February is Customer Loyalty and Retention Month. What does that mean to you in terms of how you’ll show your customers some love… and be richly rewarded in return? For me, it means three things:

1. Implementing the 5Rs of Proactive Customer Profitability Management:

a. Retain your most profitable customers

b. Ramp up your marginally profitable customers

c. Restore your unprofitable customers to breakeven or better

d. Regain your lost customers

e. Reactivate your inactive customers.

2. Improve the customer experience every step of the way

3. Get inside their heads and learn what you can do to save them time, save them money, solve a real problem, create a feel good, or provide peace of mind.

I’ll tackle those powerful 5Rs in this post including my personal Achilles heel, and will drill down deeper on the others through the balance of the month.

Retain Your Most Profitable Customers

I’m very fortunate. I work hands-on with only a few clients each year, very intensively helping them find all the profit they need to fund the growth they want, so that they never again have to say “we don’t have the budget for that” when a good growth initiative comes across their desk. I love working with these customers, and I retain them for a long time. In fact, I’m heading to Atlanta at the end of this week for my 3rd year of delivering value-add workshops at an annual Sales Summit.

What are you doing this month to retain your best customers, beyond candy, pens, and mugs?
Hint: it’s all about the value you deliver, not about the “stuff”.

Ramp Up Your Marginally Profitable Customers

I’m always in Ramp up mode with all of my clients – looking for additional ways to serve them. In many cases, I become their go-to consigliere, going beyond the Profit Plan we develop to facilitate their Strategic Planning sessions, interviewing prospective hires joining their senior leadership team, and more.

How are you actively looking for opportunities to help your clients even more with the products, services, or expertise you offer?
Hint: it’s not about selling, it’s about serving.

Restore Your Unprofitable Customers to Breakeven or better

Once again, I’m fortunate. I get to work only with clients who are very good business for me, and profitable, but in larger organizations that’s not always the case. When I first take my clients through the Customer Profitability Diamond, they often find that up to 40% of their customers are unprofitable!  Research done by Harvard supports that your unprofitable customers often cost you 100% of the profits from your most profitable customers… and that simply bringing them back to breakeven will double your profitability.

What are you doing this month to restore your unprofitable customers to breakeven or better?
Hint: Red is a great color for Valentine’s hearts, but if you do nothing else towards profitability this year, tackle your customers in the Red Zone of the Customer Profitability Diamond.

Regain Lost Customers

This is an Achilles heel for almost every organization – dreading to ask a lost customer to come back because you’re afraid of what you’re going to hear, or not having a good answer when you hear their stock excuse that it was “price” (which is rarely the true cause). Find out why they really left. Fix any self-inflicted wounds on your end that may have been the cause. And just like the warm feeling you get when someone hands you a box of chocolates and invites you to take one, give them a heartfelt offer to come back and do business with you again.

What are you doing this month to regain lost customers?
Hint: You need to get over those fears and simply reach out, because often the grass didn’t turn out to be greener on the other side, and they may be embarrassed to come back you YOU! So make it easy for them to save face and return.

Reactivate Your Inactive Customers

Do you have people in your database that you never hear from and you wonder “are they dead or just sleeping? This is my personal Achilles heel. I’ve spoken to thousands of business executives all over North America, and I know that I could make my life easier with my expertise. So this month I’m focusing a lot of time and effort on re-warming those lists by reaching out to serve.

Over the past three years, I’ve been totally engrossed in writing my book Profit in Plain Sight and building out all the free content for it. At times it felt like I’d been kidnapped by aliens in spacesuits marked “Editor”, “Designer”, and “Publisher”… and I neglected many of my past clients and prospects from speaking events during that time, abandoning my blog and newsletter, and failing to reach out to see how I could serve. Are you guilty of neglect as well?

The good news is that Profit in Plain Sight was picked up by a New York publisher and will be launched with great fanfare this summer! And that means I have lots of great free content to offer business leaders who have been hammered by the recent plummeting Canadian dollar, and I’ve also developed an online-learn-by-doing program called ProfitU that will launch in June for those who simply know that this is their year to finally earn all the profit they need to fund the growth they need. Now, I just have to remind them of all the possibilities that are awaiting them!

What are you doing this month to reactivate your inactive customers?
Hint: It’s not up to them to remember us… it’s up to us to remember them.

The first step in any good Profit Plan is to activate your 5Rs of proactive customer profitability management. Drop me a note below and tell me which of the Rs will be YOUR highest priority this month?