Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Twitter For Service Firms – You Cannot Be Serious!

The world is full of independent firms that deliver some form of service to their clients. 

Service Firms (SFs) or Professional Service Firms (PSFs) provide professional services to other companies or to the public – essentially they sell time, either on a project-by-project basis, on a one-off basis or on some form of monthly contract and/or retainer - the focus is on people interacting with people and serving the customer rather than transforming physical goods.

The array of SFs is enormous. Everything from an accountant, a copywriter, a solicitor, an advertising consultant through to a Zen Buddhism teacher or an independent zoo inspector. The list is endless.

For me, the term Service Firm or Professional Service Firm loosely describes these businesses. 

While each industry is fiercely defensive about its uniqueness, the extraordinary thing is that the similarities are huge. You can deliver or write a piece for accountants or solicitors or web designers and it can be identical and will be well received as long as you cut and paste the right profession name throughout the piece.

Typically, the independent Professional Service Firm has some common characteristics that give the PSF some unique qualities. The ‘product’ is a service and is intangible which means that…
·         It cannot be stored
·         It gets consumed at the time that it is delivered so it cannot be re-used
·         It is almost instantly perishable.

Having banged on endlessly about service firms in my book, Grow Your Service Firm, it is great to see that they do share common qualities.

Orange Business reports that the public is increasingly turning to Twitter specifically in search of professional services – from accountants to architects. Over the past two years there has been a six-fold increase in people using Twitter to ask for business recommendations around common professional services such as legal, financial and technical.

The top five of professional services searched for on Twitter are:

1. Web Designer
2. Solicitor
3. Accountant
4. Architect
5. Copywriter.

Top of the list and most in demand are web designers. However, their popularity must surely be skewed by the fact that tech-savvy individuals are more likely to be on Twitter.

Despite the web designer bias, second on the list are solicitors. In my experience most are not aware of the fees they could be missing out on by not engaging via Twitter.

This list is also the exact target market for the Grow Your Service Firm ‘ology’ which focuses on developing an ‘expert’ focus’. What all these businesses often have in common is a common set of problems, usually exacerbated by being great at their job (technically) but not so good at knowing how to run or grow a business.

Being accessible, being where your potential clients are, seems like a no-brainer to me. The ones that are ‘online’ have a great advantage over the rest. And the ones that are not online… 

Do I need to spell this one out?
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