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What your customers do not have is more time. Therefore, it is no wonder that self-service on the web is increasing in popularity. With a customer portal, you can increase sales, offer new services, and at the same time, streamline and reduce costs of customer service.

It is becoming mandatory for businesses to offer their customers a portal, especially today when your customers have more choices, more products to choose from, more information that facilitates the purchase decision, and an increased range of channels for handling aftermarket issues.

Here are 4 benefits of investing in a customer portal

1.   Present information in an educational and logical way

Give your customers all the information in a structured way, from size charts to tables of contents to informative guides. Otherwise, they will look it up elsewhere, which can result in the customer choosing to shop at one of your competitors instead.

2.   Free up time for sales and support

Once your customers have the tools to find answers to their questions, they statistically choose that option. Build a knowledge base with FAQs, user guides, and step-by-step troubleshooting guides to help your customers.

Offer customers to see their invoices, user agreements, loyalty programs, and give them the opportunity to use various smart tools such as configurators, quantity calculations, etc.

In this way, the need for support will decrease, and you save time, which can be spent instead on value-creating activities in your business.

3.   Personalize the shopping experience

Offer your customers a personalized online shopping experience. Through tailored offers, individual cross/ upsell areas, targeted marketing, and tools to facilitate purchasing decisions, you can save time and simplify buying for your customers. With tools such as chatbots and voice interfaces, you can significantly enhance the customer experience.

4.   Maximize the customer experience for higher customer loyalty

Customers who can solve most of their problems in a portal get a positive feeling about the brand. Customers appreciate all the services that simplify their everyday life or solve their problems. It contributes to customer loyalty.

For customers to consider changing suppliers, the competitor needs to offer at least as good a range of services, if not better.

Trendspotting

In recent years, we have seen that B2B customers have become more independent in their buying journeys and support contexts. We see that more and more customers expect to handle their affairs independently, whenever they want, and from any business unit.

Forrester predicts that in 2021, a more appealing customer experience will be critical for B2B customers to improve customer relationships and retention. CX is where you, as a partner, must strive to provide an exclusive digital experience and the modern buyers’ need for immediacy.

Challenges in creating a future-proof customer portal

However, creating a customer portal that will work both today and evolve as new business requirements emerge is not easy. Of course, you want to keep the cost down, but at the same time, you have to create a portal that can change quickly depending on requirements from the business and the outside world.

Here are some challenges that need to be addressed:

  • Several system solutions will need to be integrated over time to be able to handle future needs and requirements
  • A customer portal must often solve complex business logic that combines several business processes and business functions
  • Support several different types of business models – requires a complete solution that meets both customers’ and the company’s needs in the short and long term
  • Take into account both internal and external users with different requirements
  • The user experience should be modern, guiding, and comfortable to get started with

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Increasing numbers of B2B companies are investing in customer portals where they can offer the customer a personalised buying experience that includes digital assistance and information. But there are still companies that take orders via telephone or email and close new deals using salespeople out in the field.
What your customers don’t have enough of is more time. So it’s no surprise that online self-service is increasing in popularity. With a customer portal, you can increase sales, offer new services and simultaneously streamline and reduce costs for customer service. Being able to offer your customers a portal is starting to become a hygiene factor, particularly today where your customers have more options, more products to choose between, more information facilitating the buying decision and an increased range of channels for handling aftermarket issues.
The digital transformation has changed our purchasing behaviour. Because modern consumers collect information, compare and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages by themselves before making a buying decision, they have often come a long way in the purchase process before approaching a supplier. To create business opportunities and gain repeat custom, you need to achieve an experience that extends across and is the same in all channels. This is particularly clear in the B2B sector. To succeed here, it's best to start at the other end and collect information about your customers to achieve a 360-degree view.
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