The Perfect Customer Experience

Turning Satisfied Customers into Advocates – Dale Wolf, Editor

The Perfect Customer Experience - Turning Satisfied Customers into Advocates – Dale Wolf, Editor

Name: Louis

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Bio: Louis Columbus has over 20 years in the IT industry, specializing in product management, sales and marketing. Immediately before joining Cincom, Mr. Columbus was a Senior Analyst at AMR Research. He earned his MBA from Pepperdine University and completed the Strategic Marketing Management Program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He has published 16 books on operating systems, peripherals and integration technologies.

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    Steps To Creating Your Own Marketing Manifesto

    March 5th, 2012

    There are signs of life in the economy.

    Bright glimmers of hope are starting to radiate from what had been some ominous, dark clouds of an economy that looked to be in retreat. Jobs continue to be created, industrial production is nearly back to its pre-recession levels, blue-chip stocks have re-couped their losses, and consumer confidence is finally climbing. These are the glimmers of hope that show an economy on the ... Read More

    1 Comment "

    Predicting 2012: The Year Quality of Customer Experience Becomes King

    December 5th, 2011

    The next twelve months will see a greater focus than ever before on the quality of customer experience permeating strategies, systems, applications and initiatives.

    An efficiency and transaction mindset is driving many industries including airlines into a churn-based business model that is tough to escape from.

    In 2012 many businesses will need to step up their efforts to make better use of internal systems ... Read More

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    If You Want More Influence, Find More Passion

    June 29th, 2011

    Measuring online influence using Klout, PeerIndex, and analytics from many other firms competing in the emerging influence management market is growing fast and getting the attention of large investors.  Klout raised $8.5M in January, 2011 in a funding round led by two prestigious venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer (KPCB) sFund™ and Greycroft Partners. From a marketing, selling, and service standpoint the value of influence scores is being debated daily on Quora and ... Read More

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    Are You Failing in Social Media?

    May 27th, 2011

    Nearly every marketing manager, director or VP who is attending my MBA class in International Marketing tells me that increasingly larger percentages of their budgets go to digital over traditional marketing. The primary driver is social media and the urgency to stay on top of what is going on with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the relentless need for content to fuel their corporate blogs. The students in my class are divided on the value of corporate blogs however; some see it as critical for defining thought leadership and others use them purely for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While they are split on this issue, the class is unanimous that the era of digital marketing driven by social media is here and moving very fast.

    What does Success Look Like in Social ... Read More

    2 Comments "

    Ten Ideas for Increasing Performance of Your Social Media Strategy

    March 23rd, 2011

    Nearly every marketing manager, director or VP who is attending my MBA class in International Marketing tells me that increasingly larger percentages of their budgets go to digital over traditional marketing.  The primary driver is social media and the urgency to stay on top of what is going on with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the relentless need for content to fuel their corporate blogs.

    The students in my class are divided on the value of corporate blogs however; some see it as critical for defining thought leadership and others use them purely for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  While they are split on this issue, the class is unanimous that the era of digital marketing driven by social media is here and moving very fast.

    What does Success Look Like in ... Read More

    No Comments "

    Nine Strategies to Tie Your Social Media Efforts to Sales and Customer Service

    February 3rd, 2011

    By Louis Columbus

    Social media is enough to make any Marketing VP think they’ve found the Promised Land. Online global communities with easy access, no cost to participate and literally millions of people and companies joining every month, driving traffic estimates to the stratosphere. Social networks and their blistering growth is ... Read More

    2 Comments "

    Great Customer Management Lessons from Our Moms

    May 9th, 2010

    Moms have a knack for making learning so fun and real that their lessons just stick with you.  They teach through brilliant, hands-on examples.  Moms have the advantage of using life as their textbook, what happens to you as the lesson plan, and their absolute, unwavering loyalty as the foundation for growing.  Moms know what makes relationships tick, how to get you out of trouble, and best of all, the gentle art of diplomacy with Dads and other parents when things go awry.

    It’s often said that those who excel in life are lucky enough to find the intersection of their passions and their expertise.  I’d say Moms are at that intersection; they give it their all, everyday.  And in giving so much of themselves they deliver some great lessons which so applicable to customer ... Read More

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    Why A Company’s Loudest Critics Could Be Their Best Innovators

    April 20th, 2010

    The knee-jerk reaction of many company execs is to silence the loudest critics their companies have.  From the diplomatic to demanding, the approaches vary but the message often delivered to critics is the same: be gentle in your criticisms and generous in your praise – or go away.  Even in 2010 when blogs get much more traffic that newspaper websites, more time is spent on the Internet than watching television, and Facebook and Twitter both have more users than some nations have populations, companies are still ignoring their customers’ voices just because they are not positive.  What an opportunity to connect with customers and learn to improve.

    Critics Can Be A Great Catalyst For Growth

    The natural inclination of any one in marketing, product ... Read More

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    How Early Adopters Help To Define New Software Applications

    April 19th, 2010

    There are an outstanding series of videos  sponsored by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.  One in particular is outstanding in the area of early adopter’s contributions to a start-up trying to sell software over the Internet. It features Eric Ries, co-founder and CTO of IMVU, best-selling author and board member for several companies.

    In this segment he discusses how early adopters can often deliver excellent insights and help more effectively tailor a new application to specific market needs.   It’s well worth the time spent watching.  If you have time his entire talk given at Stanford in 2009 is worth checking out.

