The Inner Workings of EMC…

Recently there have been numerous rumors flying around about EMC… shocking… there always is! The danger of any type of speculation (a theory or conjecture without firm evidence) is that it distracts you from the present… and as the 2014 Superbowl Champion Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson says… “There’s no time to sleep!”… Well, theres no time to be distracted either!

I have worked at EMC for six years and have been responsible for managing the global Customer Loyalty programs for one of our largest divisions. I have worked with dozens of high ranking executives and hundreds of managers, teams, and individuals. Do you want some insider information on EMC? Do you want to know the inner workings of EMC and what makes us tick? Well, it is really quite simple, it’s called TOTAL CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

EMC’s Total Customer Experience is a companywide program committed to consistently exceeding customer and partner expectations as they engage, enable, and evolve with us. I can personally attest that our employees are passionate about the customer experience and find ways every day to go above and beyond to ensure that we are investing in areas that matter most to our customers.

On Tuesday, October 7, 2014, our company will hold celebrations around the world in observance of what we are calling the Total Customer Experience Day, a special occasion to reinforce our commitment to providing customers and partners with the very best experience in our industry. The day will include 10+ onsite events at EMC offices in 7 countries, as well as a virtual celebration with an interactive online discussion.


  • Hear from customers on their end-to-end EMC experience
  • Learn about EMC’s holistic approach tomeasure and act on customer feedback
  • Hear from passionate employees and leaders about why they are committed to the customer experience
  • Tour the brand new Experience Analytics Showcase—an interactive demo that highlights diverse aspects of the customer experience and will be available to everyone on on October 7th!
  • Ask technical experts your questions during a live Q&A session

We hope you will join us!


The New Game Of Telephone!

It has never been more important than now to have a very well planned and executed Customer Loyalty Program. Customer Loyalty has always been important because we naturally want to share our stories and experiences with one another… it goes back to that fundamental desire for us to be known by others.

We have more and more ways to communicate and share our stories with others. It is no longer a select few people who have a voice beyond just their family and friends… now the whole world has access to our stories in many cases.

I am “relatively new” to the social media space over the last five years and I personally have:

  • 565 friends on Facebook
  • 600+ Connections on LinkedIn
  • 184 followers on Twitter
  • … and a couple of hundred subscribers on each of my two blogs

That is nearly 1800 “quantifiable” people who I have access to hear my stories about the good and bad experiences I am having with products, services, and companies… but anyone can read my tweets and read my blogs so it is actually much larger than that!

So, in a world that is more and more interconnected we never know who we are making loyal or disloyal. The lowly system administrator (so says the former technical geek) may also be a very successful social media guru and have over a million people they can reach with their stories. If you are not creating a place for EVERYONE to share broadly about why they are loyal or disloyal to your company…you are running a high risk of missing a vital opportunity to turn around those disloyal customers.

Loyalty study objectives should be:

  • Give every single customer a voice
  • Measure loyalty (statistical and anecdotal)
  • Find out what things to improve/change to increase customer loyalty (continuous improvement)
  • Leverage extremely loyal customers (references, etc)
  • Turn experiences around for disloyal customers

Customer Loyalty… It’s More Than Statistics!

I was recently having a conversation with some of my industry friends about Customer Loyalty and a growing trend of compromise we are seeing in the industry. Customer Loyalty Programs are still “fairly new” in the marketplace and therefore the adoption rates continue to increase rapidly, however the early adopter stage has long passed and now we are starting to see some compromises being introduced into some of these programs.

The trend we have been noticing and others have seen as well Is what I like to call “Statistical Sanitization”. This is where for various reasons programs start to be slanted in a way that the statistics tell the story that you want them to tell, rather than analyzing the statistics and then developing the story… the truth! When you start to segment, departmentalize, and distribute only the data you are most interested in… it can become borderline gaming the system.

Customer Loyalty Program are only holistic if they have the following characteristics:
1) The invitation to participate is 100% inclusive of your entire customer base
2) The survey is detailed and tells you what your customers REALLY think
3) It allows you enough deep dive information to drive continuous improvements in your business
4) It acts like an early warning system and allows you to identify brush fires before they become forest fires
5) It includes closed loop follow-up conversations directly with your customers
6) Although It is very important to be able to segment, departmentalize, and distribute the data… you need to start with the entire sample first.

A few goals I always have in Customer Loyalty Programs:
1) You need a single customer loyalty metric. (NPS, OSAT, Index, etc)
2) You need to understand how each product and functional area effects your Company Loyalty
a. You need actionable feedback/data that correlates to loyalty for each product you have and each functional areas of your business
3) The goal is to drive continuous improvement actions at all levels of your business
4) Continuous Improvements should be tracked and positively influence the Company Loyalty over time

You Say Survey… I Say Program!

I constantly hear people talk about launching their new “survey” and how they are convinced it is going to help their business be a huge success… but when I scratch the surface and ask them what they are going to do with the data… they often do not have a clear answer to that question… or they say present it to executives.

