Inspiring New Approaches To Customer Satisfaction With A Data Lake

Mona Patel

Mona Patel

Senior Manager, Big Data Solutions Marketing at EMC
Mona Patel is a Senior Manager for Big Data Marketing at EMC Corporation. With over 15 years of working with data at The Department of Water and Power, Air Touch Communications, Oracle, and MicroStrategy, Mona decided to grow her career at EMC, a leader in Big Data.

EMC didn’t grow to be a $25 billion global technology leader without a keen focus on customer satisfaction. In fact, EMC has dedicated a program called Total Customer Experience (TCE) to drive continuous innovation in enhancing customer experience.  For example, one strategy has been for our customer service organization to conduct surveys on tens of thousands of service events each month.  But with only 1.2% of surveys returned, we knew we were missing some important feedback.


Enter Brad Barker, Consultant Customer Advocate for EMC’s Voice of the Customer program. Through valuable insights derived from a data lake, Brad developed the Customer Services Predictive Follow-up Program as a new way to identify and connect with potentially dissatisfied customers. To support this week’s global celebration of TCE, I had the opportunity to speak with Brad about the impact this new program is having on customer satisfaction

1.   What is the Customer Services Predictive Follow-up Program?

Simply put, the Customer Services Predictive Follow-up Program predicts customer dissatisfaction. It uses our survey data, which tells us where we performed well and where we didn’t, and applies that knowledge against the attributes of each service event we handle. Then, using a predictive model built from our data lake, we can determine the likelihood of a particular service event resulting in dissatisfaction.

The customer follow-up also is important. If the model predicts customer dissatisfaction from a service event, we require the responsible manager to call the customer and attempt to resolve the issues.

2.  What business drivers led to creating the Customer Services Predictive Follow-up Program?

There’s an industry standard measure of customer loyalty called the Net Promoter Score—NPS. In the last four years, EMC tripled our NPS score, from 13 to 39, which puts us in the leader category. Every VP in our company is measured against EMC’s NPS score. Since nothing can drag down that score faster than poor customer satisfaction, that was a major driver for this program.

3.  What insights were discovered and how are they delivered to service managers?

We analyze about 86 different data elements, drawing on 15 years of survey results and vast metrics collected on service calls. We apply about 500 business rules in our analysis, which accurately predicts when dissatisfaction may occur during the service delivery process. For example, we know that if a time to resolution exceeds three or four days, customer satisfaction drops significantly.

We created a system that automatically triggers notification to the service manager when specified thresholds are reached. This allows the service manager proactively contact the customer to try and prevent or minimize any dissatisfaction.

4.  What has the response been from service managers?

Service managers are telling us this is a valuable program. About 81% of participating service managers say their customers appreciate the follow-up call. In addition, 76% feel the program helps increase customer satisfaction. So we’re very pleased with the response.

5.  What business results have you seen from this program?

There are several ways we measure success. One is increase in survey participation, and for EMC organizations participating in the program, customers returning the surveys rose 14.2%.

The second measure is change in the number of responses to the survey. We now get an increase of 12.3% responses from participating versus nonparticipating EMC organizations.

Our overall customer satisfaction, or CSAT, score is about 1% higher, but you have to consider that EMC achieves extraordinarily high CSAT levels already.

The last thing is satisfaction with EMC customer services, which is part of our loyalty program. That increased 14% since starting the Customer Services Predictive Follow-up Program, reaching an all-time high in third quarter 2015.

6.   How important is having the right technology, people, and processes?

There’s no question we would not have been successful without using a data lake that merges together all the data we collect from our call management system and surveys. Our data lake centered around Pivotal Big Data Suite is critical for that.

You have to have the right people and skills. Knowledge of customer service processes is essential, along with statistical analysis skills. We partnered with an outside consultant to develop our predictive model using Hadoop and tools like the R programming language.

Process also is key. When the predictive model identifies events that may cause customer dissatisfaction, it feeds another program that alerts the service managers and generates reports that initiate corrective action. Then after the service manager calls the customer, they record their findings in the system so we can do continuous business practice improvement based on those results.

