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A golden opportunity for professional services?

At The Telemarketing Company, we’ve been providing industry-specific solutions to some of the world’s leading organisations for over 30 years, gaining valuable insight into the unique challenges faced across many different sectors.

The current lockdown situation, however, isn’t a challenge that any of us can say we have faced previously and new obstacles will arise as businesses try to ease out of lockdown and find ways to safely reopen.

In this article, we take a closer look at how the professional services sector in particular can look ahead towards growth, whilst at the same time helping others ramp up activity.

Reinforcing relationships and trust

Professional services are generally knowledge-based services provided by individuals with specialist training across a range of business functions from tax, accountancy and legal services to engineering and IT support and management advice. As a result, this sector relies heavily on relationships and trust; it isn’t as simple as evaluating a set of product features or benefits.

Given their core function to help clients manage and grow their business, with responsibility for highly specialist areas, demand is likely to be high for the vital services provided by firms in this sector. Within a challenging COVID-19 environment, professional service firms will be in the thick of the battle, helping companies manage their finances, assess future risks, evolve business processes and scale up on digital transformation. But how do they set their services apart from competitors’?

The current environment provides an opportunity for brands to shine, going above and beyond to reinforce the trust and relationships they’ve built thus far. At a time when clients are feeling anxious and vulnerable, businesses that go out of their way to keep in touch with relevant information, listen and understand current challenges and offer customised support, will really stand out.

In the case of new business where pre-existing relationships don’t exist, it will be critical to demonstrate proficiency and a solid track record, making good use of reviews and testimonials across channels to communicate a clear value proposition.

Choosing the right channels

With in-person consultations, meetings and events now cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future, many professionals are rethinking the way in which they engage with potential clients and are turning to webinars and other forms of virtual events to maintain connections with both existing and prospective clients.

This channel lends itself well to an in-depth exposure of the type of specialist knowledge and expertise offered by professional service companies including the opportunity to demo software or take a deep dive into complex products and processes. Whether tailored, interactive webinars or small targeted WebEx sessions, online events are a flexible way to engage with clients, explore their requirements and share customised solutions. Those who haven’t yet ventured into the world of webinars, could consider offering a free masterclass, discussion panel or consultation to develop new business.

A knowledge-based service can be hard to evaluate when you aren’t an expert in the field, so establishing a personal connection and finding a cultural fit will help prospective clients make that leap of faith. In lieu of meeting face to face, picking up the phone and establishing an ongoing dialogue is a good way to make a meaningful connection and build rapport, whilst gathering valuable insight into customer requirements. At a time of stress and uncertainty, human-to-human interaction also establishes empathy with clients that might be struggling during the pandemic.

A particular challenge for companies in this sector is communicating their expertise in a way that differentiates their proposition from that of competitors. A phone conversation provides an agile two-way interaction so you can react in real-time to feedback and present a proposition tailored to the needs of each individual. As the dialogue evolves and you build understanding, you can highlight your credentials and the subtle nuances in your proposition that demonstrate you are the best fit for their needs.

Embracing digital transformation and service improvement

A swift move into lockdown has forced businesses of all shapes and sizes to adopt new digital and collaborative processes and working habits. Businesses in the traditional professional services sector, whose competitive edge relies often on their expertise and people, also need to take the opportunity to accelerate digitisation. A recent article by the Financial Times shows how lockdown has rapidly accelerated the push into digital workflows for professional service businesses in Asia, showing that those who don’t embrace this change risk being left behind.

New technologies offer many benefits, enabling better decision making, providing real-time access to information for clients and helping improve product and service delivery, as well as the overall customer experience. Moreover, accelerating service delivery and simplifying internal processes through technology increases productivity and allows employees more time to focus on adding value and developing client relationships.

At The Telemarketing Company, our expert agents have successfully communicated many diverse propositions for businesses in this sector, developing opportunities for Hitachi’s Enterprise Applications (Oracle) practice, setting appointments for Stirling Consultancy’s management and business advisory service and Accoa’s bespoke coaching for accountancy practices. If you feel your business would benefit from our help, we’re safely set up to provide support remotely and would be happy to discuss your current requirements. Get in touch today
 

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