A customer portal is a self-service option, which provides customers a single point of access to company/product information. Basic customer portals do not require a customer login and may offer only general information available to anyone, such as; knowledge base articles, a FAQ page, video tutorials, etc. However, more advanced portals accessed via username and password are more secure and enable businesses to share private, account-specific information with their customers.
For consumers, a customer portal allows them to get information and solve product/service issues on their own at any time. Overall, it is a cost-effective way to support customers, even when support agents are not available.
Nowadays the consumers have become more self-reliant and prefer searching for information online before calling for support. As a result, the demand for self-service portals has dramatically risen in recent years. Below are some of the latest statistics proving that:
Customer portals offer a seamless self-service and support experience by providing complete 24/7 access to relevant, up-to-date information. Therefore, customers can find answers on their own, at times personally convenient for them. As a result, it significantly improves customer satisfaction.
Companies can effectively increase customer engagement by creating a simple community forum. The forum allows them to discuss solutions, possible troubleshooting steps, share feedback, ideas, and suggestions. In addition, support portals provide them with a greater sense of involvement, increased engagement, and empowerment.
Customer self-service portals can also reduce agent workload. For example, since customers can look up the ticket status, agents do not have to spend time answering questions such as: “What’s the status of my request?”. Instead, they can focus their efforts and attention on addressing more complicated queries instead of handling minor, repetitive issues.
Implementing a help desk portal requires an investment. However, it pays off in the long run as it lowers customer support costs for businesses. This way, customers can be in touch with a company 24/7. Thus, there is no need to allocate additional resources to extend working hours or hire more support employees.
Well-designed, easy-to-navigate customer portal has a solid knowledge base, FAQ section, and a well-connected community forum. With these, businesses can reduce the overall number of incoming customer support requests because customers will find the answers to their questions and resolve simple issues by themselves.
A knowledge base is a library, which stores all relevant information about company products/services. Businesses can create and organize the content into an easily searchable series of articles, such as getting started guides, how-to articles, troubleshooting tips, and other helpful/valuable information. Furthermore, most portals have a search bar at the top for easy navigation across the content.
FAQ or, in other words, frequently asked questions is a section where you address the most common concerns, questions, and objections that customers might have, for instance, regarding company products, services, and policies. FAQs can also include links to the relevant articles in the knowledge base, blog posts, or video tutorials.
69% of users prefer watching videos to learn about a product or service since they find video tutorials easier to understand, quicker to consume, and more engaging. Therefore, it is essential to create comprehensive, video-based self-service.
Community forums are an essential element of a self-service portal. They enable customers to interact/help each other, ask and answer each other questions, and share knowledge/insights. Moreover, agents can easily monitor these interactions and step in when necessary to offer assistance.
The feedback and suggestions feature allows businesses to collect customer feedback and encourages customers to send their suggestions for future product/service improvements. Moreover, customers can vote for existing proposals as well as track the progress of their implementation.
If all else fails, customers are still able to reach out by submitting a support request. With that option, customers can manage their expectations by viewing the status of their tickets at any time.
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