My Customer Loyalty Roots

This blog entry is a tribute to my Dad, Skip Antonelli, who taught me the importance of caring for people and caring about Customer Loyalty.

I have been working my entire life with customers one way or another. I love working with customers because I have a passion for amazing customer service and how it builds customer loyalty. I get this passion from my Dad (Skip Antonelli) who lived and breathed customer service every day of his life while he managed and operated the family nursery (Antonelli Brothers Begonia Gardens) in Santa Cruz, CA.

My Dad was an amazing man full of love, passion, forgiveness, and a very quirky sense of humor! He worked most of his life, 7 days a week at the nursery… and although he really loved the Begonias and Fuchsias’ very much, I saw him get the biggest thrill/satisfaction when he talked directly to the customer’s one on one, or even when he did teaching seminars at the nursery. He loved to engage with people on many levels.

He would help customers troubleshoot diseased plants they didn’t even buy from him and help them troubleshoot their garden issues, he would surprise people and give them unexpected discounts when they bought multiple flowers, and when I was a youngster he would have me carry out plants to people’s cars for them… just to go above and beyond. I got to see my Dad in action for many years and the bottom line is… he cared! He cared about people, he cared about family, he cared about friends, and he cared about helping customers by providing them great customer service!

My Dad’s customer service focus taught me something very important in my life and it has been the foundation to my career for many years… Yes, the nursery sold amazing Begonias… but the success of the nursery was due to the exceptional customer service that my Dad provided every single day and that his employees understood this and strived to the same standards as well.

Many things changed when my Dad passed away in January 2003… and I continue to miss him dearly and think of him often. I hope to honor him in my life by continuing to care about people, care about relationships… and I hope to carry on his legacy of providing exceptional customer service and teaching others how to master this art as well.

In closing, I want to reiterate that Customer Service and Customer Loyalty are not gimmicks or after thoughts, they are foundational and can’t be faked…it has to come out of a reservoir of “loving one another” and caring enough to go above and beyond!

Chris Antonelli
FantasticFailures.com