People providing professional services management know they are expected to focus on a specific scope based on their knowledge. But how do you engage the client beyond that scope or project? The market grows to include a widening range of professional services. We need to keep clients or face the reality of endless client recruitment and marketing cycles. Here are some ways you can make knowledge as a service a reality for your company.
Continuous value creation and client relationship beyond engagements
When you work in professional services, your focus is often on the current project or contract. How do you reach out to current clients for future income potential? Professional services firms often fail to add value for their clients or engage above and beyond the current services. To gain ground, they need to focus on the entire client lifecycle. Businesses are starting to realize they have more expertise and information that benefits their clients. This knowledge then becomes a service that can be provided to the client either outside of or in addition to regular services. As digital tech grows, the idea of intellectual property has spread well beyond the software industry. Taking a value added approach allows businesses to offer a larger range of services while protecting themselves from leaner new market entrants offering attractively priced services.
With advances in tech, your clients can now access digitized knowledge. This allows them to easily find, comprehend, pay and use this information through a subscription. Instead of being the main offering, knowledge is now available à la carte. Instead of attending a major engagement to gain knowledge, clients are often finding the information they need through the internet. In an evolution like that which the entertainment industry has gone through in the past decade, professional services are providing knowledge and expertise as a stand-alone service. This allows your business to reach out to customers in all stages of the lifecycle. By codifying expert knowledge and making it available online, the business can reach far more customers than an in-person training, consultation or customer service follow up. As your company adds to its offerings, you’re creating many more revenue streams to help your business grow. As customers using your other services have need of your traditional offerings, they’ll turn to you. This provides even more business. You’ll be able to connect with clients in all phases. This in turn builds customer loyalty.
Scaling and Monetizing Knowledge Based Services
But how do you scale and monetize a knowledge based offering to ensure success? Though it appears easy, as stand-alone knowledge is commonly available, you’ll need to update your business model to reflect that shift and offer usage based pricing models. You may find internal barriers and concerns that stand in the way of developing the content. If the knowledge has only been used internally, it may take work to be packaged as a marketable product. This process takes time and effort to create before it is even launched.
What needs to happen? You’ll need to develop prototypes and test for any issues. This helps ensure your product meets high standards and will generate more demand. This is especially important when your model requires initial and major interactions with the client digitally. You won’t have a lot of opportunity to develop relationships to resolve client issues. Failing to go through this process means clients who feel their needs weren’t met will go elsewhere without your knowledge. Failure to manage, package, personalize and effectively distribute your product may prevent repeat business.
The knowledge based service will need to be available across several channels. You may need to develop a process for purchase, use and management of your services that is intuitive for your clients. That process will need to meld with the client’s other experiences online. If there are any issues during the process, they need to be resolved as quickly as possible, preferably before going live. Payment, delivery and customization need to happen easily and any changes to subscriptions need to be handled as painlessly as possible. But what about the rest of your offerings? If you’re using a combination of à la carte options as well as packages, these parts will need to work together when a client upgrades or removes particular portions of the system. Reports should meld seamlessly with any number of popular office suites, accounting platforms, professional services automation software and similar products already on the market. Keeping the service customizable to meet each client’s needs helps ensure it will continue being used and you’ll continue seeing new business.
The steps that happen in making a bank of knowledge a marketable reality can seem complex. By working with another company that has experience of supporting multiple business models, you can make sure the process goes quickly and efficiently. Are you still looking for a company to help make your professional services management more effective? Please feel free to contact the experts at SAP to discover how we can help.