      ... Read More

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    Getting Results From Your Social Networking Strategies

    April 17th, 2010

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems

    Socialnetworks We’re all getting reminded every day to take ownership of our digital brands and jump on social networks. For companies the pressure they put on themselves is enormous.  So strong in fact that I’ve heard of CEOs monitoring follower counts on their corporate Twitter ... Read More

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    What Customer-Driven Manufacturing Looks Like Up Close

    April 16th, 2010

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems
    Walking through the doors of the Siemens Energy and Automation Plant in Norwood, Ohio you immediately get a sense of the legacy this manufacturing plant has and the intense, even obsessive focus on customers driving it into the future.  This plant has been in continuous operation for over 100 years at this location and is the leading producer of electric motors in North America.  There are plaques just outside the front door older than anyone reading this, and inside there is this obsessive focus on excelling at each engine manufacturing task to delight customers.

    What amazed me about my visits there was how obsessed the culture of this manufacturing plant is with their ... Read More

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    How Social Networks Are Re-Writing The Rules of Sales Collateral

    February 25th, 2010

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems

    Trustisking Social networks are re-writing the rules of what best practices in marketing are. Brands are laid bare in front of millions daily. It doesn’t take long for just one customer to make a major statement about how they feel about a brand and make a major impact on ... Read More

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    Rolodexes Are Social Networking Roadkill

    February 15th, 2010

    Louis Columbus

     Sales people live and die by the relationships they make, not by their histories of contacts. 

    Rolodex Like archeological finds, rolodexes preserve the past.  Some can tell you the entire career of technology buyers over twenty years.  Rolodexes are a fine research instrument but a selling tool inching towards ... Read More

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    The Growing Social Network Credibility Gap

    August 8th, 2009

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems

    Much praise has been heaped on social networks for their ability to streamline customer connections, making it possible to hear the voice of customers much clearer, and serve as a means for everyone from CIOs and CEOs to interns to better listen to customers.  I agree, social networks in general and Twitter specifically have opened up the floodgates of customer centricity and hopefully it will change company’s cultures for the better, fast.

    In the midst of all this euphoria however, I think it’s important ask the harder questions.

    Is all this great inbound customer data actually changing mindsets and philosophies? 

    Is it changing ... Read More

    No Comments "

    Trust.Twitter.com

    July 20th, 2009

     Louis Columbus

    Nearly every software company, from start-ups whipping out business plans looking for any money they can get their hands on to keep their doors open, to enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) companies looking to ride the social networking wave into new sales of their existing applications (for the most part) Twitter has become king of the hype cycle.  One estimate puts the media coverage attributed to Twitter at $48M for a month.   

    Let’s just stop a second and ask a really fundamental question.  Can you ... Read More

    3 Comments "

    Your Passion Is Showing

    July 12th, 2009

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems

     One
    of my best students, a manager of one of the largest Home Depot stores
    in Southern California, just finished off his MBA thesis.  His research
    centered on how Home Depot could become more customer-centric by
    trimming back IT systems and processes to free up more time for
    associates to focus on customers.  In his thesis he shows how cutting
    out entire layers of management could make the entire company more
    efficient and customer-driven.  Clearly this student has a passion
    about making his store entirely focused on the customer experience.

    ... Read More

    1 Comment "

    Seeing the True Nature of American Freedom

    July 4th, 2009

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems

    The 4th of July's many festivities from parades, to fireworks displays, from entire blocks getting together to decorate in red, white and blue to even one story I heard of a daughters' friend painting the family beagle red, white and blue while he slept on the back porch this afternoon all make this such a genuine American experience.

    Over the last several years I've taught more students in international business and strategy courses than any other time.  Like anyone, they love a good party that is nationwide, and the 4th is a reason from them to celebrate their freedoms here in America too. 

    I am Learning From My Students What The Reality of Freedom Is

    It is quite moving to be ... Read More

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    Growing High Performance Teams with Dashboards

    March 29th, 2009

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems

    The greater the uncertainty about the future, the greater the intensity to quantify it.

    As this economic crisis shows, a strict reliance on numbers alone is
    short-sighted, and completely misses the point of what key performance
    indicators (KPIs), metrics and ratios were originally created for to
    begin with.

    Measuring interprocess efficiency, collaboration, and giving teams
    the opportunity to own their performance and shared results matters
    most. Infusing ownership of results is far more important than the
    flood of figures that many dashboards have.

    Why Searching for ROI Is Relative

    Return on Investment ... Read More

    2 Comments "

    Social Networking Has Nailed Customer Satisfaction, Next Stop: Loyalty

    March 3rd, 2009

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems

    You have to admire the social networking evangelists in industries that have high maintenance customer bases, but dove headfirst into the social networking pool anyway.  That took courage.  And many of them are turning it into a success.  They are redefining how service is done. Challenging their competitors to keep up that are NOT involved in social networking is turning their customer satisfaction into a competitive strength.  You have to specifically admire Comcast, a cable company, for biting the bullet and getting on Twitter, and the airlines who go after customer satisfaction in real time through social networking.

    These companies are nailing customer satisfaction ... Read More

    4 Comments "

    Given A Choice Of A Bail-Out or Knock-Out, Let’s Help Our Customers Deliver The Latter

    February 24th, 2009

    Louis Columbus
    Cincom Systems

    Just watching the companies fighting their way through the challenges of this economic downturn one can appreciate what it means to go after intelligence aggressively.  There is a small healthcare products manufacturing company in Los Angeles for example that has decided to throw down the gauntlet of transforming its supply chain, sourcing and marketing systems to be more focused on rapid response times to customers.  They decided that in the midst of an economic downturn, getting aggressive about how they used intelligence could make a huge difference in their ability to survive and grow. 

    As it turns out their strategy of aggressive intelligence is paying off with increased ... Read More

    2 Comments "