An interview with Jessica Mendonca, Director of Customer Experience
Jessica Mendonca plays a unique go-between role at Sentry.
“My sole purpose is advocating for the customers,” she said. “I am a team of one, but in the grand scheme of things, I work with all the business areas.” Lisa Scholz, Head of Industry Relations, also shared her view on Mendonca’s impact on the organization, “She’s changing how we look at the customer’s experience, pushing us to world-class service and showing us the path forward.”
Mendonca is Sentry’s first-ever director of customer experience. While her position is relatively new, customer experience has always been at the heart of Sentry’s focus. “Mendonca was the missing link,” shared Scholz, “She’s the embodiment of our commitment to understand our customers and their challenges, listen to them, be responsive and learn to anticipate their needs. Her role is an acknowledgment that our success ultimately hinges on our customers’ success.”
After joining Sentry a year ago, Mendonca’s strategic guidance and expertise are already showing results. One team accomplishment is Sentry’s top ranking in Black Book Market Research’s 2021 report on 340B management software and service vendors. Sentry placed first in seven of Black Book’s 18 Key Performance Indicators, including support and customer care; training; and brand image and marketing communications. Additionally, the entire organization has visibility into the voice of the customer and overall progress so they can see their actions turned into results.
Internal metrics have also improved. Rating scores received from customers have more than doubled and our results continue to reach world-class service. And at a recent empathy exercise designed to help employees better understand the needs and challenges of the patients who ultimately benefit from the 340B program, nearly half the organization turned out — a showing Mendonca called “huge,” and a clear sign that employees not only buy into the customer experience, they care too.
Ultimately, however, Mendonca is reluctant to take credit for the positive momentum.
“I am a team of one, but in the grand scheme of things, I work with all the business areas,” she said. “I would not be able to do this without every single person at Sentry.”
At Sentry, we gauge our customers’ sentiment primarily through five surveys — four of which are sent via email — that measure overall satisfaction, timeliness to respond to issues, knowledge of employees and other factors, using questions that are based on prior feedback from customers. We also glean valuable insight from evaluations sent to customers who attend our various training sessions.
Since joining Sentry last year, Mendonca has left her mark by leading our monthly customer experience meetings with leaders of each department, plus bi-monthly meetings with certain business areas that have high customer touchpoints. She’s also begun focusing on helping teams better close the loop with customers who increasingly may choose social media, forums or other digital, non-traditional channels to contact the company, voice frustrations or even offer compliments.
“I actually write hand-written thank-you notes,” she said. “If I find something where somebody had something complimentary happen, I whip out the old-school stationery and pen and write a note and drop it in the mail.”
One example of a change Mendonca has successfully encouraged was encouraged more streamlined service level expectations, which establish time limits to resolve a customer’s issue.
Previously, a customer call to the SentryOne Help Team generated three tickets — one each to research and diagnose the issue, make the fix, and perform associated data cleanup. Each ticket generated email correspondence with the customer, both when SentryOne opened and closed the ticket. So the teams altered some internal processes to incorporate customer feedback from other business areas, with a streamlined and more customer-friendly new process in place.
“It’s understanding that it’s not working in silos,” Mendonca said. “It’s that we’ve got all hands on deck and we’re working together to solve customer questions, concerns and just being there for support.”
“It’s managing the partnership with the customer and not having just that basic customer-vendor relationship.”
Cleaning the closet
Mendonca acknowledges that tackling the customer experience in any organization can be an awkward experience for all involved. She likens it to a closet filled with embarrassing items that gets cleaned regularly, and in front of your peers. As such, employees understandably start from a position of reluctance.
“It went from a little unsure to now, where employees are showing up to the workshops, which is huge,” she said. “I mean, they took an entire hour out of the day to understand the process that we’re working through, and how we can work together a little differently than we did in the past.”
“I’m just incredibly impressed with the team and I really can’t say enough about the entire organization. If I send someone a message, I get a near-immediate response, which is extraordinary. I think that employees are saying, ‘I hear you, we get it and we’re all in.’”
From one focused woman to another, whether it is Jessica Mendonca or Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” With her leading the charge, Sentry continues to change the 340B customer experience world.