Every business wants to grow quickly, but not all are equipped to support fast-paced growth while still operating successfully.
For services businesses, growing quickly is a great sign because it means the service you’re providing your clients is resonating with them, solving their problems, and they’re likely telling others they know that you can solve their problems as well.
However, if your services business doesn’t have the tools needed to handle fast growth, sooner or later the business will suffer because you won’t have the bandwidth to continue providing the same high quality service that made you popular to begin with.
So what are the top performing services organizations doing to tackle challenges, win business, and retain customers? What are they doing to support growth, optimize resource management, automate billing, and improve reporting? Here are a few strategies that services businesses can use to support growth and continue to succeed as they gain more customers:
Be Able To Effectively Manage Multiple Projects At Once
As your business grows, your employees are going to be busy and likely have multiple projects on the go at once. Having a tool that can help them manage these projects more efficiently will be key to their success.
A Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution will allow for better resource management, time & expense management, services CPQ, and team collaboration. All of which will empower your team to manage projects successfully and deliver services that will keep your customers happy.
Integrate And Streamline The Back-Office
When you add new services and billing models, you need a billing system that is agile enough to support them, while keeping billing cycles fast and efficient. Manual, inflexible back-office processes can only cause slow billing cycles, costly mistakes, and frustrated customers.
Ideally, you want a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system where sales creates new opportunities, a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution where your services team tracks and manages their projects, and then a fully integrated back office system that supports everything from the opportunity all the way through to customer renewal and revenue recognition that passes data seamlessly with your CRM and PSA.
Routinely Survey Your Customers and Ask For Feedback
Another way the best professional services organizations support fast-paced growth is by asking for feedback from their customers and using the information they collect from their responses to make smarter business decisions for the future.
With a PSA solution like Klient PSA your project teams can send surveys to their customers right from the platform, and their responses will be stored in the product as well.
By creating and delivering project and customer surveys including NPS, CSAT, or free-form surveys to analyze client feedback and sentiment, businesses can learn from project engagements, and help build long-term customer advocacy to increase retention improve customer satisfaction.
Is Your Service Business Equipped to Support Fast-Paced Growth?
If not, implementing a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution with a wide breadth of features and functionality, as well as the ability to seamlessly integrate with the other applications your business uses, could help you grow with more ease and efficiency.
Schedule a discovery call with our Klient expert to find out.
Service-based clients can differ wildly from purchase-based customers — especially when you want to build lasting relationships with them to create repeat business. That’s why client retention can be so different from customer retention.
Here, we’ve compiled four expert tips for how to retain clients that we believe are specifically helpful to service-based businesses.
1. Highlight the Human Component
While customer-based businesses often focus on selling the value or quality of a product, client-based service businesses can promote themselves as people who provide professional services with top-quality expertise, experience, or connections. The relationships between your organization and its clients helps ensure they’re happy enough to keep using your services.
As Joey Coleman, author of the book Never Lose a Customer Again, likes to say: “The fact is, whether you are B2B or B2C, the core of the conversation is that your business is H2H — human to human.”
Positioning your organization as humans delivering premium services to other humans can quickly change your clients’ perceptions of who it is they’re doing business with in the first place. This can give you an advantage that keeps clients invested in your business relationship beyond numbers and deliverables.
2. Focus on Clients Individually
The second “human” in the human-to-human strategy is your client, but typical customer retention metrics may leave your clients feeling like just another number. A capable professional services automation (PSA) system can help your organization focus on the client’s needs from front end sales to back end office management. Besides using powerful tools to keep clients at the center of your business, Mark Klein of Loyalty Builders Inc. explains client loyalty with a macro vs. micro concept. Rather than focusing on customer retention — a high-level or macro idea that looks at your entire client base as a whole — loyalty is a micro metric that highlights the value of each client individually.
Klein’s company evaluates every customer with a risk score, which focuses on the customer’s likelihood of making a purchase within the next 12 months. Your metrics may be based on your client’s likelihood of using your services again within a certain period of time. These measurements allow Klein’s company to incentivize customers, rewarding customers with higher loyalty, and making offers specific to each customer’s preexisting buying behaviors. Viewing each of your customers as individual assets will allow you to market to each of them in a way that maximizes the relationship — making everyone a winner.
