Modern consumers have high expectations when it comes to customer service. They no longer expect to have to wait and speak to a customer service agent regarding a product or service. Rather, customers are preferring to resolve issues themselves with intuitive software that is easy to use. (1)
Client portal software does just this. It is an effective way of empowering customers by putting them in control of their experience with your brand which often has the effect of making them more invested in your product or service.
But what exactly is client portal software and how can it work for you? Read on to learn more!
Client portal software overview
Client portal software gives customers the power to find solutions to their queries at their convenience. For example, they can use it to ask for a visit from a repairman, confirm details about appointments, go over quotations, pay bills, and much more depending on the nature of your business. These apps, like the one offered by Jobber, are becoming increasingly popular as businesses are finding it is a much more efficient way to communicate with their customers, deal with queries or issues, and provide information that might otherwise have taken someone a considerable amount of time to deal with.
Self-service customer portals are usually accessed online or by using an app. A more advanced service portal requires the customer to create a personal account and access through a username and password which then gives them specific information such as account and payment information, digital files for download, etc.
However, building a meaningful and substantive client portal experience requires a considerable amount of effort and knowledge of a company’s customer base.
How to empower customers with client portal software
If done right, a client portal can be a powerful inducement for customer retention. Below are a few ways to empower your clients by utilizing this tool:
1. Anticipate your client’s needs
Rather than wait for a client to reach out, a company can anticipate any problems a client might have if issues regarding a product arise. A tech company, for instance, could prepare for any issues that could happen during a software update. As Murphy’s Law states, ‘if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong.’ Keeping your clients abreast of relevant data can be a big help to your support team if a glitch occurs. (2)
For e-commerce companies, you can link your service portal to other systems to make it possible for them to track their purchases or to update their payment option or card information.
2. Make sure your user experience design is seamless
Making sure that your portal is optimized for mobile phones is a great start. That way, your customers can access it wherever they are and whenever they want. A mobile-optimized service app is a big deal, especially for younger users who prefer their apps to be optimized and responsive. (3)
See to it that your service portal design includes features and functionalities that give the most benefit to your clients. Keep in mind that each business has different objectives, so customer service portals will be as different as every company is — they all require different functionalities. Pick a client portal software that best fits your customers’ needs, such as multi-language support, level of security, or an advanced search function.
3. Provide prompt support
About 90% of customers today deem an immediate response to their customer service question as essential; 60% said ‘immediate’ means not more than 10 minutes. Since having a team that could accommodate this level of support won’t be practical, an online service portal can easily keep up. If not, the portal can acknowledge the client’s query and, at the very least, start the process. (4)
A hotel, for example, can accommodate a guest’s booking reservation, request for an invoice, or room preference, without calling the hotel’s call support. The guest won’t have to be put on hold or write an email and hope for a prompt reply. With an online service portal, any guest can do this anywhere and anytime.
However, your portal should also have the option to contact help support without leaving the app. You should also consider adding fields, such as other issue topics or product types. This would provide more context for the agents, enabling them to settle issues quicker.
4. Ensure security
Client service portals often contain credit card details, names and addresses, invoices, and other sensitive information. Assuring your clients that their data is safe will make them feel more confident in using your portal.
So, make your portal secure by ensuring that it has security features like SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and encryption. Security features like these can make customer information and transactions private.
To empower your customers with client portal software, it should have features and functionalities that make it worthwhile for your clients to use them. Emphasize delivering tangible and intangible value to your clients. Providing them the option to resolve issues however and whenever they want through a self-service portal means giving them the initiative and putting them directly in control.
Having useful features on your portal and ensuring that their data and communications with you are private and secure are compelling reasons for customers to maintain a relationship with you for a long time.
- “Kick-Ass Customer Service”, Source: https://hbr.org/2017/01/kick-ass-customer-service
- “Murphy’s Law”, Source: https://deviq.com/laws/murphys-law
- “DO MILLENNIALS PREFER MOBILE APPS OR WEBSITES?”, Source: https://genhq.com/do-millennials-prefer-mobile-apps-or-websites/
- “Live Chat Exposes a Fatal Flaw in Your Go-to-Market”, Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/live-chat-go-to-market-flaw