The 5 do’s and don’ts of a successful customer portal
We’ve all heard the adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s a cliché, but it’s true.
A positive first impression is a crucial aspect of building a relationship with your customers. It will set the tone for your entire customer experience (CX) and, if executed successfully, can lead to strong and long-lasting customer relationships.
The evidence is clear: first impressions matter. It’s important to nail them every time.
These days, many customer impressions happen online. The rise of digital self-service options has given marketers the ability to create lasting impressions that attract new clients and keep them coming back. One of the ways to accomplish this is with a customer portal.
Building a successful customer portal
Today’s customers are more empowered and self-sufficient than ever before. In fact, 81% of customers across industries prefer to try solving their own problems first before seeking help from a customer service representative, according to Harvard Business Review.
It’s not that customers want to solve queries or issues themselves. What they’re looking for are quick and convenient solutions to their problems. That’s where a customer portal can help.
A customer portal allows you to share information, resources, and data in an easy and secure way - usually through a web browser or mobile app. It provides customers with a single point of access to your brand. With a customer portal, customers can help themselves while still getting the level of support expected.
We’re used to singing the praises of customer portals. With the right customer portal, not only can customers reach you anytime (and vice versa), you will be able to delight them from the very beginning.
That being said, there is a lot to take into account when it comes to building a customer portal. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What I can say though is if you get it right, you’ll leave a positive impression and take your CX to greater heights. Follow these 5 do’s and don’ts for best practices:
1. Do: Be consistent
Delivering consistent and on-brand experiences should be at the top of your priority list. This goes for all your channels and touchpoints, and your portal is no exception. Your portal must be seamless and match your other channels in appearance, tone of voice, and services.
Design systems play a key role in ensuring consistency across channels. By housing all brand elements, rules, guidelines (and more) in a centralized and accessible location, they make it easier for brands to create scalable designs and consistent brand experiences. More on that here.
2. Do: Personalize, personalize, personalize
Personalization plays a pivotal role in creating memorable customer experiences. Which is why it’s important that your portal is tailored to your customers’ specific needs and wants. Giving customers different ways to interact with you and making sure those options are worth their while will surely increase engagement and retention.
A great example of this is the cutting-edge customer portal we built for German fintech brand Forward You (FWU). As part of their digital transformation, we designed and developed a portal that gives customers a complete overview of their finances and enables them to manage their accounts online.
The portal is designed to offer FWU’s customers an intuitive, innovative, and personalized experience. Not only did it reduce administrative costs for FWU, it also increased customer retention and improved customer satisfaction.
3. Don't: Allow technology to take the driver's seat
Many brands develop their customer portal with a solely tech-minded perspective. The problem? Portals that are intended to achieve fast results do not lead to long-lasting relationships. If you’re building a portal for the sake of having a portal, you won’t find much success.
An effective portal reflects your brand while adding value to your wider CX. This is why you should always prioritize brand experience over flashy technology that does nothing to build rapport with your customers.
4. Don't: Fall for a cookie-cutter approach
Well-executed customer portals are tailor-made to fit your brand and address your customers’ needs and wants. Out-of-the-box solutions will not differentiate you from your competitors. Your customers choose you for a reason. Be true to your brand and make sure your portal reflects your brand's unique qualities.
5. Don't: Set it and forget it
Remember that your customer portal must be maintained and updated. See it as a work in progress that should be continuously adapted to the needs of your customers as they evolve.
Marketers always talk about how important it is to keep customers happy. As more and more customer interactions take place online, the brands that thrive and grow will be the ones that provide valuable and memorable experiences at every touchpoint.
At the end of the day, we all want to surprise and delight our customers. With a personalized, intuitive, and well-designed customer portal, you’ll be able to do just that. Now that you know what to do and what not to do, it’s time to get started.