A Customer Portal is an online environment where you can share and exchange information with your customers. Think of contracts, agreements, instructions, invoices, FAQs, news, etc. A Customer Portal is pleasant for your customers, but it provides your organization some important benefits as well:
1. Easy and efficient communication
With a Customer Portal information is stored on one central location. No need to send files several times, send it to multiple contacts or confusion about the document version. Your customers have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to all the information you share with them. And, if properly maintained, the information is always accurate and up to date. Simplicity and efficiency for your customers and for you.
2. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty
Customers appreciate it when you give them the opportunity to check, at any time, information that is relevant to them. They can help themselves with instructions or FAQs, they can directly consult agreements and contracts and they do not need to wait until you send them a missing invoice or any other document. That brings you more satisfied customers who will be staying with you for a long time.
3. Lower communication and administration costs
Customer Portals make it easy to keep in touch with your customers. On communication, marketing, support, accounting and administration you can significantly save time and thus save costs. Your customers get a better and faster service and it does not require extra efforts from you. On the contrary; it will cost you much less effort.
4. Communication focused on your customers
The Customer Portal is a protected environment over which you have control. That means that you can focus all of your communication on your customers. Unlike your website and social media, you know exactly who has access to the information on your Customer Portal. So you can tune the information on the needs and wishes of the customer.
Potentially, a Customer Portal provides huge benefits for your customers and for you. But it does of course require an initial effort from you to set up this customer environment and then ongoing maintenance to keep the information up to date and relevant. Make sure you have a decent setup of the Customer Portal by listening to the needs of your customers. By doing that you can fully benefit from the potential of the Customer Portal.
Philip van Kemenade is marketer at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.