What is Customer Portal Software?
Customer portal software enables businesses to give customers anytime access to relevant information or services. For field service businesses, this may include the ability to book jobs, pay invoices, or provide feedback – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
As customer portals are all online, they are accessible from any web-enabled device like a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. By connecting customers to your business via online portals (also called web portals), both sides can benefit from up-to-date information shared in real time.
What Are the Benefits of Customer Portals?
Customer portals offer businesses and their customers a variety of benefits. For customers, online portals are highly convenient and make services both easy to access and available when is best for the customer. Ultimately, this gives customers more independence and control over how and when they interact with your business (picking up the phone isn’t the only option!).
For field service businesses, customer portal software essentially extends your working hours (without any additional employees or late nights) by providing access to key services at all times of the day. Other benefits for businesses include better cash flow, reduced admin tasks and time spent on the phone, plus improved customer satisfaction.
Why Are Portals Important to Each Customer Journey?
Customer portals are primarily about communication and providing new ways for customers to interact with your business. These interactions are essentially small journeys where the customer moves from ‘Point A’ (wanting to complete a task) to ‘Point B’ (the task being complete). For example, if a customer needs to pay an invoice, there may be two routes available to them: call the business during the day and provide payment over the phone, or access the invoice from their smartphone and pay anytime. Which of these customer journeys will likely be preferred?
Field service businesses can streamline many of these journeys with customer portals, helping drive customer satisfaction whilst also providing a myriad of operational benefits.
We take a look at two examples where poor communication lead to a bad customer journey and the lessons that can be learnt from them. We discuss…
- What makes a positive or negative customer journey?
- How customer journeys impact overall customer experience
- Examples of how you can improve customer journeys
Online Booking Portal
Take booking requests 24/7
The natural starting point for any customer is requesting a job booking. By adding a booking portal to your website, you can generate new business 24 hours a day – not just when your phone lines are open.
Easy online estimates and deposits
Waiting for customers to accept estimates can keep your jobs in limbo. With a dedicated estimate portal, customers can quickly accept your quoted price and pay any deposit right away, so you can get to work.
Engineer Profile Portal
Provide live ETA and tracking
For customers, waiting for an engineer to arrive is the most stressful part of the experience. With a convenient engineer tracking portal, you can reassure customers exactly who is arriving and when.
Credit and debit payments from anywhere
When customers are slow to pay invoices it can harm your cash flow. With an invoice payment portal, customers can make that payment via credit and debit cards at any time, from anywhere – helping you get paid quicker.
After-Sales Care Portal
Automated feedback when a job is complete
Customer care doesn’t finish when you leave the customer’s property. Giving customers a chance to share their experiences via a feedback portal makes them feel valued and gives you extra insight into your performance.
Customer portal software comes in various shapes and sizes. One fundamental difference in the options available is whether it operates using multiple online portals or a single portal. The single approach typically involves a username and password to login to the customer portal, where different services can be accessed. Whereas the multiple portal approach utilises temporary portals for individual tasks, without any login required.
Although a single customer portal may sound simple, many customers don’t want more login details to have to remember and another web system to learn to navigate. With one-time-use portals dedicated to specific tasks, customers can quickly complete the required action without unnecessary complication.
Check out the portals above for some examples!