Professional services firms need more innovative content and commercially flexible solutions
One of the challenges facing fee earners at professional services firms is doing work that they aren’t experts at, especially when it comes to creating client facing content and documents that bring out the right messages while maintaining the firm’s brand look and feel. Although the final output is ultimately client facing, which may be considered critical activity, fee earners are still burning a great deal of their own time designing and formatting documents. That could be spent on core fee earning activities, which they were hired to do and would typically excel. This challenge is compounded for firms that have to meet regulatory guidelines and strict deadlines; with fiscal and regulatory implications on the line if those deadlines aren’t met.
Traditional solutions are not delivering enough value
Many businesses, particularly in the professional services industry, are seeking alternative solutions with greater flexibility that save time, increase creation speed, while delivering impactful client facing content that differentiates them from the competition.
Traditionally, many firms would resort to bringing in freelancers to help plug skills and resource gaps in this area. The challenge with this option is that each time a firm engages a freelance resource, they have to spend valuable time onboarding, training, conveying their culture, business strategy, brand guidelines and what they’re trying to achieve. All this for a resource that is only temporary. Even though they may use the same freelancers on a recurring basis, there is still the need to bring them up-to-speed or onboard new ones when the regular ones aren’t available. The time and effort needed to have a series of reports, infographics, or regulatory document completed does not make for an agile briefing process.
The associated management burden combined with unpredictable costs are driving firms to seek more effective solutions.
Firms are switching to outsourcing models that provide greater efficiency and simplicity
Professional services firms are seeking service providers who are best equipped at dealing with peaks and troughs in document volumes, while embedding themselves in the company’s brand and culture and can just deploy the work depending on the need. With that, they are reaping the benefits:
- Greater integration – A well-established support team is ultimately easier to deal with. A strong design and production services partner can embed itself within a company’s culture, learn the processes and the brand, know where to get the information and pull it into a report or creative document. Once that’s set up – the team is there when the firm needs it.
- Greater stability – Freelancers can come and go, whereas a service provider will have a smooth handover process to deal with any new joiners and leavers – eliminating the need for continuously re-onboarding and briefing new freelancers – thus freeing up fee earners time to focus on more value-enriched tasks.
- Greater scalability – Partnering with an expert support service provider allows flexibility when it comes to fluctuating volumes – especially when it comes to reporting. A core central team can deal with spikes and dips in volume, even when unanticipated, while pulling support from their wider network to help meet peak demand as needed.
- Greater security and better relationships – Freelancers can work for multiple clients, which can pose an information security concern, whereas an outsourced delivery model provides a dedicated core team that’s able to forge stronger relationships with internal stakeholders, while creating a secure environment that guards against potential information breaches or conflicts of interest.
- Reduced costs – Sometimes it’s more about getting the job done accurately and on time, than about money, especially for those firms that operate in regulated environments. However, businesses are finding that taking an alternative approach reduces costs associated with overtime and temporary staffing, real estate and operations, without compromising service delivery.
Ultimately, firms need to work with content creators who work as an extension to their business
Partnering with a support team well-versed in high impact content creation takes businesses a step further because it works as an extension of the firm’s marketing or brand team to do that necessary production execution in two ways:
- Making messages resonate – Sometimes it’s not about high-end creative, it’s about making a document “work” – the flow of content, the key takeaways, creating pull-out quotes and incorporating the right charts and infographics. A strong document production team challenges the business on their visual creation.
- Quality focused precision work – Taking the firm’s reporting template and brand guidelines, pulling in the right data and producing accurate and timely reports that meet regulatory guidelines when necessary.
Ultimately, partnering with a team that’s easy to deal with can provide the flexibility and scalability when required will improve completion times and quality, while freeing up fee earners to do what they do best in their field.