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Welcome to this issue of "The Achiever," a monthly newsletter brought to you by Optimization Solutions Consulting!

This month's issue is focused on establishing a Loyal Customer Base. We define a Loyal Customer Base as the set of customers that will continually purchase from you because you have built an emotional relationship with them. They trust you, your guidance and input is important, and they're willing to pay for it. Becoming a customer driven business requires the efforts of everyone pulling together with a clear focus on the vision of the organization and the mission at hand, all of which must focus on exceeding customer expectations.


Walter Swindell, II - President
Optimization Solutions Consulting, LLC
In This Issue...

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article1How to Keep Customers for Life
Keep Customers for LifeBeing in business isn't just about getting a customer, selling something, and moving onto the next one. It's all about making sure that your customers keep coming back to you ... and spend more money!

But how can you make sure that your customers stay customers for life? What strategies can you put into practice to keep bringing them back for more? A planned customer retention program is something every established small business should have in place. That sounds great, but what is a retention plan, and what should it include?

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article2Attitudes Affect Everything We Do
Attitudes Affect Everything We DoAttitudes determine the way we treat people. They affect the way we perceive change. They influence our ability to set and reach goals. Attitudes affect our ability to realize and progress through Maslow's levels of need satisfaction ( The following sequence may help you see the significance of attitudes.

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article3Strengthen Your Strengths
You were created with unique qualities and abilities. Take the time to identify your strengths as they give you the ability to make valuable contributions to others and to the world that no one else can.

No matter how much of a useful quality you possess, you can always develop it so that it becomes even more valuable. One additional degree of personal growth today can make a big difference in your positive impact tomorrow. Does one degree really make a difference? To answer that question, imagine that you are heating water on the stove. The water will boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit and produce steam, a source of tremendous power. But if you drop the temperature back just one degree, you only have hot water. The moral of the illustration: Don't stop developing your strengths until they produce maximum power in your life and the lives of others.

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article4A Customer's Perceived Value
Customer's Perceived ValuePerceived value as defined by customers creates loyal customer relationships, and customer loyalty is the best predictor of your future strength and growth potential.

The value you provide to your customers is always compared to the value your competitors provide: therefore, value is your customers' perception relative to similar products or services in the marketplace-your competitors.

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article1_contdHow to Keep Customers for Life (continued)

Do the Groundwork

Before starting a retention program, you need to understand where your business stands now in regard to its retention track record. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do you know how many customers you have lost in the last 12 months?
  2. If you do know how many, do you know why they stopped dealing with you?
  3. Have you ever quantified the impact these losses have had on your bottom line?

Before you can put an effective retention plan in place, you have to answer these questions. They are the key to understanding and implementing an effective retention strategy. Let's look at each of them in turn.

How Many Have You Lost?

It's essential you know how many people stop doing business with you at any one time. Keep a database of all your frequent customers, how often they buy, what they buy and in what quantity. Every month, review the information and see if you can spot any worrying trends. Has the average order value been declining over the last three months? Has one customer's regular order dried up altogether? If someone orders a large range of items each month but suddenly stops purchasing one particular range, why?

If you can't track the customers you are loosing, how can you keep them or tempt them back?

Why Have They Turned Their Back On You?

Armed with the information on who's deserting you, the fight back can start in earnest! There are sometimes very good reasons why business can dry up - the owner could have died, moved away, or closed down. Not a lot you can do about that! But what about more worrying reasons? Your product quality has gone downhill; the customer feels he is no longer getting value for money; your general service levels have declined. These are areas you have to know about, so you can get the business back on track.

If you see a slippage in business and you can identify who is contributing to it, then pick up the phone and get talking! Find out what the problem is. If you can bring them back into the fold, then great but if it's genuinely too late, then at least you have gathered some important knowledge about where the business is going wrong.

What Has It Cost You?

You may be thinking that the odd customer here and there is not going to have a major impact on your lifestyle. Think again! Remember, it's not just one sale, it's a lifetime of sales that you are loosing. Suppose a customer spends $1,000 per month with you. He walks away into the sunset and you never see him again. Imagine that he could have been doing business with you for the next 20 years - that's $240,000!

Interested now? Well you should be! Working out the financial impact of losing just one customer can really bring home the impact on the business. This should galvanize you into action and get you working on a retention plan.

Your Retention Plan

Having now convinced you that you need a Customer Retention Plan, what exactly should it include?

1. Have a system in place which allows you to answer all the questions we have just reviewed. Understand what is going on in the business, so you can identify and put matters right. Make sure you know who you lost, why you lost them, and how much it has and will cost you.

2. Get your staff together on a regular basis and remind them of the importance of retaining your customers. If you don't get them on board, then you have no hope.

3. During your staff meetings hold brainstorming sessions so everyone can come up with ideas on how to hold onto your customers.

4. Implement the good ideas and measure the results so you know what is working and what is not.

A good retention plan can be just as effective as a good marketing plan; they achieve the same results - a contribution to profit. So, sit down and think about the steps you can put in place to keep your customers.

I saw a sign in a shop one day, it said, "It's not how many come in, it's how many come back that's important." Doesn't that say it all!

Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more!

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article2_contdAttitudes Affect Everything We Do (continued)

Results: Each of us as goal seekers want to achieve certain results from our lives.

