Reliability refers to the organizations ability to perform the service accurately and dependably. There are 3 basic components to this dimension, the ability to complete the service; 1) on time, 2) consistently (routine tasks should be completed in a consistent manner) and 3) error free, every time. An example of this is a public bus schedule. Many people rely on this service to get to work every day and they expect the schedule to be reliable, or they would file complaints and find alternative modes of transportation..
This characterization is based on the ability of the organization to be responsive to customer needs, with an emphasis on a willingness to respond promptly. Keeping a customer waiting, especially when there is no clear, obvious reason, generates a negative perception. For example, if you walk into a barbershop (or salon) and are asked to be seated when there is clearly a booth open, you may be inclined to walk out. However, if the person at the open booth notices you are getting anxious and they react quickly to what seems to be a service failure, by explaining that they taking an important call (ie. a relative was just put in the hospital), this can most likely fix the issue and create a positive perception (okay, considering the circumstances, this might be a bad example…!).
Assurance relies on the employee’s ability to establish trust, as well as their ability to instill confidence, with the customer. This aspect is heavily based upon the employee’s knowledge and their ability to maintain courteous communication. This dimension is characterized by 4 components; 1) competence (the ability to perform the service), 2) respect for the customer, 3) effective communication and 4) the basic attitude conveyed to the customer. If you were to establish a survey that aimed to evaluate your organizations assurance dimension, you would want to ask several questions specifically addressing these 4 components. Bear in mind that different industries have varying established expectations; the construction industry will be very different from the medical industry!
An employee’s ability to convey care and genuine concern for the customer establishes the dimension of empathy. There are 3 main components that a customer evaluates, even unconsciously, when gauging the level of empathy; 1) is the customer service representative approachable, 2) does s/he seem sensitive and 3) is the representative trying to understand my needs. An example of this dimension may be a customer that returns a faulty television to an electronics store. An empathetic customer service rep may take the responsibility for this issue and offer a store credit or replacement without questions asked.
This dimension refers to the company aesthetics. Does it physically appeal to the customer, at least in line with what the customer may expect for the specific industry; you wouldn’t expect a dentist office to look like the waiting room of a service station that changes oil. This area is broad and covers everything from the signage to cleanliness of the floor (and everything in between).
Top 5 Trends In Professional Services Marketing
The business marketing landscape is ever-changing and it can be challenging to keep up with the trends. I personally have a little difficulty keeping up with the pace of innovation across all the marketing channels and sifting through the endless flow of content. One of my jobs is to cut through all the sales pitches and work out what is relevant for our clients and how we can make them more competitive now and better prepared in the future.
The mobilization of audiences and content is probably the most significant trend that B2B marketers must rapidly adjust to. Clients can now consume and share content from any mobile device, meaning marketers must bake mobile into their strategy early on, not leave it as an after-thought. All your digital assets now need to be mobilized so that you can engage with your audience whose habits have changed overnight. Smartphones, tablets are now their preferred devices for consuming and sharing content on the go.
The customization and personalization of content to deliver relevance for the individual client or prospect will significantly impact your ability to connect and retain your audiences. Forward-thinking professional marketers are deploying strategies and next generation marketing technology to deliver am ultra-personalised content experience that adds more value to the client relationship. This approach may solve the ongoing battle between fee earners and relationship owners wanting to control what is best for their clients and marketing teams wanting to control the brand and review what is sent. The result is highly relevant content delivered on a perceived one-to-one basis, directly from the individual owning or managing the relationship and not the just the firm.
AThe reduction of content duplication across digital channels in order to free up marketing time for other initiatives. This is a content-centric approach to marketing that has been a popular strategy in consumer marketing, yet high-value services marketing has been slow to adopt due to the long sales cycle and internal complexities, among other factors. Advanced digital tools can now cater for the automated delivery of relevant content to contacts based on individual preferences for content, frequency and channel. The tools are surprisingly easy to implement and have a hugely positive impact on your ROI and team moral.
The latest innovations in decentralized marketing technology provide client-facing professionals and teams with access to intuitive digital tools and mobile apps, empowering them to execute and monitor their own client relationship marketing activities. These tools are now accessible via multiple devices, desktop, smartphone, and tablets, where content can be consumed, curated, shared and socialised without the involvement of a central marketing team. However, central marketing teams retain control of these tools as administrators, the result being less focus and time spent on execution and more energy focused on strategy.
Firms have invested untold amounts of money and time on CRM implementations with questionable results. The professional services CRM playing field has been levelled recently, with traditionally dominant installed platforms losing their momentum and struggling to innovate in this mobilised and cloud-based economy. There is already a shift towards marketing orientated CRM's platforms that have better usability and mobile baked in, with advanced marketing workflows and integrations to help navigate to long relationship sales cycle.