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 Ultimate Service!

Many years ago I was working as a Technical Support Manager handling high level customer escalations in-order to ensure customer loyalty was retained during “sticky” situations.

During these escalations I constantly had to to interact directly with Executive Teams within my company and our customers to help bring resolution to complex issues. To say that some of these interactions were intense would be an understatement. I am pretty calm under pressure, but during this time there were a few situations that really got me worked up. My boss at the time (Ron Hine) gave me some really good advice. He said “Chris, remember this isn’t brain surgery, no one is going to die over these situations”… it was a great reminder that yes, take my job seriously, but in the end put it in context too that someones life isn’t on the line.

Well, today I was thinking of Veterans Day and it got me reflecting about how we say “thank you for your service” to these men and women who have literally given up their rights and lives in-order to serve us… WOW! Yes, I love what I do for a living, love helping people, and am very passionate about customer loyalty… but there isn’t anything life threatening about it… the military personnel and families on the other hand literally DO put their lives on the line in the name of serving our country and therefore me.

So, I want to say THANK YOU for serving our country, thank you for serving ME in such a powerful way. Words cannot express my gratitude for you giving your life to provide The Ultimate Service for our country. God, Please bless America’s troops and their families!

Auto Zone… going above and beyond

Recently my car had a problem starting in the morning and I had a friend give me a jump start. The car stayed running so I figured it probably was the battery not excepting a charge anymore rather then it being an alternator… which is good because my cars alternators are not cheap 

I decided to find the closest auto parts store and have them test to ensure it was the battery. The closest auto parts store was O’Reilly Auto Parts and so I drove there and walked in to get some help. The store was pretty empty with a couple of customers here and there and all the employees seemed busy doing other things, when I asked from some help the person looked and sounded annoyed and said “what do you need??!” when I explained I wanted to have the battery tested because I was having issues … they responded “oh well, we can’t do that cause we won’t be able to start your car again.” They didn’t stop and ask any questions, they didn’t try to figure out a way to help, they just shut me down with a nasty attitude… so I decided to go down the street to “Auto Zone” and see if I had any better luck.

When I walked into Auto Zone there were a good number of customers in the store and the employees seemed to all be helping people. I stood in a short line to be helped and within 5 minutes got someone to help me. He asked how he could help and when I explained the situation he said no problem he would help test the battery and if we had to shut off the car he would get me restarted. We went out to my car. He put a tester on my car and he determined it was the battery, he removed the battery for me and saw it was a brand they carried, and looked in his system to see if I bought it from Auto Zone. He informed me that I did buy it from them and that it was still under warranty for another month, so he replaced the battery for no charge and then helped me put it back in as well.

He did such a good job I decided to ask for his manager to praise his efforts. When the manager came over she was very thankful for the positive feedback and informed me that the district managers number was on the front door if I wanted to let them know as well. I went outside and to my shock she was right… the District Supervisors and the Regional Vice Presidents numbers where right on the door with a sign that said, “We want to know how we are serving you” … so I decided to give the VP a try and within 24 hours got a call back from them too. I let them know about my experience and praised their efforts to stay in touch with the customer loyalty.

I must say that it was refreshing to have this experience at a retail store… needless to say, I will be going back to Auto Zone anytime I need something for my car because they are going above and beyond to service me as their customer and the management team obviously understand the importance of customer loyalty.

Chris Antonelli

Nordstrom Service Failure becomes Loyalty Maker! – FOLLOW-UP!

I decided I wanted to send my recent “Nordstrom Service Failure becomes Loyalty Maker!” blog to the General manager of the Nordstrom branch so they could pass on the praise to the employees that helped me, so I called and asked the switch operater for the GM’s name and email address… There was no histation and the person told me that Julie Schindler was the GM and then gave me her email address. I thought “WOW that was almost too easy” and figured I may or may not hear back from her once I emailed her because of the holiday season rush… but a few hours after I send Julie an email, I got the following response:

“Dear Chris,

I took the opportunity to read your blog and I have to admit that it was quite a roller coaster we took you on.  In the end, I am so pleased that we were able to take the initiative to correct our mistake in such a pleasant and efficient manner.  I do have to give you credit as your kindness and patience with us during this whole thing was honorable.

What a fantastic compliment to Jerry and Marisa that their service was, to you, a “Loyalty Maker”. It will be my absolute pleasure to share your blog with them both along with my personal thank you for a job well done.  I also had the treat of sharing your blog with my management team today.  I was a true testament of the empowerment we give our people to take care of their customers at all cost. 

I appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback and story. It provides me with the perfect opportunity to not only praise, but coach my team as well.”

What a great response and it really is refreshing to have people care about Customer Loyalty, especially in the retail world during Christmas time!

If you have any good or bad customer experiences this holiday season tell me on twitter and Hashtag them with #fantasticfailures or shoot me an email.

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