Creating a customer portal gives you the chance to benefit from all of the above to help drive your business forward.
What is a Customer Portal?
A customer portal is an online area created through software development – often comprising part of a business or organisation’s website presence – that enables customers to interact directly, and securely, with your business online and for you to do the same with them.
A customer portal can fulfill various functions depending on the type of business and the areas of direct communication you wish to provide. Some examples:
- Support – customers can use your portal to gain support through raising a ticket, live chat, and accessing support information you hold online.
- Project Management – a secure way to create tasks, status, notes, and an audit trial plus upload relevant documents when running a project.
- Feedback – your customers can provide feedback based on questionnaires, text boxes, and so forth.
- Marketing – you can provide news, offers, and other information about your products and services targeted to specific customers.
Customer Portals are a ‘Win Win’
You and your customers can benefit when you provide a useful customer portal:
- Fulfil expectation – nowadays customers expect a tailored experience when interacting with a business, that is less reliant on email communication.
- Personalise your brand experience – by using your portal to not only allow customers to directly interact with you but to personalise their experience (only showing offers and information matching their needs for example as opposed to the same information for everyone). This makes for a more personal relationship with customers.
- Self-Service – you empower your customers to ‘self-serve’ more. For example, through support: instead of having to phone and maybe wait a while to be dealt with, your customer can access support via your portal and find the help they need by way of a ticketing service, FAQs, information held in online archives, using online troubleshooting tools and so forth.
This not only helps the customer but helps you too: fewer staff are tied up on routine support calls, for example, so better productivity and less chance of people losing patience and hanging up as they might if waiting in a call queue.
- Know thy customer – a portal is a great way to learn more about what your customer needs through surveys, analysing buying habits, and more to develop products and services you know there’s a need for.
- Customer Retention and Satisfaction – if your customer is receiving fast and efficient service, they’ll naturally be more inclined to stay with you and pass positive feedback elsewhere through very powerful word of mouth. A customer portal can help significantly in providing these levels of service.
- Increase Web Traffic – a customer portal based on sound software development will likely mean customers spend longer on it as they read pages and use support services: length of stay and website engagement is an important factor for search engines when ranking your website.
- Brand building through community – it’s possible your customers could interact not just with your business but with each other in a mini social network you’ve created: using the right ‘controls’ through sound software development of your portal, you can foster a strong sense of brand engagement through a sense of ‘belonging’.
Maximise Your Customer Portal with Professional Software Development
To create and implement an effective customer portal, or a staff portal or member portal, that will perform reliably and be flexible enough to meet future needs, speak with experienced software development professionals such as Objective. We can build you a portal, based on your exact needs and priorities.