It was this self-imposed education that allowed me to reach my goal of becoming an advisor and keynote speaker.
After three years of working in the call center, I transitioned into an Operations Management position. It was here that I learned the systems that go into creating a customer-centric organization – Net Promoter Score, CSAT, complaint management systems and social customer care programs. We built training systems for frontline employees.
1-800-GOT-JUNK? was the best place to learn and understand customer experience. At the time, the company had a NPS score of 85. We reduced customer complaints by 33% in one quarter through a Complaint Resolution System and built customer-centric training material for frontline employees system wide. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? was my university. I value the time I spent there – it prepared me for what was to come next.
Entrepreneurship: Trogon, Experience Academy and keynote speaking
I took an unconventional path to entrepreneurship. First, I learned how systems are built so that I could increase the likelihood of my success. But, let me tell you, it wasn’t easy.
There were times when I doubted myself, but I remained true to my end goal – to help companies around the world improve their customer experience and increase their employee engagement.
Today, I’m the CEO of Trogon, an agency that works with leading and emerging brands to improve their customer experience and employee engagement. We provide strategic advisory, consulting and host workshops for companies and executives that want to increase their customer and employee-centricity.
My team and I built Experience Academy. It’s an online customer experience course that makes it affordable for all companies to create stronger relationships with their customers and employees. We are very proud of what we have built. It allows us to support companies around the world.
My speaking services are represented by the National Speakers Bureau and my informed opinions have been included in Time magazine, Inc magazine, Digiday.com, Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Small Business Advisors.
I’ve made a couple of investments with companies that I truly believe in. I’m by no means an angel investor, but I do like supporting entrepreneurs that are customer and employee-focused.
I strongly believe that all “about” pages on personal brand websites should have a page that lists failures.
Because it shows that you’re human. Too many people try to fluff their bios and put themselves on a pedestal.
Here are the times that I failed as an entrepreneur:
- I received the licensing rights to all of Canada to sell voice of a customer software for a company based in Europe. This relationship should have made me a lot of money. If only knew how to properly sell premium software. I ended up making zero dollars and secured no clients in three months.
- I thought that real estate agents should gather customer feedback from their clients. Along with two friends, I built software to make this happen. We called it Instamonials, but later found out that name was taken. Oops! So, we changed the name to Instareferral. This venture made me money – a few $1000 – but fell far short of the $10,000/month I had forecasted. Turns out, gathering regular customer feedback is not a high priority for real estate agents (even though some did love the idea). We abandoned the product and the company.
- Keynote speaking isn’t easy. Sometimes you knock it out of the park and sometimes you don’t. In one keynote speech, I received a 73% approval rate and in another I received a rating of 3.9/5.0. These scores fall too short of the expectations that I have for myself. It’s typical that my ratings are 90%+ approval but there have missteps that I’ve learned from.
- I’ve tried to write a book multiple times, but get distracted for good reason. Instead, I’ve focused on creating Experience Academy.
This might sound odd, but I welcome failure. I treat it like a guest at a dinner party, because I have the opportunity to learn from it. It shows me I’m trying to do great things – I just happened to fall a little short and that’s alright.
2020 and beyond
I love what I do! I wake up every day excited to help the people I’m working with – but I also can’t help but envision the future. Planning my next steps is what keeps me sharp, engaged and motivated. My intention is to build a career like Chip Conley’s – he is someone that I really respect – and own boutique hotels around the world and provide guests with an unparalleled experience. This is an industry that needs to have world-class customer experience and employee engagement to be successful. With the skills I have – it would be a natural fit.
Thanks for scrolling and learning more about me. If I can serve or support you, please reach out. I’d love to talk.
THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SUCCESS WEBINAR
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- Strategies I use to help leading and emerging companies build stronger relationships with their customers and employees
- Proven hiring, employee onboarding and customer-centric training strategies
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