3. Ask Tough Questions About Client Relationships
It can be easy to evaluate client relationships in terms of the rapport between contacts, but Mike Schultz, Co-President of global sales training company RAIN Group, recommends looking at the actual business value your company provides for each client. He suggests organizations ask a series of tough questions about their clients, including whether the client views you as a partner, and what your client would say if a rival service suggested your client replace you.
If you find the answers to these questions show that you’re an essential partner, you’re in a good position to retain clients long term. If the answers aren’t what you had hoped, you now have goals for where you want the client relationship to be. That may include developing the relationship to the point that they would never consider replacing you with another service company.
4. Keep Your ‘Why’ Close
An intuitive way to further develop the connection between your organization and its clients is to keep your company’s “why” at the forefront of your business. John L. Evans, Jr., Executive Director of Knowledge Labs Professional Development, explains that an individual’s “why” may be what leads to “purpose beyond self,” but that for an organization, the “why” leads each employee to “create extraordinary moments for clients” — something clients will see when it’s apparent your employees aren’t just going through the motions.
- If your organization has a mission statement or even an unspoken but deeply held vision, make sure employees know what values should drive their service delivery for your clients.
- If your organization doesn’t have a compelling “why,” get started on one by evaluating what your organization has set out to accomplish.
- If your employees don’t know why they’re fulfilling your service orders, your clients may not know why either.
Retaining clients for a service-based business may require a different strategy than retaining a purchase-based customer, but the end goal is the same: keep your clients coming back for more.
How does Professional Services Automation (PSA) differ from project management (PM) software? And how can you choose the right comprehensive solution to run your business?
Here are a few key differentiators between PSA and PM.
1. PSA Puts Customers at the Center Instead of Projects
With project management software, the emphasis is on projects. PM software helps you track tasks and collaborate so employees can keep up with their day-to-day work. Your customers may see the end result of your internal team’s work, but that could be incidental. A PM tool could be purchased solely for the benefit of your employees, regardless of how it affects your customer experience. Professional service automation (PSA) puts customers at the center. The focus is on optimizing the client’s experience, not just on tracking individual tasks.
Because the system has multiple touchpoints with the customer’s experience, employees have greater access to customer information across the board, while customers feel more taken care of across the entire scope of your business.
2. PSA Connects the Front Office to Sales and Service Delivery
Beside providing your customer with an better end-to-end experience, a PSA system provides your employees with much better visibility across the entire service delivery pipeline. The front office, the back office, and every service employee in between can see what the other departments have contributed to the customer’s account, whether that’s contact information, projects working and delivered, or expectations for future services.
3. PSA Integrates Seamlessly From CRM to Accounting
Many PSA or PM systems can integrate with your CRM. But many of them also aren’t easily set up, a problem that usually results in service delivery being run separately from the CRM. A great PSA will include a strong PM feature set and integrate closely with your CRM. Klient Software is built natively within Salesforce, meaning integration isn’t a concern — it’s built to run together from the outset.
From the moment a customer is entered into the CRM as a contact, everything can run seamlessly with the PSA.
4. PSA Generates Revenue
Professional services automation systems are particularly helpful for generating revenue, for a few reasons. If you have billable hours or services and you’re using a Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) system, having a PSA system to help you adjust profitability, margin, bookings, and revenue on the fly can lead to easier and greater revenue increases.
Additionally, SPI Research recently conducted an ROI study on professional services automation. The results found that a $200,000 investment in software and implementation could lead to nearly $23 million in increased revenue and reduced costs, based on a firm of 172 people — an ROI of 115 times the initial investment.
5. PSA Includes Many Other Modules Beyond Project Management
Professional services automation isn’t just different from project management — it encompasses it. But PSA also encompasses many other services and modules. This includes (but is not limited to) time entry, billing, invoicing, CPQ, proposals, document management, expense tracking, calendar management, revenue recognition, forecasting, and customer communities.
Because PSA includes so many more options than just project management, it’s capable of replacing many more systems than just PM.
Conclusion: PSA Is an End-to-End Service Delivery Solution
The right PSA system for your organization can provide or replace a PM-only tool while providing many additional solutions for your business. And because all of these tools work together within one PSA, everyone at your organization will have greater access to your customers’ information.
That means more profitable client engagements, increased customer retention, and more revenue over the life of the customer, just by using the right PSA system.