The top three ways to drive growth and ROI in the services industry
By Paul Struthers, EVP & Managing Director of Canada, Sage
What do an accounting firm, an advertising agency and a plumbing company have in common? They all strive to deliver an exceptional customer experience in a highly competitive, client-driven field—the ‘services’ industry. And from supply chain and inventory management issues to customer service and sales, today’s services companies, while seemingly different, face similar challenges when it comes to growing their business.
As the Government of Canada website points out, service industries are a vital part of the Canadian economy—accounting for more than 70 percent of Canada’s GDP. The Service industries sector, which is made up of companies that primarily earn revenue through providing intangible products and services, employed more than 14.5 million people in 2017—up from 14.2 million in 2016.
And with the competitive business landscape in Canada leaving little margin for error, services companies need to be able to seamlessly adapt to the dynamic landscape to stay competitive, meet constantly changing client demands and drive growth.
Yet many of these businesses get stuck on mundane, repetitive tasks that add few benefits to the customer experience. Too often employees are weighed down by tedious administrative tasks that prevent them from giving customers the right attention. This results in unhappy customers, slows down productivity, stifles flexibility and inhibits growth for the business.
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To ensure that they are getting the best value out of the services they are offering, services companies must remove much of the ‘heavy-lifting’ from their day-to-day business processes. Or at least explore solutions that make it easier for employees to focus on the most important thing—serving customers.
Then there’s the issue of regulation and compliance. Many service organisations are required to maintain strict compliance with policies and procedures. Some of these regulations may seem mundane to the untrained eye but failure to comply could lead to severe consequences, including revoked licenses and hefty financial fines.
In today’s competitive business world, service companies need to be flexible and efficient to thrive. Consumer demands and market needs are dynamic. Being able to meet these needs as they evolve, and ensure customer satisfaction, is the differentiator when it comes to customer loyalty.
To drive growth in the services industry, businesses should consider these three key points:
Above all, businesses must get the basics right. Any services business is about adding value to the customer and that must always be the focus. All the other benefits that come with running a services business are great but losing sight of the customer and failing to prioritise their needs will have adverse results. The customer and their needs must be front and centre. Everything else needs to support that goal.
Removing the complexity from running a services business can also enable businesses to grow faster and stay agile. With minimal investment and resources, companies will enjoy rich, integrated functionality that supports all of their core business processes. Furthermore, these processes can be easily adapted to fit bespoke business structures, roles and preferences.
Services businesses must also ensure they are employing the appropriate solutions for the challenges they are facing. Many of the typical challenges faced by services companies often result from inefficient, outdated or siloed technology systems. For example, a company might have outgrown the capacity of its existing business management software, and inefficient legacy systems could be stifling growth potential. This can also lead to a lack of insight into the company’s operations – compromising profitability, competitiveness and growth.
According to a recent Forrester report, service companies can realise up to 197 per cent return on investment (ROI) within five months by implementing effective business management solutions. As well as receiving significant ROI within a short amount of time, services companies also reported strong improvements in financial management, purchasing, services and inventory management, customer service, and sales management.
There are also other, more unquantifiable benefits of effective business management solutions, like easier document management and improved access to business documents. For example, every vendor invoice can be scanned into a document management system with PDFs uploaded and attached to the records. Anyone that needs to see these documents can have access whenever and wherever without having to search physical cabinets. This results in services businesses being able to process transactions and respond to customer enquiries much more efficiently.
Canada is excelling at services, but by streamlining business processes, our service industry can prosper even more. Creating an efficient work environment will do wonders for your services business. Not only can it improve productivity and accelerate growth and ROI, it also enables businesses to focus on keeping the main thing, the main thing—delivering an exceptional customer experience.
About Paul Struthers:
Paul Struthers is executive vice president and managing director of Sage Canada. He is responsible for Sage’s overall business in Canada, working alongside Sage’s cherished network of customers, partners, and accountants.
Sage is a FTSE 100 company in the North East. Even though we've become a global company, we're still rooted in the North East, with our head quarters in Newcastle where around 1,500 of our people work. 6.2 million companies around the world use Sage products and services across 100 countries. We’re a company that lives and breathes business. Not just our own, but our customers’ businesses too. What makes us different is our people and our passionate commitment to doing what’s right for our customers, going the extra mile and exceeding their every expectation. We do this because we care. Because we care about business. Because we want our customers to be successful and to be able to do things the way they want to do them. We live and breathe business. Every day. That’s what we do.
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018
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