Transform your CX: what marketers need to know about effective customer portals
Customer portals are no longer optional. Today, 88% of customers expect you to have some type of self-service support portal.
From paying bills to managing utilities, customer portals have quickly become a staple of our everyday lives and a key element of any customer experience (CX).
These portals can come in many forms. But what is a customer portal, anyway?
Breaking it down
Simply put, a customer portal is a website or web application that securely shares resources, information, and data with your customers. They provide an easy and secure way to engage with your customers, and function as anything from a project management tool to a digital help desk.
Portals establish a space for your customers to quickly and efficiently resolve questions and address needs. Your portal can serve as a notice board for service disruptions, news, and updates, or as a bank of knowledge and answers. You can structure it in a way that follows your customer journey, and customize features and functionalities to match your services.
What’s in it for you
Customer portals aren’t only beneficial to customers. When done right, they can be a key factor in a successful CX. Here’s what they can do:
• Extend your brand’s ecosystem
Successful portals are an extension of your brand’s ecosystem - they bring your brand’s personality to life. Your brand is a living, breathing thing that must constantly evolve to address the needs of your customers.
If you design your portal in a way that is consistent with your other channels, you will create a seamless experience across all touchpoints.
• Maximize loyalty
Customer portals enable you to proactively support your customers, rather than waiting for them to seek you out when problems arise. It’s easy to connect with you whenever your customers need you or feel like it. This will help you develop more fruitful relationships, which your customers will reward with their loyalty.
• Optimize productivity
A good portal will digitize processes, streamline your operations, and improve workflows. It will relieve pressure on your team and reduce operational costs.
The result? A huge boost in efficiency and profits.
The hidden power of portals
Portals have intangible assets, too. Here are four benefits portals offer that are difficult to get anywhere else:
1. Easy access to important information and services
Customers want to be able to access their information any time from any device, and they want their problems resolved quickly.
2. A personalized customer experience
Customers don’t feel valued when you treat them like a number. Portals allow you to keep a record of previous interactions and purchase histories, which can help you develop closer relationships with your customers and anticipate their needs.
3. The ability to choose
Your customers want to be in control of their buyer experience. 71% percent of people will try to resolve their own issues before contacting customer service. If you empower your customers to troubleshoot, they will be much more satisfied in the long run.
4. A safe and stable environment for customer data
Portals enable safe and secure data transfer between you and your customers. Secure logins provide protection against spam and cyber attacks, and keep sensitive information private.
3 effective customer portals
At DPDK, we believe in tailor-made and user-friendly solutions. We are able to design effective customer portals because we extract a brand’s unique qualities and put them into a blueprint.
Our work is done at the intersection of brand, content, and product design. When we build a customer portal, we prioritize creativity and embed emotion in our code. Here’s a closer look at three of our favorite success stories:
Forward You (FWU)
Life insurance and financial service provider FWU wanted to shift their focus from B2B2C to B2C, but they had a problem: their customers were not happy. They were frustrated with a lack of transparency, accessibility, and clarity on their accounts.
We developed a customer portal that would address FWU’s customers’ concerns, and put the control back in their hands. Allowing customers to manage their own financial products vastly improved their CX. FWU’s customer portal led to increased customer retention, increased customer satisfaction, and fewer calls to the FWU support desk.
Nationale Nederlanden is one of the best-known insurance providers in the Netherlands. They needed a tool that would simplify their offering - pension information - while keeping their customers’ data private and secure. Enter: the customer portal.
We designed a portal that provides Nationale Nederlanden’s customers with a personalized saving experience. The portal allows customers to create a financial projection of their own future. The interface is easy to use, customizable, and informative. The portal offers intuitive financial planning options and personal command over pensions.
We knew that for a low-interest product like retirement planning, high user attraction, and retention rates would be important indicators of success. The mobile app is now used by nine out of ten Nationale Nederlanden customers and received a 4+ star user rating.
The KNMP Knowledge Bank is the go-to source of information for Dutch pharmacists. Because the website plays such a key role in providing quality patient care, KNMP wanted to ensure that their customers could find the right information as quickly as possible.
We upgraded the KNMP portal so that it is just as easy for an entry-level pharmacist to navigate as it is for industry experts. The portal features cross-referencing options and the ability to search multiple search engines at once to ensure up-to-date information.
We’re proud to say that now, pharmacists use the portal an average of twelve times per day. Simplicity and reliability always win the day.
Set yourself up for success
What all customer portals have in common is that they are only successful if they help customers be successful. Your portal must deliver the tools for self-resolution easily and efficiently.
Marketers often develop their customer portal on an out-of-the-box platform focused on achieving quick results. Most of the time, what they get is a portal that’s almost identical to that of their competitors’.
As we’ve said before, building a portal is a strategic matter. Don’t limit yourself to ready made options. Always focus on creating the best experience for your customers instead.
An easy to use, intuitive, and well-designed customer portal that reflects your brand is a great addition to your CX. There really are no downsides. What you’ll end up with is a better experience, higher customer engagement and satisfaction, and improved operational efficiency. What’s not to like?