Behavior: The results we get depend upon our behavior, how we react to situations.

Attitude: The results we get depend upon our behavior and attitudes toward the people or events involved, and toward ourselves.

If attitudes are basically negative, goals will be set low, and it will be difficult to progress. Growth and promotion will be all but impossible until a positive mindset is developed.

You can identify people with negative attitudes by their actions and by their reactions. When presented with a challenge their focus will be on problems: what can't be done, and why things won't work. Their discussions will often revolve around negative issues and blame. They do not respond well to compliments and will even discount them. However, they remember every one of their failures and mistakes, and this memory stifles much of their activity. They are usually part of the problem not part of the solution.

If attitudes are basically positive, individuals will focus on possibilities and ideas for improvement. This will be evident in the way they treat people. They will be very comfortable giving others credit, and their transactions will be directed at making others feel better about themselves. They accept both constructive criticism and compliments with open consideration and appreciation. They are regularly part of the solution and rarely part of the problem.

It is important to understand that attitudes are developed very early in life. Years and years of early conditioning helped to develop the attitudes that many people carry with them throughout life. Much of early conditioning was negative, what you can't do, where not to go, etc. For the most part, negative attitudes are far more prevalent than positive attitudes. Too many people think more often of what's wrong, how they might fail, and why it won't work rather than what's good, what's right, and how it can work.

On the positive side, since attitudes are developed, they can be changed. In fact, as a leader, you will frequently find yourself in a position to help people develop positive attitudes. The first step is understanding that what took years to develop will also require some time and effort to change. Daily encouragement is important. Positive input on a daily basis will help to replace some of the negative attitudes with positive ones. Audio books, articles, brainstorming sessions, affirmations, and seminars are some techniques you can employ to create positive input.

There are many ways and opportunities to create a learning organization with a focus on positive attitudes and possibility thinkers. Recognition programs, leadership opportunities, personal mentoring, and corporate coaching ( are but a few ways to help your team develop the appropriate attitudes focused on goal achievement. One of the vital contributions a leader can make is instilling the desire and creating the opportunity for continuous improvement.

Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more!


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article3_contdStrengthen Your Strengths (continued)

Too often people neglect their strengths and debate the questions, "Why work on areas where I am already strong?" They devote most of their time and energy to shoring up their weaknesses and developing skills they don't have. If you manage your life by only concentrating on your weaknesses, you take energy away from accelerating your strengths, thereby generating mediocre results.

Research indicates that as many as two-thirds of all working adults are slaving away at jobs they don't like and for which they are not well suited. In a research poll of millions of workers, only one-third reported they were engaged in the kind of work they do best. No wonder so many businesses are characterized by apathy and mediocrity instead of passion and excellence! As we become pressed by the challenges of life, we often accept mediocrity by neglecting your strengths and shoring up a weakness.

If a weakness is really holding you back, naturally you should work to develop it. For example, if your deficiency in public speaking is curtailing your job performance and your daily work is in concert with your goals and purpose then it makes sense to devote some attention to improving that area. The blunt truth is you cannot be anything you want to be. For example, it is hard to be a successful professional basketball player in the NBA if you are 5' 4". The average height of these professional athletes is 6' 7". However, the good news is that you can always be more of who you are!

Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more!  


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article4_contdA Customer's Perceived Value (continued)

Perceived value occurs at the intersection of what customers want and what they get from you versus what they could get from your competition. You can only sustain customer loyalty by continually meeting your customers' product/service qualifications, specifications, or expectations. You also need to meet their needs in the order that customers deem important while maintaining a favorable comparison between you and your competition. In your marketplace, your competitors are the alternative suppliers your customers use to form their comparative value perceptions. How would your customer define perceived value?

For example if your customers expect your product to perform error free, to be delivered on time, to be supported by timely and personal technical support, and to be properly billed at a fair price, you must be good in all categories to get an "A," and you must be at least as good as your competitors. If you deliver a product that meets all of their design specifications but are unable to provide personal technical support, you failed in meeting an important criteria; therefore, the perceived value will decrease. For every mark you miss, the value as defined by your customers decreases and you slowly lose the ability to develop a loyal customer relationship. To create and sustain loyal customers it is necessary to consider every contact with each customer as an opportunity for you to provide value-every time.Every service point is critical and every service point has a level of expectation from the customer that must be understood and managed. We call these contact points-points of connection.

Every point of connection gives your organization the opportunity to emotionally connect with your customers. Your customers will judge your value and their emotional tie at every point. Developing and implementing a strategy of creating a consistent emotional connection with your customer creates value, which creates loyal customer relationships.

We know that loyal customers will always return to purchase your product or service, which create a long-term stream of revenue. Another advantage of loyal customers is that they will consistently boast about your product or service creating the most effective and least expensive form of advertising for your organization. Additional advantages of developing a loyal customer base is their willingness to pay more for your product or service, and they are also more forgiving when your organization makes a mistake. Why? As loyal customers, they trust your organization and have faith that you are fair.

Making the strategic decision to create a loyal customer base is one of the most important commitments you can make to the success of your organization. Your individual contribution is also a large part of that success.

Contact Optimization Solutions Consulting to learn more! 


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