A client portal provides your customers secure access to information about their account or service. The aim is to streamline interactions with your customers, from support to sales. A great example of a client portal is the insurance industry, where their clients can access ID cards, claim information, and order or change coverage. Imagine what a good client portal could do for your business. A well designed client portal will help your business create operational efficiency, a better customer experience, and even grow your revenue.
How We Set Up a Client Portal for Your Site
When we set up a client portal for the web applications we develop, our main consideration is the needs of your business. We begin by identifying what information your clients need to provide, have access to, and manage. A great starting point is existing paper forms, the forms that are being used today which can be digitized and implemented through the portal.
Once we have identified your business needs, we begin the process of designing and building out the portal. Our process is simple:
- Identify the information that needs to be collected, managed, and presented.
- Create a project plan with a scope of work for your approval.
- Allow 6-8 weeks to build and launch the portal, with regular status updates provided along the way.
What Should Be Included in a Client Portal
The data, information and functionality that should be included in a client portal greatly depends on the business. Consider these examples:
- Lawyers & Attorneys: Provide access to forms, documents and updates to cases.
- Mortgage: Facilitate the application and lending process. Mortgages used to be mountains of paper and are now almost entirely done electronically through client portals.
- Manufacturers: Provide access for both customers and vendors, allowing each to check order status, place orders, provide payment information, and see order history.
- Others: Service providers can allow clients to create work orders, place orders for new services, enter support tickets, and much more.
Think about your business and the information, processes, and other data that could be handled directly through a client portal.
The Client Portal as a Sales Engine
Every entrepreneur looks for ways to grow their business organically without having to put more resources into customer acquisition. The best way to do that is to retain and grow your existing customer base by allowing them to buy your services on their own, through your client portal.
- Expand Existing Services: This is especially beneficial to B2B companies whose customers are reselling services. If they can add new services or accounts right through your portal, then they will grow organically.
- Add New Services: B2C businesses can make it easy for their customers to add additional services (“would you like fries with that?”). When combined with a good customer communications plan, a business can see their account revenues grow through the client portal.
- Re-Orders: Make it easy for customers to return and replenish goods and services. This is extremely effective for suppliers and vendors.
In addition to the direct revenue-generating features mentioned above, a good client portal also helps grow the business by continuing to engage the customer in a positive way and by providing the best possible experience. This will anchor them to your business and keep them away from the competition -- ‘stickiness.’
Client portals are all about information and allowing your clients access to that information. Therefore, security is vital. Any implementation of a client portal must be run over a secure, HTTPS/SSL, connection. All sensitive data that is stored on your servers must also be encrypted at the highest levels and never shown or displayed without very specific prevention measures in place. Most often, this information should not be available through a client portal. Additionally, a ‘user management’ system should part of your client portal for companies that need to restrict access to certain information.
Third-party versus Custom Built Client Portals
A custom-built client portal is not required if all you’re looking to do is provide access to documents, FAQs, or a general knowledge base. There are plenty of good, pre-made solutions for those cases.
A custom portal should be considered in the following situations:
- Proprietary Information: When a customer needs access to proprietary information that should not be accessible to the public and competitors.
- Self-Service Functionality: When you want to provide self-service options to a customer for making payments, status updates, or providing documentation to the business,
- Governance and Compliance: Industries, such as medical, insurance, etc. have strict requirements when it comes to data protection and compliance.
- Pre-Built Solutions Aren’t Cutting It: If you tried one of the off-the-shelf solutions and it’s either not meeting your needs or you’ve outgrown it.
- GDPR: If you work with customers in the EU, you need to be concerned about the GDPR, and a client portal can help you meet those requirements.
Are you Ready to Build a Client Portal?
Contact us today to start the process. We’ll build a client portal that adds revenue streams, creates operational efficiencies, and delivers a better customer experience for your business.