Moving from yesterday's practice to the practice of today.
It seems apparent the financial services industry is in a transition phase. Lately it seems my news feeds have been bombarded with talk of 'Artificial Intelligence' and 'Machine Learning' based improvements driving positions in professional services to redundancy. On a personal level it's frustrating when doomsday predictions surface, perhaps due to my unwavering optimism, though probably because I translate it to mean some businesses can't keep up with the pace of now.
The focus in financial services is changing from concerns around growth, efficiency and how much profit is to be made and more towards fostering strong relationships and systems. This change reveals a more customer-centric focus on servicing clients’ needs – beyond basic expectations – not just doing the required work.
So what does it take to bring your business to the next level. Here are 4 steps to consider that will bring your business from hard work to smart work.
Step 1: Use Cloud-based and systems and integrated software
Cloud technology whether you like it or not has taken over the consumer market on a whole new level. Being able to access your files wherever you go would of seemed impossible 20 years in the past. Now that we have this luxury it's a pretty good idea to take advantage. Cloud-based systems are integral in transitioning your job from data entry to trusted advisor – and you can bet your clients will appreciate the extra flexibility also. You can trust our experience in this field – we have felt the extensive benefits of using cloud-based systems such as Xero for many years.
Step 2: Manage Workflow and propagate realistic targets.
The division of labour is perhaps the most effective tool in increasing productivity. Employees typically work pretty well when you give them something to do and clearly set expectations. When you divide labour you will be considering the strengths of your employees and the tasks that would best suit them. This is how you establish efficient workflow processes.
If you find a particular employee is better at the back room work and another suits a more social role. Perhaps it's time to take advantage of that social skill with your clients and learn more about their business and how your service interacts with their goals. Trust your instinct. They might just love your concern enough to share their appreciation - bringing you more business. Worst case scenario is that they feel they are satisfied customers in good hands.
Once you find your teams rhythm, ensure you lay out clear scopes of work, better managing expectations from clients and the strengths of your employees.
Step 3: Avoid playing games with existing and prospective clients
You're a small to medium business – what will separate you from a large business is the ability you give your clients to speak with a human. In a world where everything is so fluffy and client conversion plans are overly based on statistics – the importance of humanity is neglected. When you allow somebody to speak to a person and not a machine you can win huge contracts. Personally, I avoid using any service I can't speak to a human within 5 minutes on – including banks and internet service providers.
When you offer a service it's worthwhile to think whether you are demonstrating;
- Care for your client's security
- Honesty and clarity
- Confidence in the value of your offering
- Management of expectations for the consumer
Step 4: Align your marketing with your service offerings
"Because advertising and marketing is an art, the solution to each new problem or challenge should begin with a blank canvas and an open mind, not with the nervous borrowings of other people's mediocrities. That's precisely what 'trends' are - a search for something 'safe' - and why a reliance on them leads to oblivion."
- George Lois
This quote cleverly points out how people are too timid and anxious about doing the wrong thing, so they punish their business by blending in with and supporting, their competitors and established business. So how do you stand out in today's saturated market amidst automation? You don't need to be different – you just need to be clear about what you do and complete your work to a high standard.
Think about it for a second – if I asked you what Telstra Air was, would you know? Not unless you had it explained and awareness needs to be brought. You need to have your online presence say exactly what you do or the saturation of everyone having a social media advertising party will only push you into obscurity. So be clear honest and upfront when shouting out to the world about how good your business is. It's worth it.
If you need assistance with bookkeeping, software transitions or financial reporting give us a call today on (08) 9243 0681. Alternatively, if you would like some assistance offloading your social media marketing also – please don't hesitate to contact us. We will be there to answer your call.