5 Major Reasons Why You NEED a Customer Portal in 2020
No matter what product you’re selling, customers will have questions and they’ll expect you to provide answers. It sounds easy enough to do, except customer expectations are shifting and are much higher than they used to be. You might think you’re going the extra mile to provide excellent customer service, but to your customers you’re barely doing enough.
In today’s world, it doesn’t take much to find answers when a Google search takes milliseconds. Customers don’t want to be put on hold anymore. They want newer, faster methods for finding solutions, and one way to make that happen is through a customer portal.
A customer portal is a great way to connect your support team with customers to send important information and resolve issues faster. Portals also help your business gain more trust and loyalty among users. If you’re not familiar then let’s take a look at what a customer portal is and how it can benefit you.
What is a Customer Portal?
A customer portal is a place on your website for customers to interact with your company by allowing them to do a number of things, such as:
- Create support tickets
- Review transactions
- Share information
- Upload documents
- Download files
There’s no limit to what a customer portal can do, but one of the main draws is it gives customers the freedom to find information on their own. If a customer has issues locating a previous work statement, they can easily view it on their customer portal. If a customer is dealing with a recurring issue, they can review previous documentation on how to solve the problem or even submit a service ticket.
This gives customers the confidence to go out and find solutions on their own rather than wait around for a support team to do it for them. A customer portal is perfect for giving customers the right tools for problem solving. Let’s take a look at how a customer portal can benefit your business.
Customers are More Self-Reliant
A study done by Dimension Data found that 73% of customers used a company’s website for support rather than social media, texting, or a live chat. In that same study, they found that 75% of people said a fast response time was the most important attribute for customer service.
What this data reveals is that people expect fast results. An overwhelming majority of customers are avoiding support calls and there are a number of reasons why. One reason in particular is that people want to deal with the least amount of friction possible. Talking with sales or support reps often leads to being put on hold, long wait times, upselling practices, and being passed between departments. That takes up a lot of time, especially if customers are used to pulling out their phones and finding answers through various search engines and apps.
By allowing customers to help themselves through a customer portal, you empower them to resolve issues on their own. You provide them with a space to go where there are multiple options available other than picking up the phone. Not only will you give customers what they want, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to save money too.
Save on Support Costs
Saving money is always a plus for any business or organization. One way that a service portal reduces costs is by lowering the number of calls your support staff has to take. With more people finding answers on their own, the less they count on your support staff. In turn, that lowers the number of service reps you need.
A case study conducted by Wave found they had an abnormally high number of customer service calls a day and, after enacting a service portal, they had this to say:
“Wave was receiving an average of 10,000 support tickets every month, however within 4 months of launching our new community, this rate was cut by 30% as some 3,000 tickets were deflected to the support forums.”
That’s a major drop in the span of only a few months. The reduced workload for employees allows them to focus on the more difficult customer tasks. With those 3,000 tickets allocated elsewhere, Wave is able to save that money or allocate it to other areas of their company.
Keep Up With Customer Demand
Like I previously said, customer expectations are always shifting. And they are certainly shifting in a year like 2020 where a large number of people are now working from home due to COVID-19. With customer expectations shifting, so is customer demand, as Forbes points out:
“[T]he recent crisis has triggered some long-term shifts in consumer behavior. Preparing for a future that is not yet certain will require ongoing reengineering to support a growing consumer preference for digital and remote options.”
There’s no doubt that the rise in people working remotely will lead to options like a customer portal becoming increasingly more popular. As people transition out of the office and into their home, they’ll prefer options that can be easily accessed from their computer or laptop.
A customer portal gives you a chance to stay ahead of customer expectations by providing them with new outlets for finding answers. It’s also a good way to build customer loyalty as you’ll see next.
Build and Maintain Customer Loyalty
On top of allowing customers to become more self-reliant, a customer portal strengthens your customer brand and recognition too. According to Customer Thermometer, 96% of consumers say customer service is a major influence when choosing brand loyalty.
If you want to maintain customer loyalty, then you need to make sure their needs are always number one. As Jessica Branson from Inspira Marketing can attest:
“It’s the small things that make the biggest difference with your customers. By paying attention to the smallest detail, including remembering and acknowledging certain facts about each customer, your customer’s impression of their experience will grow by leaps and bounds.”
A customer portal is one of the best tools for tracking a customer’s history and maintaining a positive relationship with them. You can view previous support requests, purchases, complaints, and the customer’s prior history with your organization. In only a few minutes, you can review a customer’s page and know right off the bat who they are.
There’s nothing more reassuring to a customer than knowing they are worth your time. If you want to ensure all your customers know you care about them, then a customer portal is right for you.
Increase Website Traffic
Believe it or not, customer portals are one of the best ways for building your brand awareness and generating more traffic to your website. With a customer portal, you have the ability to link useful information to your resource page for customers to visit, scroll through, and search for answers. The longer people stay on your page, the more search engines will start to view your website as a reliable place for information and rank it higher.
You can also increase your website’s relevance by having customers post reviews, voice their opinions, and comment through forums on your customer portal. That way customers can quickly find answers to the questions they have and even write to other customers on how to resolve specific issues. The more time they spend interacting with your site, the more your website is recognized.
Customer portals are perfect for bringing more awareness to your website while increasing your brand name at the same time. All it takes is a small community to get the word out and in no time, you’ll be well on your way.
Does Your Business Need a Customer Portal?
There’s no doubt that your business or organization will benefit from integrating a customer portal. Customers will be able to locate the information they need to resolve their problems faster `and more reliably, which will build trust and loyalty for your brand. You will also benefit by increasing the number of visitors to your website. So all in all, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a customer portal in 2020. You and your customers can both benefit. What’s better than that?