It is rare that I hear a lot about the actions being taken on the data collected from these survey’s and governance of those actions being followed through and held accountable. Increasing Customer Loyalty is not one team’s or one persons responsibility and building loyalty requires both Tactical and Strategic improvements… we must execute “Key Improvement Area’s” in our business in-order to have a “program” instead of a “survey. I have actually told people before “we are in danger of having this be just another survey, let’s make sure we have a program!”… to me one of the differences is making sure that you have a well defined Governance Structure that cover three main things:

Executive Strategy
Company-Wide Action
Full Organization Accountability

Here is an example of a Governance Structure:

So, if you want to make great PowerPoint’s… run a survey… if you want to make real changes and increase customer loyalty… run a program. You Say Survey… I Say Program!

Follow-up – Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa… sprints to the finish!

I recently posted a blog post about Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa where I explained how I was disappointed with my experience and their efforts to recover my loyalty… this follow-up blog is about how they “sprinted to the finish” to 100% recover my loyalty.

When I wrote the blog entry about Teton Mountain Lodge I decided I would forward it to their General Manager. I looked up his email address and forwarded it to him thinking I probably would not hear back. The next morning when I checked my email I was surprised to see a personal response from the General Manager and was even more surprised about what he said. Here is his email to me:

Dear Mr. Antonelli,

Thank you for sharing your blog. I can see clearly that we missed the boat in dealing with your complaint. While we pride ourselves on friendliness and care in dealing with complaints, in this case, that wasn’t quite enough. Sadly, coming close doesn’t help you when we don’t reach the finish line.

I am grateful that you took the opportunity to give us another chance with your survey and disappointed in ourselves that we let the second chance slip away as well. I am further grateful that you reached out to me directly with what I see as a third chance. I hope that by sending me the link to your blog, you presented not only with a ‘teachable moment’ (which we are using to full advantage) but also with a final opportunity to recover your future business and recommendation.

In light of both the initial complaint and our incomplete attempts as resolution, I would be pleased if you would accept my offer of a refund of two nights room and tax charges.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your feedback. As I wrote above, we pride ourselves on resolving problems, but when we think we know what will make a situation right, it is easy to forget to ask our customer what they think will make it right. Rest assured, even if it is too late to recover your business, we will use your encounter to learn and do better for our future customers.

Warm regards,
Tyler Barker
General Manager
Teton Mountain Lodge


… all I can say is WOW… this is exactly the type of response I was looking for and I responded to him with the below email:
Dear Mr. Barker,

Thank you for the quick reply to my email. I was pleasantly surprised to get a personal reply from you and appreciate you taking the time to do so. This type of response goes a long way and demonstrates that you and your team are very serious about building customer loyalty… something I do not take lightly!

I am very encouraged to hear that you view this as a “teachable moment’… this is a lost posture in the service industry today and further proves that you “get it”. I am also pleased to except your offer for a refund of two nights room and tax charges… this offer was above an beyond my expectations and negated any doubt I had about your company.

I talked this over with my wife and we both agree that you have indeed recovered our business for our next trip and are grateful that we have obviously found a company who is willing to make things right when things unexpectedly go awry. My entire bog is about taking potential loyalty failures and turning them into gold “fantastic failures” … you have done that and I can hardly wait to post an update about how amazingly you did it.

Much Appreciation,
Chris Antonelli


So there you have it… My entire Blog is about “Fantastic Failures”… it is about turning potentially damaging experiences into positive, loyalty building “golden” opportunities. I am now looking forward to my next stay at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa knowing they do not take customer loyalty lightly… and I have just a little bit more faith that there are still service professionals that take pride in the service they provide.

Nordstrom Service Failure becomes Loyalty Maker!

I recently endeavored on a 2 week business trip to Boston, Massachusetts. Growing up on the West Coast and working in high tech companies my whole life, I have very little formal wear in my wardrobe.  I actually only have 3 dress shirts, 3 ties, & 3 dress slacks for when I have to do “executive level” presentations, go to weddings, etc. Although I had never been to Boston, I did know that my minimal “business attire” would not be sufficient for a 2 week trip to the East Coast.  Thus began my search for some updated clothes.

Wanting to look sharp and have the clothes fit correctly, I bought some dress shirts and took them to Nordstrom in Tukwila, Washington to be tailored. I also took a new leather jacket to have the arm length tailored. When I walked into the men’s suit department, I was greeted by Jerry Stellick, who asked how he could help me. I explained that I bought these dress shirts elsewhere, but I would like to have the sleeves tailored for my arms. He said “no problem” and took me into the tailoring room and got a tailor to come pin my shirts.  Jerry was very professional, accommodating, and provided the perfect customer experience from start to finish. He even gave me his card with his cell phone number on it, in case I had any questions or issue.  The experience reinforced what I had heard many times about Nordstrom’s excellent customer service!

