Build a booming practice: 4 essential tips

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Australian financial services marketer, Peter Bowman has released his first book on professional advice marketing called Service 7. The book offers seven principles to help your professional service business deliver experiences clients will love.

With permission of the publisher, we are pleased to share a section of Principle 6: Pay proper attention to service design, from Service 7.

Principle 6: Pay proper attention to service design

Most professional advisers, in my experience, have never taken the time to map out their service delivery process in detail. Service design however, is the one factor that can significantly add value to your client and to your business. Quite simply, service design is a map of your client experience and business processes that deliver value to the client and profitable outcomes to your business.

Great service design can also help your staff to provide excellent customer service as it will help everybody to know who does what and at what stage of the service they do it.

Service design hasn’t been done to death yet in business text books and chances are you will have trouble finding a book that talks about it in practical terms. The topic is an emerging area of marketing and hopefully, Service 7, can add something useful to the wider marketing conversation on the topic outside of professional services too.

To start your service design process, sit by yourself or with your practice manager in front of a large blank sheet of paper or a white board. Think about a recent client and map out what you did for them. It might look like this:

  • They booked an appointment
  • Appointment confirmation letter or email sent
  • Client had the first meeting – a needs analysis/fact find
  • Cost of advice outlined to client
  • We wrote a Strategy paper or Advice statement
  • Client came back and we discussed the document
  • Client decided to proceed and we signed the paperwork
  • Client paperwork lodged/implemented
  • Client followed up to confirm implementation
  • Clients pays their bill
  • Client put on a database
  • Client enters a review process at a prescribed future date. 

The next step is to share this service design with your staff. Ask them if it is what actually happens. Challenge them to make it better. And while you’re at it, challenge yourself to make it better.

Tips for implementation

  • Be honest about your service design – what you’re doing – and what you’re not doing.
  • Take the time to map your process in writing – who does what, in what order, and how and when the client pays.
  • Engage your staff to participate in the refinement of your service design, after all they are the ones helping you to deliver services to clients.
  • Look at your service design through the eyes of your client and see how it works for them, through their own experience.

This extract is from Service 7: Transform the way you think about marketing your service business and is subject to copyright. Text © Peter Bowman, 2012.