Professional Services: Documented, Flexible & Agile

Peter Drucker once said “Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it.”

If you are in the business of selling products, it is a recommended good practise to back it with professional services unless you’re an IKEA. Even IKEA now offers professional services like delivery, assembly, installation etc.

There are multiple factors driving the requirement of professional services;

  • Higher competition: With world going flat, there is enhanced competition; both from local as well as international players, in every product segment both. Attaching professional services provides a clear competitive advantage
  • Adding value to an offering: Buyers will prefer a vendor/supplier that offers a full suite of products a service to ensure a comprehensive solution. Including professional services enhances the product offering
  • Securing larger customer share of valet:  It is common knowledge that it is easier to upsell to an existing customer than acquire a new one. Professional Services provides that additional revenue stream especially with the audience that is willing to spend
  • Building customer loyalty: Adding professional services to a sale adds to customer stickiness and enhances the odds of customer loyalty with customer having multiple products/services
  • Enhanced customer experience: Professional Services provides a very good chance to impress the customer leading to enhanced customer experience

With all the obvious benefits of PS, it is important that these services are set up in a professional way. Your sales teams can leverage PS as an additional selling point or differentiator. Certain organizations do it very well and in fact their very business model is based on PS. E.g. consider Dell. The great North American auto industry is based on PS with almost all dealerships now having a full blown financing services, repair and maintenance services.

What to do if you’re a buyer? I strongly recommend that you choose a vendor that not only provides the product but offers professional services including post sale service and support. Now the bigger question becomes what you do if there are multiple vendors to choose from… I suggest you follow these steps;

  1. Tabulate all the vendors with their products and services
  2. Check out and focus on the following within the PS offered;
    1. Are the services documented
    2. Do they have certified or trained technicians
    3. Service Level Agreements (SLA)
    4. Termination or exit terms
    5. Level of customization
    6. Flexibility of the offering
    7. Any other feature that is important for your team E.g. hours of operation, availability to talk in multiple languages and various time zones etc.
    8. Once you made a selection, try to talk to their service manager and seek references
    9. Given all things equal, compare the pricing
  3. Make the final decision

Remember, Good Service is good business

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