Does your professional services organization deliver? When you provide services to paying customers, how, when, and what you deliver are your top priorities. Think of it this way: if you order pizza, and the delivery is late, the order is incomplete, and the pizza is cold, you’re going to be one unsatisfied customer, right? So you then lodge a complaint, demand a refund, and take your business elsewhere in the future, impacting the pizza chain’s bottom line. The same scenario is true for your organization. If you don’t deliver services correctly, on time, and in a satisfactory manner, customers will soon start to look for other organizations to meet their needs.
Read on to learn more about the top challenges professional services organizations face when it comes to delivery, and the ways the right professional services automation (PSA) tool can help you meet your customers’ needs…every time.
Challenges in Service Delivery
If you’re managing service delivery manually or using a PSA tool that isn’t the right fit, you’re throwing a lot of time and effort into what could ultimately be a futile endeavor. These and other inefficiencies could lead to major revenue loss for your organization. These are the top three roadblocks many service-based organizations find standing in the way of satisfying their customers.
Inadequate or Poor Planning
Often, the success of your project isn’t achieved upon delivery; it’s determined even before you ever begin. If you don’t plan ahead, you’re likely to be left with disappointed customers. Poor planning for service delivery includes failing to communicate with your clients, a lack of transparency, and not setting expectations around time, cost, and potential limitations. Remember that effective service delivery should be built around a relationship, and relationships take effort to maintain and grow. If you aren’t planning ahead and communicating effectively with your customers, they may decide to end the relationship.
Lack of Visibility and Insight
Service delivery success hinges on time management and budget expectations. Your customers want to know when they can expect delivery and how much your services will cost them, and they’re likely to want updates along the way. If you don’t have real-time visibility into critical data and business metrics, you won’t have adequate responses to their requests for information. Moreover, you won’t be able to plan ahead for scheduling or cost overruns.
Imbalanced Utilization and Margins
Striking a balance between billable hours and overhead and administrative costs is always a challenge, but when you don’t have the right PSA tool, it becomes even harder. If you can’t see utilization rates at a glance and understand how your resources are working, their skills, and what their availability is, you’ll find your resources being unproductive and margins shrinking. In the end, you’ll have to deal with cost overruns that could result in either a dissatisfied customer or a big blow to your bottom line.
How Professional Services Automation Can Help You Deliver
Luckily, there are actionable steps you can take to avoid these challenges or deal with them efficiently and effectively when they arise. A PSA tool that gives you real-time insights and immediate visibility into the data will go a long way in improving your service delivery. Here are the top ways you can use professional services automation software to overcome service delivery obstacles:
Set Yourself Up for Success
The answer to poor planning is better planning. While that may sound like an oversimplification, it’s true for all professional services organizations. When you set the right expectations upfront, you’ll be able to deliver what your customer needs, in a timely manner, and within their budget. PSA makes pre-delivery planning seamless and simple by providing you with the insights you need to maximize your resources. When you’re able to see which of your resources has the skill sets and availability needed to deliver, you can make intelligent decisions and allocate effectively. And when your PSA provides accurate historical data, you can better plan deadlines and budgets you know you’ll be able to meet.
Be Agile and Adaptable
Of course, all the planning in the world can’t prepare you for every change and unexpected delays. Often, your customers’ expectations will evolve, and those expectations can throw a wrench into even the best-laid plans. Having a PSA that offers real-time data and clear visibility in how projects are progressing will help you adapt quickly and get ahead of overruns before they happen. Real-time insights will also help you prioritize, so you can be sure that the most important tasks are being completed by the right resources.
Lower Overhead and Increase Billable Hours
The more time spent on administrative tasks, the slimmer your margins become. Even a slight increase in billable utilization will improve your profitability, so when you have a PSA that takes some of those admin responsibilities off your plate, you’ll be able to devote more time to revenue generation. The right PSA will give you instant insight into utilization rates, so you know where time is being spent and where you can make improvements. When your resources are able to spend their time on billable hours rather than manual data entry, you’ll be positioned to meet deadlines and budgets, and deliver within your customers’ expectations.
Want to learn more about how the right PSA tool can improve your service delivery? Find out about current trends in the professional services industry, top concerns for professional services firms, and best practices for managing projects, clients, and employees.