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3 Reasons to Create Customer Portal to foster long-term Potential Customers

creating customer portal

Today, your customers don’t just expect digital solutions. They demand them. They will not sit on hold and wait for a call center executive to answer their calls. Modern businesses are seeking an alternative to their dedicated call center services.

customer portal software is a popular alternative to call centers, and many enterprises are investing in creating an online customer portal where the customers can directly find their answers. Customer portals could include a knowledge-base, an informative blog of how-to and guides, a customer forum, tutorials and ready to access support through instant messages.

According to Gartner, 85% of customer service interactions will start with self-service by the end of 2022. In the future, businesses will be more likely to integrate artificial intelligence with their self-service feature like deploying chat-bots to help customers find answers quicker and easier.

A self-service customer portal can ensure business stability and continuity amid natural disasters and pandemics. You can take the current coronavirus pandemic, which restricts traveling. The American online traveling website Expedia encouraged travelers to submit refund requests through its customer portal to respond to a massive surge in tickets during the pandemic.

As an enterprise, your customer portal is your route to great communication with your customers, quick mitigation of their problems and empowered uses to stay loyal to your brand. If you are looking to create a customer portal, this article will help you make an informed decision. 

What is a Customer portal?

The customer portal is a secure website that provides your customers with a single access point to policy information, such as policies, invoices, delivery, orders, and online payments. The customer portal is available 24/7, 365 days a year on a desktop or mobile device such as a tablet, laptop or smart-phone.

The most common customer portal benefits include increased customer satisfaction, better communication, cost-effective removal, non-value-added services, data entry and stronger cash flow if you are processing payments online.

Businesses can also integrate customer portal with their primary systems like CRM management tools, ERP and accounting systems. It enables you to transfer information between your systems in real-time. The customer portal will help your employees and customers’ access and update relevant information quickly and efficiently.

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Does your business need a self-service customer portal?

With the web portal available 24/7, the customer portal is becoming the best option for interacting with the customer business. Customers choose to collect information and resolve product or service issues on their own or at a time convenient to them.

The customer self-service portal provides a secure space for customers to modify customer support for documents and policies, invoices, placing orders, issuing support or arranging payments. Key issues highlighting the need for customer portal solutions include:

  • Share and exchange related documents, e.g. Welcome Pack Policies
  • Expand customer support services by allowing customers to track support tickets and raise issues and track customers without hiring staff
  • Improve access to invoices and quotes
  • Let customers arrange online payments
  • Issue customer invoice
  • Order placement, including the ability to track delivery

Customer portal features

The criteria for your self-service customer portal will vary based on your specific business use and needs. When identifying which client portal software to use, it is best to find portal software that is easy to deploy and customize. The choice of customer portal features includes:

  • 24/7 secure self-service from desktop and handheld devices
  • Order placement and management
  • Ability to customize and add your company branding
  • Access to statements and online payments
  • Support for multi-currency and high load amount
  • Easy to embed in company websites
  • Credit Memo and Delivery
  • Ability to read/write information and custom CSS style options
  • Market-proven experience in multiple primary trading systems for easy data integration, e.g. SAP, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics etc.

Core reasons to have a customer portal for your business

Deploying a seamless customer portal experience requires more than just creating a space and adding fancy typography. It includes strategic planning and determination to offer the best output to your customer’s queries. Here are three ways to use customer portals to build a trusted customer relationship:

Collaboration

You can provide personal and specific information to your customers and partners that may be useful to them. It can be a shipping company that advises its customers on the departure of the truck or plane to use this information to place their orders.

Accessibility

The portal gives customers easy access to relevant information such as FAQs, troubleshooting tips, company and product details, and more. With a well-managed portal, all this information is accurate and up-to-date.

Better communication

The client portal saves the time it takes to certify that the client says they are. Because authentication may have already taken place, the customer now needs a successful login to communicate with their service provider. It breaks down barriers to communication that can ruin customer relationships.

Increase productivity

Every business strives to increase employee efficiency while increasing customer satisfaction. The online customer support portal does this. Customers can see the status of their ticket, so agents ask, “Have you seen my ticket yet?” No need to spend time answering such questions. In addition, the online customer portal reduces the total number of incoming tickets, leading customers to other options – such as suggested solutions – even after the ticketing process has begun. Suggested Solutions feature selects keywords and phrases as customer types.

Minimize human errors

By focusing on company information, you can share only the latest documents with true branding and signature. With good content management, the chances of ever getting the wrong document on the client portal are much lower.

Improve interaction

Giving your customers consistent client portal access can improve interactions between you and your customers. Customers are no longer bound by working hours and can deal with you outside of normal business hours. Collaborative work with clients can be better when people can work for themselves and at the most convenient time for either. This is extremely important, as remote working is on the rise.

Remove back-office administration (reduces administration costs)

One of the advantages of having a customer portal is that it reduces labor costs. It also increases the productivity of your employees and gives them job satisfaction as they will not have the monotonous task of answering the same question repeatedly. Waiting time on inbound calls and the number of abandoned calls will also be reduced.

