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Entrepreneurialism

Customer-Driven Strategy

At age 52, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is worth $66.5 billion and recently surpassed Warren Buffet as the third richest person in the world. His fortunes have come largely from Amazon, which he founded in 1994. Today, Amazon has revenues of over $200 billion and is currently one of the largest retailers in the world despite having no physical stores. At the center of this growth is Bezos’ relentless focus on customer strategy.

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Oxford Companies Growing by Leaps and Bounds

One of the largest commercial real estate transactions on record in Ann Arbor was completed in what many have called the “deal of the year.” In a $103M deal, Oxford Companies led a group of investors in the acquisition of a portfolio from McMullen Realty Co. For a comparison, the University of Michigan bought the Pfizer property for $108M.

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Oh, by the Way Sales

A very successful sales professional explained that while many of his competitors interact with prospects or customers every 2-3 months or so, he spends a great deal of time engaging customers and prospects in-person and over the phone. He often reaches out just to touch base and perhaps help an engineer on a design question that may or may not be directly related to my friend’s particular part. Very often at some point an idea comes up in conversation that turns into a sale.

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The University of Michigan and the MARS Rover

On August 5, 2012 at 10:32 p.m. Pacific Time the world watched NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory broadcast the landing of Mars rover “Curiosity.” Three years later, that amazing device continues to deliver breakthrough analysis, such as showing that water once flowed on Mars, and demonstrating that Mars could have been habitable at one time. The Curiosity rover has been a great success, and the University of Michigan has played an important role in this success.

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Local Residential Real Estate Market

The Ann Arbor area residential real estate market is on the rise . . . mostly. Many of the key metrics show a positive change. The Ann Arbor Area Board of REALTORS® provides a monthly report on key residential real estate listings and sales. According to the June report, the number of 2013 YTD listings was up 22% year-over- year for the same period, jumping from 684 listings in June ’12 to 835 in June ’13.

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Sometimes the Best Metrics May Be Counterintuitive

There is no shortage of customer experience metrics today: digital data feeds, customer profile data, cross-channel performance, operational data, etc. The trick seems to be in fully understanding and focusing in on the key sets of metrics that really matter to build and sustain customer lifetime value across all channels.

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Why Your Customer Service Team Should Be Upselling

Customer service representatives have a tough job. They must represent the face of the company to customers while being internally monitored and measured via a myriad of metrics: first call resolution, call length, and percent of transfers, to name a few. Fortunately, when done well, upselling customers and ensuring customer satisfaction go hand in hand.

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Why You Need to Measure Both Performance and Impact

If you capture feedback from your customers, odds are that you use some form of a performance scorecard to determine how well your company is doing at delivering a great customer experience. You probably also have competitive and industry benchmarks that you can reference to ensure that you’re performing at the level of your peers. This is good . . . but it may not be enough. If you’re not careful, you might actually allocate resources to the wrong areas of the business.

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