At the heart of almost every successful professional services firm is good client relations. Happy clients equal more revenue and less churn, which is just good business. That’s why more professional services firms are now adopting enterprise resource planning solutions (ERP).
Customer relations always play an important role in business. For professional services
organizations, whether the line of business is consulting, human resources, financial services, IT or law, this relationship with customers is even more important.
That’s because services almost by definition are relationships between people. Unlike the sale of a product or cloud service, professional services firms derive revenue from delivering value through people. This puts extra emphasis on the interaction between the people at a
professional services firm and their customers.
As such, professional services companies often live or die based on the health of their client
This is why more professional services firms are turning to ERP for client relationship
Wait, ERP for Professional Services Firms?!?!
When most people think about ERP, they think about the hulking backend systems that run
large industrial conglomerates such as General Electric and Coca-Cola. Manufacturing often
comes to mind specifically, because ERP was developed first for manufacturers.
While these businesses still rely on ERP, and many use the large ERP systems conjured by the stereotypes, all types of businesses have begun using ERP since the cloud changed how
software is delivered. Instead of these end-to-end business systems requiring large on-premise infrastructures and budgets to match, cloud ERP now is a scalable solution that any business can manage and even healthy small businesses can afford.
As a result, more businesses are adopting ERP for operations. This includes professional services organizations.
Why ERP for Client Relations
ERP is backend software that serves as the central nervous system for a business. It handles all areas of a professional services business, including project management, accounting, financial management, and human resources. One area where it is particularly valuable for professional services firms is how it helps with client relationships.
There are four main areas where ERP helps such firms with client relationships.
1. Better Client Communications
Having all client information in one centralized location helps with communication and
continuity of care. ERP provides a centralized platform for managing the full scope of client information, allowing professional services organization to access client data in real-time and provide more accurate, timely and informed responses.
With all information in one location, businesses can easily track communications, monitor client interactions, and respond quickly to inquiries, which can help build trust and strengthen client relationships.
Think of ERP as customer relationship management (CRM) on steroids. ERP has all the customer management functionality of CRM (indeed, CRM is a module within ERP), but it engages with the full scope of operational data so this client dashboard is even more complete than what comes with standalone CRM solutions.
2. Additional Time with Customers
ERP streamlines operations at professional services companies through automation,
standardized operational procedures, and advanced reporting. This improves overall business efficiency, which enables professional services organizations to spend more time interacting with customers and less time on manual processes and other elements of the business that cut down on client time.
With increased operational visibility, businesses also can identify inefficiencies and staff
allocation more effectively so each client is given the attention required for a happy ongoing
3. Improved Billing and Invoicing
Invoice management is an important component of client relations at professional services
firms. Timely, accurate, and clear billing keeps the financial side of the relationship healthy. It
also ensures profitability.
ERP can fully automate both invoicing and billing management, pulling billable hours and client project costs automatically during automated invoice creation. Automatic reports and
notifications also can help businesses stay on top of invoices outstanding, and ensure that bills are free of errors.
For a more complete look at how ERP can help with client billing, see our blog post, Maximizing Billing Accuracy and Efficiency with ERP.
4. Enhanced Project Management
Of course, the primary way that professional services firms maintain good client relations is
through delivering projects on time and under budget. This comes from good project
management—another key function that businesses get with ERP.
With the project management module in ERP solutions, professional services organizations get a robust, centralized platform for managing projects, tracking progress, allocating resources, and managing budgets more effectively.
There are many project management software solutions on the market, including ClickUp,
Asana and others. Unsurprisingly, these standalone solutions play up their integrations. Some even advertise that they are one app to replace them all. This emphasis is because project management benefits greatly from the ability to coordinate with other systems. But none of these standalone solutions comes anywhere near the integration that comes from having a truly centralized system like ERP that is built from the ground up for this integrated
Businesses that want beefy, flexible, integrated project management choose ERP.
Learn more about ERP for Professional Services
Because we’re a professional services firm ourselves, we understand the specific needs of
professional services firm and how to configure ERP to most efficiently meet those needs.
That’s why we’ve developed a prepackaged ERP solution for professional services firms. This turnkey ERP solution comes pre-configured for industry best practices and the modules that a typical professional services firm needs, which both cuts cost and implementation time.
To learn more, check out our ERP solution for professional services companies or contact one of our experienced ERP consultants by calling (801) 642-0123 or emailing email@example.com.