One of the most prominent trends to influence customer service in recent years has been the rise of the customer portal. As customer preferences continue to evolve at a rapid pace, this presents a significant challenge for businesses as they attempt to keep up. A recent customer service report from Microsoft indicates that 79% of millennials favor brands that have a mobile-responsive customer support portal. Your company's customer service solutions must address customers’ needs and make it easy for them to access services from anywhere.
A customer portal is a software interface through which a customer can gain access to support desk resources and valuable reference materials. Providing customers with a curated group of useful services and information makes it easy for them to interact with your company. Once you’ve implemented a customer portal, you can build a more engaged following by regularly updating your portal with new content.
There are two ways to get a customer portal. You can involve a dedicated development team that will build a custom solution. Or you can buy and embed one of the existed solutions to your website. The first option is more expensive and time-consuming but it'll give you your own tool. In this case, you also need to improve and maintain it all the time. If you're not ready for this, you'd better stick to the second option and buy a customer portal software.
Implementing a customer portal for your company is a relatively straightforward process in terms of the portal itself. The challenging part of the process involves considering all the information and services that you intend to provide through the portal. It's essential to plan out your current and future offerings to ensure that the customer portal software supports them. Some examples of related services include a customer support ticketing system and knowledge base. In this post, we’ll discuss the five important features that a robust customer portal software should contain.
A Scalable Solution
An effective customer portal software system will be able to grow as the needs of your business evolve. Many platforms offer a cloud-based deployment that gives your entire team and customers the ability to access the system from anywhere. In addition to this easy access, a cloud-based customer portal also makes it easy for your team to streamline processes through integration with other existing software tools. Mobile support is another crucial feature that will help you extend your customer portal platform to as many customers as possible.
A customer will typically have access to a variety of content when accessing a customer portal. One of the worst things that a company can do is provide confusing navigation within their system. Always look for a customer portal software solution that is extremely user friendly, offers easy navigation among topics, and has a robust search function for finding relevant information. A customer will usually access your system because they have a specific issue or question, and you should make it easy for them to find what they need to get it resolved.
To give your customers a seamless experience, you should consider a portal software that allows you to customize the branding. Your actions drive customer trust, but it is also supported by your platform and customer service processes. An engaging customer portal should allow you to customize the look and feel of the interface, including the colors, branding, and logo. A unified brand across your website, social media platforms, and customer portal is reassuring for customers, giving them confidence that they can expect the same user-friendly experience and quality of service through every channel.
Other Self-Service Capabilities
Customer portals provide visibility into a customer’s interactions with your company, allowing them to track support requests and reference documents. Consider customer portal software that supports collaboration and builds a sense of community between your company and your customers with additional self-service capabilities, such as:
- Access to your company’s knowledge base
- Status updates for support requests
- Omnichannel support for direct communications
A useful customer portal will provide an interactive environment where customers can find helpful information to solve common problems, which reduces the number of support requests. It should also offer ways for customers to contact your customer service and customer support staff if needed.
Security is a critical factor to review when considering customer portal software. Look for customer portal software that allows you to create customized user groups and control access to different content types. You may require multiple customer portals in the future, and it can be difficult to change systems later if you don't have access to the security tools that you need. Additional security features to look for include GDPR compliance, historical record access, HTTPS, and two-factor authentication.
Implementing customer portal software is a big step toward creating a world-class customer service experience. Selecting the right platform for your business will require you to consider which features are the most important, based on your unique needs. With so many customer portal offerings available in the market, these five important features will help differentiate which customer portal will be the best fit.