by Tony Vidler
Many professional services firms are actively lifting service levels as a means of differentiation from the competition – and it is an excellent strategy that leads to a good business.
The zone of maximum potential value for a services firm though is elevated service levels over and above the competitors as well as doing different things in different ways to your competitors.
The typical practice does things the same way as the majority of their competitors, and with the service level also being essentially similar to competitors the perception of service is relatively low. Relatively….because that has become the lowest common professional denominator. So average service is actually low service in real terms.
If a firms’ strategy is to compete on service, then the standard must be exceptionally high in order to break away from the mainstream and differentiate.
If however a firms strategy is founded upon innovation – doing new and different things to the competition – they are utterly dependent on the strength of the product or service offer, which is a dangerous place to be. If however that innovation is couple with higher than average service delivery, then you’ve hit the sweet spot where you are completely separated from the average competitor.
That is the zone of maximum potential value: Value to clients….value in revenue terms….value in growth and capitalisation terms.
The real money for professional services firms long term is in utilising twin strategies of exceptional service together with a differentiated service offering.