Your next step is to align your line of services and products with the wants and needs of your target market, and your Business Model.
To do that, you need to know how your services are accepted by your clients, how they fit with the Business Model you are developing, and with the Marketing Strategy you are implementing, specifically, to your services mix.
It’s about time you learned about the Rainmaker corollary to Chris Anderson’s “Long Tail.” Download the Rainmaker’s Services IDAC Scoring Worksheet and take a look at it.
IDAC scoring works the same way LSRP scoring works. It is an absolutely simple way of evaluating your service offerings, their profitability and your ability to deliver on those services.
Just as LSRP Scoring gives you a multi-dimensional way to look at your clients, IDAC Scoring gives you a multi-dimensional way to look at your services.
And, you can see how well each service or product you offer fits with your target Business Model.
Let’s take a look at each of the factors in the IDAC Score.
Innovation – Your professional reputation as a market leader is enhanced by your ability to innovate. No matter what the market share of an innovator, those that follow are seen as laggards and copycats. Market share of these copycats is almost always a fraction of the service innovator.
As long ago as 1986, Professors Urban, Carter, Gaskin and Mucha, determined that the market share of laggards generally was a function of their entry order.
To First Innovator
Professor Urban determined that firms who offered copycat or “me too” services, without adding any benefits or advantages to the clients had a high failure rate and became a drag of the firm.
Professor Urban’s study also disclosed that the order in which firms entered the market for a specific service also affected the quality of their service and firm profitability relative to the service innovator.
The only caveat offered was that a late entrant to the market could only overcome the innovating firm by offering a superior service and expending significant marketing dollars.
However, merely having a ‘unique product’ which is ‘first to market’ does not ensure the successful adoption of your service. New services do have a high failure rate. Distinctiveness (“in appearance or performance”) does have a strong positive effect on success, and does add to service focus or differentiation.
In fact, according to Jennings, Jennings and Greenwood (2006), you need to be either exactly the same as your competitors, or radically different in order to succeed as a professional practitioner, and as we learned from Professor Gause, being the same is nothing more than a slow death for the underling, which is usually the new kid on the block, you.
What Jennings, et al, found, was that firms who tried to differentiate, but were not courageous enough to create a radically new solution, were even more unlikely to survive than firms who built their model with undifferentiated services.
Deliverability – Client satisfaction is a hard item to measure, but it can be approximated with how you perform. If you are consistently late with delivery of a service, or are missing deadlines when performing a service, then it may indicate that you are offering a service which you cannot effectively deliver. Therefore, our measure of dissatisfaction is the number of deadlines you miss.
You or your staff may not have the skills required to provide this service, clients may not be able to provide the information you need in order to deliver the service, or maybe even the service is not well defined, with your understanding of what is to be delivered at odds with what the client is expecting.
In either case, your business reputation will be affected.
The U.S. Technical Assistance Research Program a few years back disclosed that 31% of clients do not complain, even when experiencing a serious problem, while A.C. Nielsen reported that 70% of clients do not complain when they are dissatisfied.
The surveys also disclosed that even though the clients did not complain to the practitioner, 85% of the dissatisfied clients told an average of 11 others, while individuals who are satisfied with your services, will only tell 6 others.
Adoption – How well the solution offered by your business model fits the needs of your target market is reflected in the user acceptance of your service.
What portion of your clients are actively using this service?
Think about being the client. Would you rather have a financial statement with new features or would you rather have a relationship with your advisor that is committed to solving pretty much all your cash and financial problems — an accountant that not only provides financial reporting but, for example, also helps with your cash flow and profitability-related concerns so that problems are caught before they happen and don’t get unnecessarily serious or costly?
User adoption or acceptance of a service is a market signal that indicates the ability of your business model solution to fill the needs of your target market.
The adoption rate of new ideas follows a pretty standard “Bell Curve” pattern, which was first noted before World War II by a couple of agricultural researchers named Ryan and Gross who were working at the University of Iowa. Their study of how farmers adopted new seed corn hybrids was published in 1943, and was the basis for research published by E.M. Rogers in 1983 on the adoption of services.
What Rogers developed showed that there was a small group of people known as “Innovators,” who would adopt a new product or service, and if it was satisfactory, they would be followed by a group known as “Early Adopters,” whereupon the remainder of the market would follow.
The “Innovators,” they found, consistently comprised 2.5% of the total market for a service, and the “Early Adopters” formed another 13.5% of the market.
Contribution – How much does the service contribute to your practice revenue? If a service is not consistently providing you with a sufficient level of profit or return on assets employed, then it should be evaluated for its effect on the goals you have set for your practice.
Okay, now that you have some idea of what the value of each of your services is, what use is that information?
Well, for starters, knowing which services are most used by your clients points you in the direction you need to go in developing your practice.
After all, if you are offering a profitable service (C), that is popular with your clients (A), that doesn’t cause problems (D) while at the same time helps establish you as a market leader (I), it would seem that you might want to replicate the experience as much as possible, doesn’t it?
So, your assignment for this session is pretty simple, calculate the IDAC Score for each of your services, and rank them from highest score to lowest.
Now, with each of your services and products rated, you’ll want to review them to determine whether the services and products you provide add to your competitive ability, or are a drag on your practice.
I’ll show you how to do that with the IDAC Value-Performance Matrix and “Tall Head” Analysis, and then after that, teach you how to rate your resources and capabilities with a VRIO analysis. Your services and product line are an internal strength or weakness, and you’ll need to include them in your TOWS matrix analysis.
That’ll be in a few more sessions. But first, a little bit more about evaluating your services, and how to determine which ones to clone.
We’ll cover that in the next session.
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