Have you ever heard of the term ‘customer profitability’? Here is how the Wikipedia dictionary defines it:

Customer profitability (CP) is the profit the firm makes from serving a customer or customer group over a specified period of time; specifically, the difference between the revenues earned from and the costs associated with the customer relationship in a specified period.

This month, I have put together three strategies to help you maximize your customer profitability.

First, review your website and ask yourself, how hard is it for your customers to contact you? Remember, your customers have different preferences for reaching out to you.

Some prefer to phone you directly. Others prefer to email you, and still others prefer some form of social media to connect with your business. Whichever way they prefer, make it easy to connect with you through various channels.

Make sure you have your phone number and email address links on each page of your website, preferably in the upper right-hand corner. Don’t make your visitors hunt for your contact information by only being able to access you through your “contact us” page.

As Seth Godin, social media thought leader, says, “Your website visitors are like monkeys on crack.” In other words, if they don’t see a way to connect with you (the banana) when they want it , they are gone.

Regarding websites: a question to ask yourself is, how current is yours? Too often, green industry company owners neglect this extremely important aspect of their business. They try to cut corners and don’t appropriate the time or the funds for this powerful marketing tool. To find out if your website is outdated, simply go online and review your competitors and other similarly-sized businesses from different industries.

According to Maribeth Kuzmeski, a highly respected marketing consultant, there are four questions you must answer on your company’s website homepage. They are:

1. What does your company do?

2. Who do you do it for?

3. What makes your company unique?

4. Why should they buy from you?

Let’s look at these questions one at a time, and let me interpret how they can apply to your green industry business.

1. What does your company do? Here, you must communicate exactly what you do. Don’t assume that people know. Remember to communicate that message in words they can understand. Don’t think they understand your industry buzz words or acronyms you might use that can mislead them—or worse yet, confuse them. Remember the old saying, “When you confuse them—you lose them.” Make it easy for them to understand.

Do you clearly communicate the types of services your company offers? Don’t assume that people understand terms like ‘fall clean up.’ Be specific, and you will sell more services. I will speak more on the types of services you offer later in this article.

2. Who do you do it for? You must answer this question in such a way that the person visiting your website can identify with and literally say to him or herself, “That’s who you are.” In their mind, the light bulb has to go on so they can see that there is a good fit between your company and them.

3. What makes your company unique? How do you differ from every other competitor they might be considering? What is going to give your company the special edge it needs to differentiate itself just enough so that they are motivated to contact your company and not a competitor’s?

In the work that I do with my clients, this is a critical area where we invest the time it takes to get clear on the specifics of what makes them different and unique.

4. Why should they buy from you? In other words, what are the benefits and value that comes with using your products and/or services? Can you list them and clearly demonstrate them? Benefits like easy to work with, prompt, courteous staff, and competitive pricing are all excellent benefits to list.

This is a great place for customer testimonials. Customer testimonials can take the form of written formats or you can use video recording links. I strongly recommend that you ask your clients for testimonials and then post them on your website.

Another benefit may be your guarantee. What, you don’t have one? Buzzzzzz— wrong answer! There is always something you can guarantee, even if it is as simple as the fact that you will provide friendly service. Give me a call and I will be happy to help you brainstorm some ways you can create a solid guarantee that you can live with, and your clients will love.

The second strategy for you to consider is to stop thinking small. In other words, think about the services or products you provide and put together four basic packages: Small / Medium / Large / Super Large Here is my point. Stop thinking like a business owner and start thinking like your clients. They have different needs and wants that come in various sizes, shapes and forms. Your job is to find out what they want, how they want it, and in what quantities, and make it available to them. Don’t wait for them to tell you what they want. Ask them.

Conduct focus groups or call them up one at a time and ask them this question: “What is one service or product you wish we provided that we do not provide at this time?” Get your cell phone recorder ready and record their responses. Then get your team together and figure out what you can deliver, how to price it, and make it available ASAP.

The third strategy is to review or create a client recovery plan. What I mean by that is, do you have a way to deal with clients who experience a negative incident with your company, and their disappointment with your product or service?

One way to fix this is to analyze the last five complaints you received from your clients. Addressing each complaint, one at a time, figure out what went wrong and what action you and your team can take to appease the client when it happens. What can you do to make it right? Next, figure out what needs to happen to prevent or minimize this incident from recurring in the future.

There you have it, three strategies to help you maximize your customer profitability.

Here is your homework: pick one of the strategies you can implement and within the next 14 days, get your team together and do it.

If you would like some help to increase the customer profitability of your small business, give me a call or email me. That’s all for this month; see you next time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tom Borg works with small and mid-sized green industry companies. For more information or to ask him a question, contact him at 734-404-5909 or email him at: tom@tomborg.com or visit his website at: www.@tomborgconsulting.com.