In what ways are digital technologies changing the professional services industry? Are new technologies having an impact on this industry at all? If they are, what are the changes they are making, and how are they making the industry better?
New digital technologies truly are changing the services industry. Here are four major ways in which they are doing it.
Ease of Finding Expert Knowledge
It is becoming ever easier to find genuine expertise online. This expertise comes with actual documentation of the knowledge. Customers of professional services companies who are looking for expert knowledge are able to locate it easily in places like blogs, journal articles, slide presentations, YouTube videos, and more, all online. All it takes is a simple Google search. Customers of professional services companies can locate the knowledge that is the most relevant to them, and then use connecting links to make their way through related articles of interest to them. The ease with which expert information can be put online, and with which customers can find it, is making more educated, empowered customers. This is a big change from in the past. Customers are coming to professional services companies already informed on the things that concern them, rather than depending on the company to educate them. This knowledge gives customers an edge in choosing the companies that can best serve them and their unique needs. In addition, customers can find this information for free. This ease of finding relevant information is pushing all companies in the professional services industry to deliver more value.
Discovering the Real Talent
Among customers who are using the professional services industry, discovering who is an expert is even more important than accessing expert knowledge. They want to work with the people who have that knowledge, or even the ones who produced it. In the past, companies relied on word of mouth to find the experts their customers needed. This often resulted in customers getting matched with professionals who weren’t right for them, as word of mouth can often be incorrect. Or, it can be subjective. With the ability to associate people with their talents and their qualifications in databases and global talent networks that are easily accessible by those in the professional services industry, it is easy to get the correct experts to the right customers. This is something customers appreciate. It builds loyalty to a company in them, especially if they get the perfect expert on their project the first time.
Delivery of Services
The professional services industry is using digitization increasingly in delivering services. Automating processes are part of this change. This can save a lot of time on projects that once took weeks or months (or longer) to complete. With automated processes, services can be accurately completed and delivered to customers much more quickly and efficiently than in the past. Customers love this new aspect of the professional services industry.
Digitization in the delivery of services saves both time and money for customers and businesses alike. Being able to offer this is a clear advantage for a business over its competitors. Digitization also helps customers get the correct expert for them. This is particularly true where knowledge can be packaged to enable self service capabilities online. This provides better and more accurate service to customers.
Knowledge as a service is emerging in the Professional Services industry. Intellectual property can be embedded in databases and processes and delivered as a service. Even consulting can be digitized by using mobile technology to book meetings, record time spent at a customer site, and even conduct meetings online anywhere a mobile device can get internet service. It makes these types of meetings much more convenient for customers and businesses alike.
Some recent studies show that about 80 percent of customers of retail stores do some deep online research before engaging with a store. This is true whether a customer is planning to shop online or go into a store in person. People want to know what the store sells, how much it charges, and its quality of customer service, among other things, before they shop there. If customers of retail stores do this, it is only reasonable to expect B2B customers to do the same thing. In fact, these customers will likely be doing even more in-depth research, because they will be spending more money on a specialized service. This means that many decisions regarding whether or not to work with a company are made without even contacting the company. It is all based on online research. This includes things like reviews from other customers, the company’s BBB rating, the company’s areas of expertise, the people who work there, and more.
Most professional services companies are written about in publications that demonstrate their expertise and leadership in their special areas. These thought leadership publications acted as an advertisement for new customers in the past. Today, many of these publications are digitized. This digitization allows customers greater engagement with the company before actually contacting it. Customers can locate the content they need, read what is important to them on their own time and in the order they prefer, they can read it as many times as they like, and even forward it to people who they believe will find it useful. This allows customers to gain a much better understanding of which companies will serve their interests the best.
Digitization is the Future of the Professional Services Industry
Customers and companies alike will find that digitization is the best way to approach and operate this industry. They are already discovering it. Digitization allows companies to attract the customers who are best suited to what they offer. It also allows customers to find the companies that will be ideal for them before even making a call. And, it allows all of this to be done quickly, easily, and online. This saves time and money for companies and customers alike. It improves the industry for everyone and creates better outcomes for everyone involved on either side.
Learn more about Digitization in the Professional Services industry here.