Online Customer Portals: enabling 24/7/365 Customer Engagement
Organisations can reduce the time taken responding to customer queries and improve customer satisfaction by offering an online customer portal.
1. What is an online Customer Portal?
An online customer portal is an extension to your corporate website that allows your customers, be they consumers, businesses or partners, to access key information relating to their purchase, contracts, work that they conduct with your organisation. Think of the many "My Accounts" you may already have with companies/businesses/organisations such as your bank, utilities provider, online shopping providers eg Amazon as these are great examples of how a Customer Portal can give your customers real time access to the information they want regarding the relationship with your business, anytime from anywhere.
2. Benefits of offering your customers an online portal
Reduce demand on resource – many customer interactions involve customers contacting your business via email, telephone or face-to-face to ask questions about an update on their interactions with your organisation. A high percentage of these interactions are queries for information that can be easily made available via an online customer portal. Giving your customers access to the data they need via an online portal can free up employee time to spend on things higher up the value chain.
Improved brand perception – a growing number of your customers are used to dealing with companies online and as digital adoption becomes more widespread there is an increasing expectation that customers can interact with organisations via digital channels. Offering an online customer portal facility will increase the perception of your company to your customers and show them that you are a technology aware organisation.
Furthermore, your custom online customer portal should be fully branded to your current website to ensure brand continuity.
Availability – if your company or organisation has set opening hours, these are not always the times at which your customers want to interact with you. By providing an online customer portal your customers can get access to the information they require from anywhere at anytime: 24/7/365.
3. Typical use cases
Online customer portals can be used to present a wide range of useful information (data) to your customers. here are some typical examples:
> Order information – provide unto the minute information on the status of an order.
> Billing / invoice information – provide access to current and historical invoices and billing information.
> Work/job updates – provide access to the latest status of jobs which you are working on for a customer.
> Contracts – allow customers to download and upload their contracts and service documentation.
> Contacts - provide access too useful contact information.
> Locality information - provide key information to customers based on their location.
> Update key information - allow customers to update their details without needing to contact you directly.
> Subscriptions - offer subscription based services from with your online customer portal.
4. Additional considerations
Integration - If your online customer portal is closely integrated to a digital workflow platform or your existing back-office systems, the flow of data between these systems and the online portal should be seamless. No more double-keying or maintaining the same data in multiple places means that you have more time to focus on things higher up the value chain.
Digital workflows - can your online portal initiate new requests for work or jobs to be created? Enabling customers to not only access key information via your online customer portal, but also be able to digitally interact with your company can offer much greater benefits and efficiencies. Starting a custom workflow online and delivering a whole end-to-end digital process to your customers leads to exceptionally high satisfaction rates.
Key features of a Meritec Online Customer Portal
We specialise in digital transformation and digital solutions for a wide range of organisations and as such we are confident of the business benefits that an online customer portal can deliver to your organisation.
Investing in an online customer portal is a great way to increase brand perception whilst reducing the overhead of responding to customer queries. Below are a few key features of a meritec online customer portal:
Secure Access – all meritec software solutions are hosted in UK Tier3+ certified highly secure and performant data centres.
Fully hosted – our online customer portals are fully hosted and maintained by Meritec, meaning that there is no IT software or hardware for you to install and maintain.
Increases efficiency – streamline and automate processes for increased efficiency and fewer errors.
Case management – no 2 companies work in exactly the same way & that is why with Meritec's flexible digital workflow platform we can deliver custom business workflows for your organisation that tie directly into your online customer portal.
Unlimited users and contacts – with a meritec online customer portal you can have an unlimited number of users and contacts on your online portal.
Strong ROI - introducing modern digital solutions such as online customer portal has been proved time and time again to have an extremely positive impact on a companies P&L through a quick return on investment.
Everything we offer is designed with a specific problem or process in mind, and we can work with you to create bespoke solutions to meet your needs. Our aim is to support your organisation long term by providing a future proof digital solution that evolves and grows with your organisation as your requirements change.
If you would like to learn more about any of our services or view a demonstration, please get in touch with our friendly team.