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Why your business needs a customer portal

Continuously improving your customer service isn’t always easy. The fact that for 90% of customers, customer service is a defining factor when it comes to being loyal to a brand only creates additional pressure for brands to perform.

So if you’re looking to innovate and improve, why not you delegate a part of your customer support team’s tasks to your clients? This may sound crazy, but it’s actually what your customers want. As Microsoft stated in 2017, 90% of consumers expect to find an online portal for customer service. 

If you think about it, a customer portal can benefit your business by improving your customer’s experience while allowing your team to focus on more interesting, challenging tasks.

Why your business needs a customer portal

What is a customer portal?

You may be familiar with some forms of self-service resources for customers, such as knowledge bases or forums. There are similarities between them and a customer portal, however, they aren’t quite the same.

A customer portal is a place where your customers can access the self-help resources that you provide. If they don’t find the answer to their question there, they can submit a ticket or talk with a support agent via live chat. 

Before we talk about all the benefits of a customer portal, let’s define what its characteristics are.

Showing relevant information

In a customer portal, your clients can access information about their interactions with your business. They can also view the status of an order, check the resolution progress of a ticket, look up an invoice, or search through the history of their interactions.

Customer portals have become a standard feature in industries such as banking, so you have probably experienced the benefits of this solution as a customer yourself. Now, think about how to introduce this kind of solution to your business.

Enabling peer-to-peer support

No matter what services you offer, from software to coffee grinders, some of your users will be more experienced with using your product than others. Why not provide them with a platform to share tips, help eradicate doubts, or fix issues?

A customer portal allows you to build a community for your customers. It benefits everyone:

  • New users can get help from existing users
  • The experienced members of your community can enjoy helping out other people or having a space for discussion with other experts
  • Your agents can focus on more complicated questions and observe which features are the most troublesome so that your product development team can work on improvements

In this way, you can gather valuable insights and data that would be hard to collect otherwise. You would need to carry out expensive and extensive customer research that would be both time and resource-consuming, only to find the same results. 

Why your business needs a customer portal

Forums are a natural gathering place for online communities. In LiveAgent, each forum entry creates a ticket, so your agents can keep track of customer activity and lend a helping hand if needed.

Giving access to help resources

You may have already created a vast amount of helpful resources that are available for your clients inside a knowledge base. A customer portal will allow your customers to access these articles and tutorials in an easy and intuitive way.

By ensuring that your materials are readily accessible, you can increase the rate of customers using them and decrease the number of incoming tickets at the same time.

Keeping everything in order

A customer portal allows you to store everything in one place, so your customers can have easy access to all the helpful resources that you offer. 

Why your business needs a customer portal

With LiveAgent, you’ll be able to adjust the visual appearance to your portal to match your business style and create a seamless experience for your customers. Utilize ready-to-implement templates or create your own HTML and CSS styles complete with logos, chat widgets, and search bars.

What’s in it for your customers?

Providing an efficient client portal has a tremendous impact on the experience that you provide for your customers. By providing them with the convenient option to get instant access to help without having to wait for an agent to reply, you’re sure to boost your customer satisfaction.

Easy access to information 24/7

Your customer portal operates non-stop. Whether it’s after business hours or during a holiday, your clients can always look for the information they need. 

Empowerment

When you allow your customers to take care of their own issues, like submitting a ticket to the support desk, they can feel like they are in control of what is going on. They certainly won’t have the same impression if they have to rely on an agent just to check some basic information, such as the status of an order. 

It doesn’t have to stop there. For example, think about creating a space where your customers can provide feedback and ideas about new features. By implementing community-enhancing and empowering features like this, your customers will be more motivated to work with your brand and stay loyal to it.

Quick access to live chat

When your clients notice that they can’t solve their issues on their own, they should have an easy way to connect with your support agents. A great way to be easily accessible is by utilizing ready to use live chat widgets on your website.

Why should you implement a customer portal?

A customer portal is also a useful tool for your business since it allows you to run it in a more efficient way. 

Meet expectations

Do you remember the statistics mentioned earlier? For the vast majority of your customers, a customer portal is no longer a desire, but a must-have feature. Living up to your customers’ expectations can make or break your business, especially when it comes to long-term relations and brand loyalty.

Gather feedback

No one knows what works and what doesn’t better than your customers. Allow them  to express their opinions and concerns through forums and feedback widgets.

Why your business needs a customer portal

Thanks to feedback widgets, your customers can vote for the most important features that they’d like to be implemented into your service, or add their own ideas. You can also communicate the status of the implementation, letting your users know that you care about and appreciate their suggestions.

Gain deeper insights

Your customer portal can provide you with important insights regarding how well prepared your knowledge base and other self-service resources are when it comes to meeting customer expectations.

Metrics like the article view count, number of up- and down-votes, or forum threads created around a specific topic can help you to find out which issues need further attention. These are all valuable pieces of information for your support team so that they will be able to provide better explanations in the future.

Another thing to consider is optimizing your self-service content for search engines. By adding the right keywords and meta information you’ll ensure that the process of finding relevant tips is even faster and that your users don’t go looking for answers through unreliable sources.

Reduce agents workload

When you put emphasis on your self-service resources, you will enable your agents to work in a more efficient way. They will be able to focus solely on more demanding issues without having to tackle minor, repetitive questions. 

However, keep in mind that, that when you implement such changes, metrics like the time spent on ticket resolution can grow. This is natural because tickets will be more difficult to solve and less automatable. As such, you should adjust performance targets accordingly to measure the performance of your agents effectively.

Conclusions

Implementing a customer portal into your support resources is something that you should consider. Here’s why:

  • Your customers will love this convenient way of solving their problems: it’s fast, empowering, and more efficient than other solutions.
  • Your business will benefit from having a more effective customer support team, a source of invaluable information about how your clients interact with your products, and a community of engaged users.

Sounds interesting? Go on and give it a try. LiveAgent offers a customer portal in every plan.

Why your business needs a customer portal

Nikoleta Vajdova

Content Manager

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