7.  What would you say to other companies about improving customer satisfaction?

Programs like ours are where companies have to go. They need a way to predict how customers feel about the company. There’s a lot going on in the industry about personalized products and services. You can’t do that without understanding what makes your customers happy and what causes dissatisfaction.

Hadoop Summit 2015 Reflections

Chris Harrold

Chris Harrold

CTO Big Data Solutions at EMC
Chris is responsible for the development of large-scale analytics solutions for EMC customers around emerging analytics platform technologies. Currently, he is focused on EMC Business Data Lake Solutions and delivering this solution to key EMC customer accounts.


Before the ink has even really dried on HS15 in San Jose I am sitting down in a rare moment of peace to write out some reflections from my experience and what I have seen from the sessions, keynotes, partners, and users here at the show.

Hadoop Gets Real

The most lasting impression I got from the overall theme of the show and the people in attendance was that Hadoop is not an “emerging tool” anymore. The momentum, use cases, and indeed the buzz of attendees was that there is massive adoption and momentum built up in the marketplace. Behind this wave of early adoption is a lot of pent-up demand that is waiting for things to stabilize and become more enterprise ready. Once the tooling around the Hadoop ecosystem is more robust, and the platforms that it runs on are more operational, there is no limit to the demand that this ecosystem can produce.

In counterpoint to this fact, there is another countercurrent of theme that Hadoop is not “all things to all people”, and so there is a lot of discussion around the emergence of the logical successor to Hadoop as the analytics tool of record. Certainly the buzz around Spark is indicative that this is the way of the future and ties into the second theme of the show that I observed in numerous conversations and sessions.

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Is It All About The Data Scientist?

Mona Patel

Mona Patel

Senior Manager, Big Data Solutions Marketing at EMC
Mona Patel is a Senior Manager for Big Data Marketing at EMC Corporation. With over 15 years of working with data at The Department of Water and Power, Air Touch Communications, Oracle, and MicroStrategy, Mona decided to grow her career at EMC, a leader in Big Data.

The answer is no. It is a holistic, team effort that involves expanding the mind and skill set of executives, business users, IT implementers, data scientists, and application developers to all work collectively to define a strategy and derive newer insight from big data.

And that is why EMC is so heavily focused on breaking down organizational silos and training professionals to become data scientists or at least think like data scientists, transforming these individuals into data savvy professionals working towards the same goal – competitive advantage.

I spoke to Louis Frolio, Advisory Technical Ed Consultant for EMC Big Data Solutions, how as part of a team in EMC Education Services is creating a massive professional transformation through a MOOC – Massive Open Online Course. Data Lakes for Big Data MOOC gives you an opportunity to become a data savvy professional and take on a big data or data science role in your organization at absolutely no cost.

The course kicked off May 11, but you still have plenty of time to enroll and complete the course to earn a certificate before June 8. The top 500 students (based on cumulative grade for the MOOC) will receive an electronic copy of the Data Science book just released by EMC Education Services.

1.  What is a MOOC and what is the goal of this education format? Why was it used for this course?

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Destination Data Lake: Accelerating the Big Data Journey

Mona Patel

Mona Patel

Senior Manager, Big Data Solutions Marketing at EMC
Mona Patel is a Senior Manager for Big Data Marketing at EMC Corporation. With over 15 years of working with data at The Department of Water and Power, Air Touch Communications, Oracle, and MicroStrategy, Mona decided to grow her career at EMC, a leader in Big Data.

Most people understand that big data and analytics can have a positive impact on their business. What trips them up is how to make that happen. EMC’s answer to that complex challenge is the EMC Business Data Lake, the industry’s first fully engineered, enterprise-grade data lake that’s redefining big data.  For details, check out the virtual launch event.


I spoke with Aidan O’Brien, Senior Director of EMC’s Strategic Big Data Initiative, and asked him why he’s excited about EMC Business Data Lake and why it sets precedence in the world of big data analytics.

1.  What are extraordinary outcomes companies may achieve with big data analytics?

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