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    Discussion Questions
    1. What are your company's "Best Practices"? Are there any best practices you can adopt from your number one competitor? Why or why not?
    2. Coldwell Banker Relocation Services has a 99 percent client retention rate. How does it keep its customers so happy -- and what can you learn from their strategies? What is your customer retention rate? Does it indicate any trends you can act upon?
    3. Over a two year period, Nike increased its total sales to women from 15 percent to 65 percent. How did Nike expand this market segment so quickly -- and what can you learn from their strategy?
    4. How do you gather customer input about product design and use? Telephone or mail surveys? Internet bulletin boards? Focus groups? Feasibility studies? To what extent do you involve customers in the design of prototypes? What about their customers?
    5. How easy is it for clients or customers to reach someone at your company with a proposed change or refinement? How long does it take for your company to respond? How many people get to see and discuss the proposal?

About the Authors

Robert Heibeler

Robert Hiebeler is the Managing Director of KnowledgeSpace, Arthur Andersen's innovative approach to leveraging knowledge for its professionals and its clients. Over the past five years he has pioneered the development and deployment throughout Arthur Andersen of the Global Best Practices Knowledge Base, an effort that has captured best practices information from around the world in key business processes. In addition to implementing several productivity and quality Initiatives within Arthur Andersen he has consulted with hundreds of companies worldwide about the search for, and implementation of, best practices to improve business performance. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.