Just a few years ago if you traveled in small town India you would see billboards offering medical transcription training. Students would be put through rigorous training to learn medical terms and also go through intense training to understand the American physician's accent on each of these highly technical medical terms. For the assurance was that once the doctor dictated notes in America and uploaded the audio file the transcription would be available the next morning in America – with 99% accuracy at a fraction of the cost to transcribe in America. Today medical transcription is slow business in India.
Tax preparation was also an activity that paid some extra money to the tax preparer who did not have to be a CPA and even CPA's had some extra income during tax season. Similarly, legal documents like Wills provided simple work and a modest fee to the typical town lawyer in America.
All these three professional services type of work in America got outsourced but not to India or another low cost location. They got outsourced to self-service technology. Here is what is happening:
- Medical transcription is becoming obsolete as electronic medical records via hand held devices become more accessible. Doctors follow evidence based medicine and check mark boxes on their devices. When integrated with insurance billing the diagnosis,treatment and billing is all squared away. Perfectly.
- Tax preparation is also taken over by tax preparation software . For next year Intuit the makers of Turbo Tax will offer free telephone advise to capture a segment of customers who feel challenged and go to tax prep chains like H&R Block. Turbo Tax via self service costs $44 and a return at H&R Block costs $188.
- Legal Document Services are expensive and according to a report 80% Americans cannot afford legal fees and therefore take the help of sites like Legalzoom and Rocket Lawyer. In the process the local lawyer loses fees.
So no matter what your organization's service offering, be sure that what can be done by self-service technology will be done so by your customers. It is therefore timely to think about expanding your services to offer unbeatable value to your customers. Value that builds on your expertise and the work that your customer can do via self service. A tough one sometimes when you are competing against self-service technology and not just low-cost overseas competition.