Providing your customers with an online portal does a few things. It cuts back on costs by offering clients a simple way to access your company’s ‘self-service’ options. It also gives clients regular access to data (purchase records, billing history, demographic information, etc).
More and more companies are setting up client portals – and more clients are expecting this type of access.
Portal Purpose Further Defined
Aside from allowing your clients one central place to log in and see all important details, portals also give clients immediate access to tools that your company offers. Further, portals give you a simple way to keep up with client requests and needs. Staying in touch keeps clients happy – and it’s what they’ve come to expect.
Building a customer portal is necessary, but it’s not enough. That portal has to be efficiently managed in order to keep your clients happy. Portal management is trickier than it seems. Your team must provide constant feedback, create a forum where clients can ask questions and get answers, and develop a portal that is easily accessed and manipulated.
A bad customer portal can be damaging.
Watch Our for Vendor Lock
Even though most vendors offer open standards for portlets, it’s also usual for those same vendors to lock you into a system. In other words, interoperability is often not a possibility. Because of this ‘vendor lock,’ it’s crucial to choose a vendor based on your individual needs and technology roadmap.
Portals are far more complex than a login and a mass of windows – although that’s what your clients will think (and that’s ok). In addition to providing a simple way to communicate and track customers, the portal vendor that you choose must be flexible in order to offer you the most options (and to avoid vendor lock).