Client expectations are driving digital transformation across professional services

Ten years from now, the traditional professional services industry will look radically different.

Clients’ digital expectations which are shaped by their day-to-day experiences across social and consumer-level experiences online are driving the need for digital transformation.

Traditionally, Professional Services organisations have focused on building personal client relationships with selling models firmly rooted in the offline world. When IT developments have been made, they’ve tended to focus on internal cost and process efficiencies; back-office workflows, resource planning, modernising of existing IT architectures; instead of the customer experience – an area in which there are opportunities for real growth. Some firms are reluctant to set out their stall digitally, maintaining that the best way to demonstrate value is through a face-to-face or telephone conversation, but that conversation is moving online and if the digital dialogue isn’t compelling or reflective of the firm’s values and approach, it may never lead to an engagement.

However, professional services firms are increasingly showing an interest in the next steps; in a recent industry report by Raconteur, ‘improving the use of technology’ ranked as the number one priority for 94% of firms surveyed.

One of the most significant drivers to digitise professional services is fuelled by the clients’ digital expectations. So how exactly are customer expectations changing?

  • They want to acquire services digitally – More and more brand engagement and purchases are taking place online and clients are increasingly looking to use technology and automation for obtaining services and knowledge. This can be in the form of marketplaces for services, via knowledge sharing and crowdsourcing models or via virtual advisors backed by technology and artificial intelligence.
  • They’re expecting faster results – In a world where speed is now everything, customers are expecting immediate results and around the clock updates.
  • They want to build a remote relationship – customers are now used to accessing products and services online without the need for any face-to-face interaction. This expectation is now being carried through to how they acquire professional services.

So now we understand what clients are expecting, how can Professional Services firms deliver on this new wave of evolving client expectations?

Deliver the quality of service your customers expect

Emerging technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning can be applied to highly complex tasks, processes and decisions in many fields including healthcare, accounting, legal and consulting. The exponential growth in computing power combined with increasingly sophisticated approaches to artificial intelligence mean that systems can potentially do the hard work of reading and analysing vast amounts of legal opinions or medical research.

Enable your clients to access your services through a digital marketplace

More often, clients are expecting to enter into a digital marketplace to source services online and the more digital functionality you provide, the more likely they will be to engage and build a remote relationship.

Empower your clients by giving them transparency

The ability to source services via online marketplaces and insights in expertise and talent becoming digitised, will lead to more transparency. This enables clients to find the right person for the job in a much simpler way. Technology such as AI and ML can also transform how you communicate with your customers – from chatbots to mobile apps, you’ll be able to provide your clients with more information than was previously available.

Deliver services faster than ever before

Your customers are expecting fast outcomes. Automating processes and manual data manipulation can be a great way to reduce the amount of time on monotonous tasks while reducing human error. Machine learning systems are also gaining ground, promising to reduce the time needed for analytical tasks and helping to provide extra capacity for client facing tasks. Organisations can also automate back-end services in-line with front end services, again reducing the time and cost attending to these tasks.

So how do you begin the digital transformation journey?

It’s clear that technology is changing the professional services sector in several different and exciting ways – both client facing and back end. This trend is set to continue, and over the coming years there will be significant tools, apps and platforms focused on improving the customer or end user experience.

Find out how we partnered with PRS for Music to grow, scale and manage its cloud environment.

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