An evolution is happening in the professional services sector, and smart decision makers have to roll with the punches to stay ahead. We’ll walk through a few of the leading trends, so you can get a sense of our approach.

Introduction

Professional services: they help customers get their taxes filed, their legal issues resolved, and their marketing strategies, well, strategized. And that’s only a small fraction of the sector. Whether you’re in architecture, accounting, engineering, legal, or a different area altogether, competition is fierce for professional services—and getting fiercer. With large consultancies that seem to have unlimited resources, remote contractors who are willing to do the job faster and cheaper, and even automation of the services you charge for today—it seems there’s always someone just around the corner, ready to take work off your plate. The challenge for today’s professional services: understanding your unique value so you can stand apart from the crowd.

We want to help you drive your professional services business in the right direction. Here are a few industry trends to think about.

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We don’t want to brag, but the work we do isn’t possible without some serious skills. Our team members have mastered a range of disciplines that help us create beautiful, impactful work. Here are just a few of our capabilities.

Industry Trend #1

Who’s afraid of a little AI: folding in automation

People solve problems. But they’re not the only ones—and automation is here to prove it. In fact, according to one Oxford study, there’s a 94% chance that many activities currently performed by accountants and auditors will be automated by 2025. Should decision makers in today’s professional service feel threatened? Not necessarily.

Right now, it’s easy to feel like two opposing forces are at play: you can either offer a personalized customer service experience—or a cheaper, faster, automated one. Instead, we think they can work together. In this scenario, professional service providers would be able to offload smaller tasks to automated services, freeing up valuable personnel to focus on personalized solutions and better customer service. Yes, in the short-term, it could mean a loss of job positions. We know that’s a serious subject that can affect your internal teams. But in the long-term, it would allow your business to capture greater value from your employees.

The key to making it happen: understanding the unique value of your business and having the resources to communicate it. Softway can help. We’re experts at identifying the core beliefs that run throughout businesses of all sizes, and then using those truths to establish engaging brand stories. (If you think about it, we’re our own success story. Over the past two years, we’ve worked to identify our unique strengths and have designed an approach to our brand that feels “totally Softway”—even including this website.) We can help you do the same for your business.

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Industry Trend #2

Remote culture: Building on the “virtual firm”

30 years. That’s about how long the internet has been publicly available. (And yes, we feel pretty old right now typing this.) During that time, companies have been on board for some history-making milestones: the introduction of e-commerce, the dot.com bubble (and bust), and most recently, the rise of the virtual firm.

If you’re not familiar with the term, the “virtual firm” is a company that is either partially or fully employed by people who work remotely—whether that’s from home or from satellite offices. With the virtual firm, growth is less about a company’s physical footprint, and more about access to the right talent. The upside is, well, all the things we know about remote workforces: lower overhead costs, greater productivity, and a wide-open hiring pool. One of the major downsides, though, can be a void of company culture.

Why does culture matter? Along with making it easier to recruit, a strong company culture can help with retention, morale, and even the feeling of freedom and safety that employees need to share groundbreaking ideas. When leaders understand the importance of a strong culture, they can find ways to reinforce it—even in a dispersed workforce.

And we’re here to help. We have seasoned experts on our team who not only understand the ins and outs of establishing a strong work culture, but also know how to educate leadership to help really get there. In fact, our leadership training has transformed operations for many professional clients—including a Fortune 5 company. Learn more here.

Industry Trend #3

Raising the bar: meeting expectations with educated customers

In the modern world of professional services, customers aren’t just educated—they’re aware of the immense choice they have. Add social media and online recommendations into the mix, and you have a hyper-aware customer base that expects the highest level of quality.

Of course, every company wants to deliver on a promise of exceptional service. But how do you make sure that idea extends from your core internal stakeholders to your entire internal team? It’s important that every employee understands their purpose within the company. The most successful businesses don’t simply reinforce the need to do a great job. They expect every person to be able to consult, guide, and teach customers—and that’s a very different way of thinking.

Softway can help. We can design programs that help marry your company’s vision with expected team outcomes—and then train for those core behaviors every step of the way. It’s all about shifting mindsets, and helping people understand where they fit into the big picture. Read up on it here.

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Now that we’ve given you some food for thought—let’s think on it together.

We’re here with expert strategists who can help you get to the heart of your business needs—and seasoned UX, creative, and development teams to create the solutions. If you want to get together, look at some past work samples, and talk through some possible approaches, we’re ready when you are.

We save your information to contact you. If you want to delete your information, please email Khalid Hakim at contact@softwaysolutions.com

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