In a world of vicious competition and digitally-oriented customer experience, it is becoming more and more challenging to keep abreast of the developments.
Traditional ways of thinking no longer work with millennials used to getting everything they need with a wave of a hand, or with a swipe on their smartphone screens, to be more precise.
The only way for your business to stay in the loop is to adapt and to embrace digital transformation.
One of the initial steps of doing it is client portals.
In this blog post, we will give you a closer look at a client portal, describe the main advantages for your business and guide you on the ways to start incorporating this solution into your business ecosystem.
What is a Client Portal
A client portal is a secure online environment that you and your customers can use to provide services and communicate. Modern custom client portals allow for using intranet with privileged or limited access for a customer to use intranet sections that satisfy his/her specific needs.
Client portals can be a vital part of your business, especially in B2B. More so, the demand for it is not constrained by a specific industry or a business size - whatever kind of service you provide to a business you would hardly lose if you’ve decided on a client portal.
One of the big advantages of having a client portal is that it allows you to get closer to your clients. And from the clients’ perspective, apart from the fact that these portals are incredibly convenient compared to traditional means of business communication, like phone calls and face-to-face meetings, they also stand as another proof that a company cares for their clients and strives for excellence in their services.
So what is so special about client portals? Is it relevant only for enterprise-level companies, or small and mid-sized businesses can leverage the benefits of the intranet as well?
We understand your concerns and have prepared something for you that will provide the answers to the questions above. Just sit back and be ready for our arguments debunking any myths regarding the client portals.
Why you need a client portal for your business:
7 key benefits
As we mentioned above, a client portal may bring many advantages both for a service provider and for a customer. Here are at least 7 of them.
1. Enhanced communication
A client portal is the best way to provide your customers with a piece of tailor-made information that would perfectly fit their needs.
Though this statement is reasonable for any industry, some businesses would solve the misunderstanding issues by applying a client portal on their website.
This could be illustrated by one of our recent cases:
A law firm in Chicago addressed us for assistance in digitizing their business. Among the challenges they faced was having trouble building customized communication. The client website contained general information that could be easily found in other places. The website did not provide adequate value to the customers, lacked the client-centric approach, hence could not generate leads.
Building the client portal for this client helped the firm make business communication with customers clearer, as clients always found up-to-date information and always viewed the progress. As a part of our complex approach, automation tools were implemented, which helped the law firm streamline the email chains and thus accelerated their communication cycle.
2. The ease of access
With a client portal, you should not worry about providing your clients with the answers they mostly search for. You may have detailed FAQs, tips, and guiding materials, or any other company details that would engage more customers than usually general website information does. You can update this information anytime something changes without thinking of the ways of delivering this to your customers as they always have access to the portal.
3. Multiple device-friendly solution
In a digital era, cross-platform solutions rule the business. Client portals can be optimized to any device giving your clients the ability to check your portal anywhere, anytime.
4. Enhanced customer experience
Client portals are a great tool to become rapid in reacting to clients’ requests. Addressing various clients and target audiences' pain points through your portal information is key to fostering their loyalty and a better experience.
5. Increased productivity
One of the integral parts of any client portal is an extensive database. Such vital business documents as contracts, plans, and invoices may be seamlessly stored in a client's account and reduce the ongoing requests and time spent responding to them.
6. Security risks prevention
Today’s client portals leverage a wide range of tools to guarantee superior security, preventing data leakage or abuse. Data encryption, protection from vulnerabilities, and firewalls are just a small fraction of the security measures available.
7. Elimination of human errors
In the law firm case exemplified above the employees manually calculated fees, sent the bills to the clients, and tracked the payments. That approach generated human errors, made it challenging to create reports, delayed the payments, and slowed down the cash flow.
Digitization and consolidation of documents in a client portal ensure the accuracy of data, as the proper client portal governance implies uploading the latest version of the files.
What your clients can actually do in a portal
Depending on the business industry and size, the client portal's functionality may vary. But the basic features any client portal provides to its users include:
- Documents processing: viewing, downloading, uploading the documents, applying electronic signature and automation of processes
- Alerts and notifications based on custom triggers
- Tracking statuses, status customization
- Client support
- Billing solution
- Inventory management
- Sales pipeline management
- Custom reports
Note: Custom client portals may have much broader functionality and would cover more sophisticated cases. And in reality, when it comes to custom development business consulting the choice on modules and functionality is made based on specific clients and its customers’ needs. Learn more
A client portal: 4 reasons why a one-size-fits-all solution will not work
There is a plethora of software you can use nowadays to develop a client portal, and it's totally fine in case you are puzzled about what to choose.
Let’s be frank; it’s always easier to go for a standard solution. But 'standard' does not always mean ‘of a high standard’.
There are at least 4 reasons why we would advise you to consider customized solutions:
1. Customer-centric approach
By hiring a custom client portal development company you obtain a more in-depth analysis of your business and comprehensive approach with the main goal to build a client portal that would provide your customers with immediate value.
It may sound controversial as custom development is traditionally associated with higher expenses compared to template-based products. But if you try looking at it from a different angle it would dawn on you that in the long term a custom developed portal would save you tens of thousands of dollars, and here is why:
The standard approach does not imply meeting deviation prone business requirements. It provides with little customization and hardly adapt to clients' needs.
Moreover very frequently a business leverages only 20% of functionality offered but it pays for the whole bunch of features of a SaaS solution.
Each business has its unique needs, and very often, they need to have multiple tools and integrations in place to provide first-class services to the clients. With ongoing support from your custom software development team, you may implement any functionality into your existing portal. This is something the standard client portal providers miss.
When you hire a custom development team, you stay confident that the support team is more dedicated and rapid than it may be when it comes to SaaS solutions. It means you have direct access to the technical team, and they are on the same page with your needs, no matter if there is a critical issue they need to solve urgently or something regular.
A client portal: where to start
We’ve observed the key advantages of a client portal for B2B companies.
In a nutshell, a client portal is the core of any advanced service provider's operational management system. Apart from accelerating your business processes, it addresses competitive pressures of the market by making your business stand out from the multitude of businesses that are similar in the offerings but fail in technology advancement and flexibility.
Start a digital transformation by building a client portal with Neologic!
How? Development of a client portal with Neologic typically takes 5 steps:
Step 1: Complimentary consultation
This is a crucial step aimed at collecting business insights from the stakeholders and discover your business processes, needs, and pain points.
Step 2: Client’s requirements
Once a client is onboard we spend some time creating a checklist of client requirements and form the action plan.
Step 3: Interactive prototype
To make the process easier, we create logic-embedded prototypes that work and feel almost like a finished client portal where our clients can interact with the interface and better understand how the actual future product would work.
Step 4: Delivery and QA
A testing phase implies resolving queries, fixing any bugs, making amendments, etc. Our QA is a team of seasoned experts with a critical approach to tiny details and always striving for superiority in their work.
Step 5: Support and Maintenance
Building strong client relationships is a must for us, so we provide extensive support and maintenance at each stage, within and after the development process.
Are you ready to join the technology frontrunners? Schedule a free call with our business analysts and see how we can help!