Earlier this year, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published UK economy figures on GVA (“gross value added” – the measurement of the value of goods and services) and GDP. According to the report, 77% of UK GVA is accounted for by the services sector, of which professional and business services (12%) is the largest sub-sector.
The trend of this reliance on the service industry isn’t new, as the report states “In recent decades there has been a marked shift in the UK economy away from manufacturing towards services. In particular, towards knowledge intensive services; which now account for 34% of UK output and 29% of total employment.”
The service industry is a fast growing (6.4% each year between 2000 and 2013) and therefore competitive sector, in which its USP cannot be measured as easily as with manufactured products; but rather in the breadth and depth of service it provides to clients.
Customers at the heart of your service offering
It sounds obvious, but for knowledge and professional service organisations, a relevant and consistent customer experience is absolutely key. It is more easily said than done though, and where businesses are trying to operate in a lean way with resource and overhead allocation, there is a balancing act of pleasing your customer and remaining commercially viable.
Effective project management must include both visibility and control and track your entire customer contact; from tender management, through to project delivery and ongoing account management. Within this chain of events lies a lot of detail, communication and collaboration – to ensure the client receives the service that was sold to them and therefore resulting in repeat business.
Knowledge sharing – the key to a consistent customer experience
Knowledge silos can exist, even in smaller organisations. Particularly as businesses grow, human nature can tend towards keeping information close by; whether it’s written on a notepad, kept on your device or even in your head. If you multiply this within teams and across teams, you can start to see the scope for failure in delivering the project your customer wants and wasting time doing so through inefficient practices.
Professional Services businesses need to facilitate and encourage their staff to collaborate better and more easily, by reviewing their processes and their use of business technology.
Dynamics CRM for Project Management from Prodware
In addition to the core functionality of Microsoft Dynamics CRM which supports the sharing of customer information and driving productive processes, through functionality such as email Outlook integration, activities and tasks; Prodware have developed a specific solution for the management of projects.
Professional Services can benefit from tighter controls over their sales and marketing activities, including bid or no-bid for tender management procedures; in addition to the sharing of documents (one version of the truth) using Microsoft Sharepoint portal and document management, throughout the lifecycle of projects. Bid documents and templates for historical analysis and future use, customer case studies for ease of references, profiles on key decision makers and influencers – all stored and accessed immediately.
Yammer can also support real time collaboration and engagement; where team members need to reach out to colleagues involved in past projects either with the same client or with the same sort of service offering, so that approaches can be shared, lessons learnt and the wheel isn’t re-invented each time.
All this can result in deals being turned around faster, with a more efficient and productive sales cycle; in addition to your Delivery team having as much information available to them in order to plan the required resource accordingly.
Project Managers can also have visibility of what is being delivered; with stage status reviews, resource utilisation and project estimation functionality.
Efficiency can also be improved, with timesheets and approvals made easier, resulting in more accurate project costing and speedier client billing with less room for error (better for your cash flow).
By combining and connecting your greatest assets (your people), Professional Services companies can deliver great customer experiences throughout their lifecycle, secure repeat business and compete effectively. Speak to Prodware today about how our Dynamics CRM for Project Management can support best practice and drive productivity and to register for our forthcoming event on CRM for professional services in London.