Modern Retail Vanguard   //   August 16, 2023

Modern Retail Vanguard: Lesley Mottla, ButcherBox

The inaugural Modern Retail Vanguard list highlights the behind-the-scenes talent propelling the world’s top retail brands. To read more about who else we selected and why, click here.

Before joining meat subscription startup ButcherBox, Lesley Mottla began her career in hospitality, with aspirations to manage a hotel. But as she moved into the tech industry, Mottla realized she was fascinated by figuring out ways to use the digital world to improve physical experiences. 

“I found this really interesting intersection of… looking at like a full ecosystem of how you deliver something good to a customer?” Mottla said, who’s now the company’s chief product and experience officer. 

At ButcherBox, Mottla is responsible for figuring out how to deliver something good to the company’s roughly 425,000 subscribers. In an age where once-hot subscription startups like Birchbox and Blue Apron have gone bankrupt or faltered on the public markets, ButcherBox has managed to build a profitable, $600 million business. In her role, Mottla oversees the product management, customer service, and member teams, among other areas. 

Mottla joined ButcherBox full-time in 2021, after serving as an advisor to the company for two years. She also previously worked in customer experience for a mix of tech and consumer startups, like Zipcar, M. Gemi and The Farmer’s Dog. 

One of her first priorities at ButcherBox was to make sure that the company was “organized around the customer.” That meant creating customer personas, making sure every team had access to customer insights, and pushing teams to think how something as simple as a packaging switch could impact the customer experience. 

ButcherBox looks at a variety of qualitative and quantitative metrics to judge customer satisfaction, beyond just the traditional benchmarks for subscription startups like retention rates. 

For example, one of the metrics ButcherBox looks at is “was your first box successful?”

“We see that if you have a high rating of that first meal being successful, we’re much more likely to keep you as a customer,” Mottla said.

ButcherBox has tried to measure that by offering some first-time subscribers an incentive to keep a diary during the week in which they receive their first box. Through that, the company has found that Alaskan salmon, for example, is a trickier cut for first-time subscribers to cook. 

“We’re building out the customer experience for those early customers to kind of help them pick a cut that…. is going to have a higher likelihood of success,” Mottla said. “Or, if they want to cook the salmon, then we’re trying to provide them with recipes on the site.”

It’s these types of thought exercises that have kept Mottla to customer experience in various capacities throughout her career. “I enjoy seeing people enjoy something…or feel good about a decision that they made,” she said.