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Updated: March 18, 2019 Ask ACE

Adding value for your customers, clients, and community

The Association for Consulting Expertise (ACE) is a nonprofit association of independent consultants who value “Success through Collaboration.”
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Q: How do we add value for our customers (or clients, or communities)?

ACE advises: We all need to know how our customers, clients, or the communities we serve experience value from our work. I recently ran a panel on creative entrepreneurship, asking that question of each panelist.

Stacy Begin, owner of the bakery Two Fat Cats, could have explained that they make wonderful pies, using fresh berries and other premier ingredients, creating them in small batches the old fashioned way. That would all have been true.

Instead, she said simply, “We solve our customers’ dessert problems.”

Indeed, most of her customers are just seeking a wonderful dessert that will please their guests. All the facts about ingredients and quality are relevant, but what’s most important is that her customers never have to worry about dessert.

Had a customer decided to bake her or his own pie, they would have to worry about whether it’s too sweet, has the right texture, is visually appealing, etc.

A friend of mine is an event planner. One might say that she simply chooses the venue, the band or DJ, the florist, the caterer and all the other skilled service providers — all of which the people delegating these tasks to the planner would otherwise do themselves.

My friend’s added value is in her knowledge of the marketplace. She hires vendors she knows will perform. The added value is an assurance of success for the customer or client, not a particular product or service.

How do your customers or clients view the added value that you bring to their company or organization?

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