A few days later, I got a call from Nordstrom’s saying that my shirts and jacket were ready to be picked up.  Since she was already in the area, I asked my wife to pick them up for me.  She brought them home and hung them in our closet.  Since I did not have to pack for a few days for my trip, I did not bother to look at them.  The next afternoon I decided to put on one of my newly tailored long sleeve dress shirts for a meeting I was going to.  I put the shirt on and as the sleeve slid up my arm it just kept going all the way up to my elbow,  I asked my wife if there were pins holding back the sleeves and she said “No honey, that is the length of the sleeves”. I checked the other shirts and all of them had wrong lengths and to various degrees.  My leather jacket sleeves were also a bit too short and had a weird curve in the sleeve.  I started freaking out because I only had two days before I had to leave on my business trip.  I was having visions of wearing these shirts in Boston and assuring people “This is how we roll in Seattle”.

I called Jerry right away on his personal cell phone and got his voicemail.  So I called the Nordstrom store and talked with a gentleman that asked me to come in ASAP to see what could be done. On my way to the store, Jerry called me back and said he was not working that day, but he assured me that anyone in the department would be able to help me.

When I arrived at the store I was greeted by Marisa Johnson in the same professional manner that Jerry did the first time. I explained what happened and she was apologetic and asked if I could try on one of the shirts so she could see the problem. When I came out with the sleeves half way up my arm, she looked like she was going to pass out; her eyes got really big and she said “Wow I have never seen something like this before.  I am so sorry Mr. Antonelli.”  Her reaction was about the same with each shirt I showed her and with the leather jacket too. She said she had never seen this type of problem before, but they were committed to fixing the issues. I explained I had to leave for Boston in two days and needed to figure out what to do. She asked where I had bought the shirts and as I told her I thought, “Here we go with the typical ‘not our product, nothing we can do’ excuse” – but the exact opposite happened. Marisa asked for my receipts for the shirts and the tailoring fees.  She credited me the tailoring fees and found a shirt that was the same price as what I paid for mine.  Then, Marisa returned the new item three times in her system in order to credit that amount to my card as well. She asked if I could go down the street, repurchase my shirts, and bring them back to her.  In the meantime, she would make sure one of her senior tailors was available to assist us. I went and bought the shirts and brought them back to Nordstrom’s.  The tailor immediately fitted my shirts again and said he would get them to me the next day. She also took my leather jacket to ask the head seamstress what could be done to fix it also.

The next day I came back and was honestly holding my breath.  When I arrived, I was greeted by Jerry and Marisa as well as another lady, who I later found out was the head seamstress, Coco. They had me try on each of my shirts.  All of them fit perfectly and so did my Jacket which now looked great. Coco explained the jacket was not sewn correctly the first time and the shirts were not pinned correctly. She said she was able to go back to the tailor who helped me the first time and re-train them on how to properly measure, pin, and write the order so it would be done correctly for future customers.

All three of them apologized again for the failure.  They also commented on how patient and nice I was throughout the entire ordeal. I explained that I was only patient and kind because I was handled perfectly throughout the entire process by all of them and that they went above and beyond to make sure that I was satisfied. I also explained that I am not a very nice guy when I get terrible service and there have been many other customer experiences where I have talked to multiple levels of staff, managers, and even demanded at times to speak with executives until I find someone who cares enough about my bad experience to make it right! This was the most opposite experience to those bad experiences that I could imagine. Even after there was a devastating failure of workmanship at Nordstrom, Jerry, Marisa, and Coco were instrumental in recovering with flying colors and have converted me to a Nordstrom customer – for life!

This reinforced my long standing belief that even when our customers experience those “fantastic failures” with our products and services, that it can actually be turned around and end up creating customer loyalty… IF… it is handled correctly, every level of employee goes above and beyond the customers’ expectations, and we all care about the customer being satisfied. An old saying goes “Your heart will be where your treasure is”… well more companies should realize that the treasure is in our customer’s loyalty.

Chris Antonelli

There are three kinds of lies…

The phrase “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” was popularized in the United States by Mark Twain (among others), who attributed it to the 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli… I actually heard it from one of my lifetime buddies Ben Hamilton who is probably one of the biggest geeks I know :)

Regardless of who the original author was of this quote, it is 100% true! I run multiple Satisfaction and Loyalty/Relationship Surveys for my corporation and we are always looking for new ways to slice and dice the data in-order to get to the most meaningful and actionable data. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great practice for sure, but I do find myself searching sometimes for what the REAL answer is in all of the data… if there were just ONE lever I could pull in our business to increase our loyalty… what would it be? Yes we can do multiple regression analysis, trends charting, correlation analysis, etc… but what does it all mean as a bottom line?

The data is really good, but I find the most powerful and meaningful data we get from our surveys is in the comments analysis and categorizations, closed loop calls, & customer interviews. These interactions provide us the raw, uncensored words of one of our customers. If we read and/or listen to the comments… and then look at the scores… it makes the entire survey come alive with so much more foundation/context because it adds a “human connection” aspect that is otherwise sanitized by data.

Yes, let’s keep surveying our customers and looking at the data in great detail, but let’s make sure we “listen to our customers and make sure we are connected with their voice… after all… it is called “Voice of the Customer”!

Quote Source: (,_damned_lies,_and_statistics)