Creating Value as a Professional Service Firm

Jayven Rappa's picture

Satisfying clients is a difficult thing to achieve, doing it with maximum profitability is even harder.  In this blog we will talk about a proven approach to ensuring you can have satisfied clients, in part two “Maximizing the client experience and your bottom line” <link>, we discuss waste and how removing it can drive optimal bottom line profitability.

In this digital economy, we live there is an over-abundance of self-service, information, automation, and other choices that clients can access to satisfy their service needs.  

As service professionals, the first approach we took to keep pace with marketplace demands was to adopt tools and technologies that made us smarter (calculators), better connected (email), have better memories (CRM), more visible (web and enterprise content management systems), more organized (project managers), always available (social media), etc. 

The unintended bi-product of this approach was over time it’s impacted our culture where we are now more focused on tools than real value creation.  Although that is a great position for technology firms to be in, it certainly hasn’t led to the best operational position for your business.  It’s pretty easy to tell if you have this issue;  when reviewing your marketing, sales, service, support and supervision teams… 

Question(s): is there a consistent debate about the contribution each person within the team is making and if it’s helpful or disruptive to the client experience?  More specifically are the teams in your business feel connected and focused on the customer in the same way or are they often at odds with each other about their role?  

It would seem an organization with a clear perspective of it’s value would rarely have any issue internally about the focus of creating value, but that is where most firms find themselves today.  This is evidenced by the fact that year after year companies continue to add more technology to “keep up with the Joneses”, but rarely if ever actually talked to their clients, “the Joneses”, to ask them directly about what they can do ti improve the value of their services.

So, at some point you must make a decision to make things simple again, simply focused on value.  The challenge is that you can’t always rely on the technology vendors because their 1st goal many times is to make sure you keep paying your license.  Secondly, you could go and pay for a full audit by a consulting firm but even there, you get a plan but not necessarily a viable, implemented solution.

We suggest you start by taking a simple step at clearly defining, on your terms, what value it is that you create and if it’s clearly communicated at every stage of your client experience.  More importantly, doing that activity with a clear perspective of how value is defined, which is a 3 part equation…

First, to create value you must be changing the form or the function of something.  

  • As a service provider your changing information and data from a customer by using it to make recommendations on a product or service the client needs.  
  • List out the types of value you are creating for the customer by your unique approach to this process.  It’s not complicated, it’s the value you create.

Second, a customer must be willing to pay for it.  

  • Continuing with the earlier example you must now be able to detail, with all the other options a client may have to do their own calculations and product searches, why buying it from you is a better choice.  
  • Typically this falls back into categories like the experience you have or the expertise you may have achieved in having a singular focus on a specific type of service, which may be of interest to the target customer.
  • This step is often a lot more complex and eye-opening, but being able to clearly articulate why buying the value you create is better than the alternatives will go a long way in helping you as you communicate with prospects.

Third, you must get it right the FIRST time.  

  • In services example, you can think about the idea of making sure the choices being made are done right the first time.  The fact that your process is so tight that you are creating value, it’s better than any free online calculator and it’s always consistent with the needs of the client.  
  • There are lots of choices and a lot of the services people seek from you are likely ones that might be able to get “free” online, however, there comes a point where your experience in doing things right the first time, and over time, which needs to be known. 

As you work through this exercise, you must ask yourself when actions are taken day to day; are you changing the form or function of something, is the customer willing to pay for it, and are you able to get it done right the first time?

Doing the work to clearly understand these key criteria will put you and your team in a far better position as it relates to making decisions.  You can, first, better communicate to the team how they all contribute collectively to the delivery of value to the customer.  Additionally, you can better define what performance criteria to pay attention to.  Lastly, you will be in a far better competitive position as it relates to technology.  You will no longer chase value creation by the addition of a new tool, but rather seek the specific tools and technologies you need to drive your value.

At Trutelic, Inc. our mission is to help our valued clients make sure that they are able to continually stay focused on delivering value, with the least amount of waste possible.  We achieve this outcome for clients by helping them first clearly define the value you sustainably will deliver and then subsequently develop the digital platform that focuses their time on value creating activities with the minimization of DOWNTIME.