Enhance awareness

Good service and quick solutions will make customers happy, and they will recommend your brand to others. It is well known that word of mouth is one of the most cost-effective and powerful forms of communication and can generate many commercial prospects. Isn’t this good for your business? Sure, it will.

Improve customer service

Most consumer portals share a variety of information that helps customers find solutions to their problems. Often, the problems are small and can be resolved without the intervention of the customer care executive. Companies can easily share ‘how to’ posts and videos, and they also have an FAQ page where customers can discuss common issues. Customers can also leave a query through their registered account, which you can answer via a simple email.

Resulting in stronger customer relationships

The customer portal enhances your engagement with your customers, a good indicator for a healthy business. It lets you float your ideas and get feedback from your customers. You can also write a blog post, article or create a video to show the current stage of development of a particular product. On-boarding customers is the best way to grow your company. More importantly, they agree with your business policies and decisions. In addition, creating product-related news, help and tips, and disseminating them to your customers will make them more knowledgeable and pave the way for stronger brand loyalty.

Simplification

The online portal helps you manage and streamline your data and your workflow so that the customer knows exactly what you want from them and your technician is always on the same page on your behalf. You have a focused location with accurate and up-to-date information, so there are no duplicate or conflicting information about open tasks or customer needs, and your customers always have access to their data.

Improved decision making (personalized customer experience)

The self-service portal allows you to personalize the customer experience. Address each customer by name whenever they log in. Keep a record of their products or past services and showcase relevant topics of expertise. Use information from past problems to find what customers want. In the future, you can use your customer data as the key to creating content for your portal that addresses common issues.

User-friendly portal

By creating a better user experience, customers are forced to recommend your company to their friends and family. However, to achieve this, you need to create relevant content that is easy to understand, such as FAQ pages and how-to videos. Also, make sure you add live chat or email features that customers can use to get instant help and feedback.

Cost-effectiveness

Investment is required to implement the help desk portal. However, it pays off in the long run because it reduces customer support costs for businesses. This way, customers can stay in touch with the company 24/7. Thus, there is no need to allocate additional resources to increase working hours or recruit more support staff.

Support for various portals

To make sure your customers use your Customer Online Customer Portal, communicate with your company as much as possible through the portal. Remember: this is not just an information portal. You are creating a sense of community in your customers. Companies with effective online customer portals make this website the center of their customer communication strategy.

Be sure to balance the use of omni-channel communication (public blogs, email, public social networks, etc.) with the need to make your customers accustomed to using your customer portal.

People will not use the portal to get information if they can get information elsewhere. If fewer people use your knowledge base and add their answers, then the value of the knowledge base decreases rapidly.

Do they know what is in it for them? Customers love to know, so providing specific information and updates to your community is a must-drive if you want to identify value. Whether it’s product information or company updates, your portal is a great place to connect with your customers and share the latest news.

Best practices for creating a customer portal

Well, we assure you! It’s time to start deploying your customer portal, and both your customers and your support team will thank you for it. Here are some best practices to keep in mind while creating customer portal.

Add elements of the organization

Customer portals can be a great way for your customers to connect more with your brand. Instead of calling you when something goes wrong, if you can build your customer portal somewhere that benefits them, you maximize the benefits you are providing.

Think about creating unobtrusive content for your product or service, such as thought leadership articles that can help them do their jobs better. If they are notified that you have published a new article, and they are waiting for it, you are adding more stickiness and value to your IT services.

Place the security front and center

It is important that your customers and partners feel safe using your portal and that their sensitive data with confidentiality and respect. You want your portal to be accessible only through secure credentials such as usernames or passwords or multi-factor authentication methods. This increases the likelihood that users will feel comfortable using the portal and direct their queries through the ticketing system.

Keep the portal up to date

If users do not receive relevant and accurate information, your portal will become a wasteland in interaction. If you have a technical problem, the first place to display it is on the main page of your portal, for example.

On the other hand, you can also use the portal to ensure that your technician has everything they need. In this case, it is more important to make sure your information is accurate and timely. For example, if you have multiple stakeholders working with the same client, the last thing you need is false or outdated records.

Add your brand values

Users are likely to feel confident in using your portal and feel it is a part of your service. It’s all about branding! Make sure you white-label your customer portal with your logo, brand and voice, color scheme, customizable knowledge base and FAQ that perfectly match your lake and feel.

Make your customer portal an edge over your competition

Microsoft comments that “90% of global customers now expect companies to offer self-online self-service customer portals.” One thing is clear: if you’re not giving it to your users, you’re losing a trick.

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Final Thoughts

The customer portal is great in many ways, such as communicating with customers and managing documents. Powerful collaboration is also easily accessible, and this improves customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Business processes such as ordering and tracking are very simple because the customer portal is designed with the customer in mind. Customer portals also have knowledge management capabilities as they can hold many important documents in a secure and organized format. Since costs are also under control, there is no drawback but having a quality customer portal is the only advantage.

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