We've heard over and over "Add value for your customers!" But what does that mean?

According to Webster's Dictionary, VALUE means "Monetary or material worth". Therefore, "Add value for your customers" must mean we have to add some thing (product, service, or other benefit) that adds tangible monetary or material gain for our customers. How do we do that? We need to find out what is valuable - and not merely valued - by our customers.

There's a big difference between providing something that is valuable and something that is valued. Again, according to Webster's Dictionary, VALUABLE means "1. Of high monetary or material value 2. Of great importance, utility, or service". VALUED, on the other hand, means "Highly esteemed". Both terms are impressive. However valuable products, services, and information are what keep customers coming back to you time and again. Valuable items create some type of monetary or material gain for your customers; whereas, a "valued" item is appreciated by your customers, but may not be important enough to them to pay for it. That's the distinction. Do you want to get paid for what you add or do you just want to be appreciated?

To determine how valuable your products, services, and information are to your customers, ask them. What elements of your service do they find valuable? What aspects make their jobs easier, less time-consuming, or more profitable? What would make their jobs even easier, less time-consuming, or more profitable? What do you provide they like, but don't really need? What do they find wasteful or unnecessary? How does the value of your products or services compare to others?

Ask your customers for the answers. They'll tell you. Then you'll know how to add value, because you'll know what is valuable.

Copyright 2008 - Liz Weber of Weber Business Services, LLC.
Liz speaks, consults, and trains on Leadership Development, Strategic Planning, and Organizational Change. Additional articles can be found at http://www.wbsllc.com/leadership.shtml
Liz can be reached at liz@wbsllc.com or(717)597-8890

Permission to reprint this article is granted as long as you use the complete attribution above - including live website link and e-mail address - and you send me an email at liz@wbsllc.com to let me know where the article will be published.

Author's Bio: 

In the words of one client, "Liz Weber will help you see opportunities you never knew existed."

A sought-after consultant, speaker, and seminar/workshop presenter, Liz is known for her candor, insights, and her ability to make the complex "easy." She creates clarity for her audiences during her results-oriented presentations and training sessions.

Participants walk away from her sessions knowing how to implement the ideas she's shared not just once, but over and over to ensure continuous improvement and management growth and development.

This former Dragon Lady has been there, done it, and learned from it. Whether speaking to corporate executives or government agency personnel, Liz's comments and insights ring true.

As the President of Weber Business Services, LLC, a management consulting, training, and speaking firm headquartered near Harrisburg, PA, Liz and her team of consultants provide strategic and succession planning, management policy & systems development, employee training, as well as marketing and media outreach services.

Liz has supervised business activities in 139 countries and has consulted with organizations in over 20 countries. She has designed and facilitated conferences from Bangkok to Bonn and Tokyo to Tunis. Liz has taught for the Johns Hopkins University's Graduate School of Continuing Studies and currently teaches with the Georgetown University's Senior Executive Leadership Program.

Liz is the author of 'Leading From the Manager's Corner', and 'Don't Let 'Em Treat You Like a Girl - A Woman's Guide to Leadership Success (Tips from the Guys)'. Her 'Manager's Corner' column appears monthly in several trade publications and association newsletters.