A client portal serves as a personalized hub where your customers have easy access to products and services. It can also be used to find knowledgebase content, submit and manage support requests, and contribute to the group or discussion forum. Many businesses use a client portal to connect their self-service functions in one place (either website or mobile app). Once set up, the customer would log into the portal and begin to interact with your business. In this article, we’ll discuss how to create a client portal.
Does your business need a client portal?
To determine whether your business needs a client portal or not, you have to find its purpose and if the portal will improve your customer’s experience with your company.
Regardless of your industry, a customer portal can make it easier to provide personalized services to your customers. Physical firms like banks, health care providers, insurance firms, educational institutions, etc often have client portals. It allows their customers to manage accounts, schedule appointments, access information, complete tasks, etc.
Online businesses like e-commerce stores, e-learning platforms, SaaS companies, coaches/course creators, etc can also use a client portal. It can help to access products or services, provide confidential information, change or update account details, find help articles and tutorials, use self-service tools and easily reach out to customer service.
How can a client portal improve customer service?
A customer portal allows customers to interact with your business conveniently. They can also utilize self-service tools whenever support agents are busy or unavailable. They can also perform tasks by themselves rather than submit requests everytime they need to do something. Here are some benefits of having a customer portal.
Helps to save time
Customers should be able to access products or services as well as resources to help them find solutions. A client portal allows customers to get stuff done without having to submit requests. This helps to reduce the inflow of tickets and frees up the workload of the customer service team. They would be able to tackle complex issues better and feel less overwhelmed by the number of support tickets.
Builds a community
A discussion forum allows customers to interact with each other, share their experiences, and help each other out. They would ask questions, give answers, share solutions or help articles, and provide tips or simple hacks. Support agents or community managers can also engage with customers and share information about such issues.
A customer portal should contain every contact channel (live chat, social media, AI chatbot, email, video chat, webforms, messenger apps). It should also have a library with useful content (onboarding content, articles, video tutorials). Your customers can either choose to contact your support team or make use of self-service tools.
Steps to implementing a client portal
If you’ve decided that your business can benefit from a client portal, then you should proceed to create one. Here are the steps for implementing a client portal software.
Conduct an assessment
You need to research on the purpose your client portal would serve. It’s also necessary to figure out if you have the technical expertise to build one, or if it’s easier to integrate a customer portal software with your website. You should also know the required features either through research or by asking your customers for suggestions.
Compare customer portal software
There are many customer portal software out there but you need one with great features, security, and reliability. Features to look out for include: theme customization, ticketing system, knowledgebase, community forum, AI-powered bots, analytics and reporting, and so on.
Integrate the client portal platform
It’s important for you to integrate the client portal with other business software. This helps to access other tools and information from within the portal system. It enables customers to make payments, change their information, submit requests, contribute to the discussion forum, etc.
Train your IT/tech staff
When adding a new platform to your business, you have to teach your tech and customer service staff on how to use it. This allows them to provide the required technical support to customers. It also helps to easily customize and scale the client portal as your customer base grows.
Secure your client portal
Customer data is confidential and sensitive so you must protect it from being leaked or hacked. It’s best to select a customer portal platform with strong security. You can also fortify it with additional security, like two-factor authentication, encryption and restricted admin access.
Run a beta test
After integrating and customizing your client portal, you need to get some feedback from customers. It helps to know how intuitive the platform is, how helpful the portal is, and the bugs that are affecting it. This allows you to fix any issues and adjust the features to suit customer needs.