Most professional services firms, and many other companies where services are a significant component, are troubled by customers who do not perceive or understand the true value of what they are providing. They have difficulty getting customers to pay for upfront diagnostic/assessment work, concept modeling, prototype development, and so on. In some cases, professional services firms have difficulty sustaining the customers awareness and proper valuation of the work done during an engagement. This is a problem in financial services, for example, where planning and execution services seem invisible, or entirely obvious, and thus not valued by the customer. After all, I can do stock trades myself on the Internet. Where is the value-add from paying a financial services firm a management fee to do that?
Here is a conceptual model for improving how customers value services.
There are three basic phases in a service event or client engagement:
- Pre-service awareness – establishing expectations
- Service engagement – making the process visible
- Post-service follow up – the ongoing engagement
Lets walk through each of these phases and explore opportunities to increase customer perception of our value to them. Continue reading