Customer Self Service Portals: Benefits and Must-have Features

5 min read

Customer self-service portals provide means for customers to manage their own accounts, access their recent purchases, submit warranty and returns, resolve their common questions and issues on their own, and, when needed, interact with customer service representatives. They are an essential part of a company’s customer service strategy, as they empower customers to be self-sufficient and successful with their products and services.

As such, it is important for companies to ensure that their customer service portals contain must-have features and are easy to use. In this blog post, we will discuss the must-have features of customer service portals and provide best practices for using them.

What is Customer Self-Service Portal?

A customer portal is a web-based application that provides customers with self-service access to a company’s products and services. Customers can use the portal to manage their accounts, learn about their products through knowledge base and documentation, track the status of their orders, warranty or returns, and communicate with the company about any unresolved issues.

The customer portal is a key part of the company’s customer service strategy. It gives customers a convenient way to interact with the company and get the information they need. The portal also helps the company track customer interactions and collect data about customer preferences and behavior as well as reduces overall customer support costs.

Benefits of having a customer portal

There is a number of benefits of having a customer portal.

Increases customer satisfaction

A customer portal can help your company resolve customer issues quickly and without back and forth with the again and long hold times. Customers who have access to a customer portal are more satisfied with the support they receive because they are able to resolve issues quickly and on their own. In addition, a customer portal can help your company collect valuable feedback from customers about their experience with your product or service.

Customer loyalty

Having a customer portal can improve the customer experience by providing customers with access to product information, previous interactions with the company, and more avenues for communication. By making accurate and timely information available to your customers, you show that you are responsive to their needs and encourage them to do business with your company in a long run.

Reduces customer support costs

Introducing a customer portal can help to reduce the cost of customer support. When customers have easy access to information and support tools, they are able to resolve many issues on their own, without having to contact customer support. This can lead to significant cost savings for the company.

A customer portal also provides a valuable resource for customers. It gives them a one-stop-shop for information about their account, support tools, and the ability to track their interactions with customer support. This helps to build a relationship of trust and transparency between the company and its customers.

Customer self-service Portal improves agent productivity

In a study by Forrester, it was found that self-service customer portals can improve agent productivity by up to 44%. Giving your customers the ability to solve simple issues on their own through a self-service portal can free up your customer service agents to focus on more complex problems.

The study also found that when customers use self-service customer portals, they are more likely to resolve their own issues, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction.

Must-have Customer Portal Features

As we see, there are many benefits for businesses when it comes to implementing self-service customer portals. In addition to improved agent productivity, self-service customer portals can also lead to reduced costs and increased customer loyalty. Now let's take a look at some of the key features that every customer portal should include.

Knowledge base

A key element of a successful customer portal is a knowledge base. A knowledge base is a repository of information that is accessible by customers, partners, and employees. It can include getting started, setup and troubleshooting articles, product information, and video tutorials. The goal of a knowledge base is to provide customers with the information they need to quickly and easily solve common problems.

Unified Search

The unified search feature of the customer portal enables customers to search for information across all the applications that are integrated with the customer portal. With this feature, they can quickly and easily find product manuals, product documentation, product information, setup and troubleshooting guides, training materials, and other information that they need, without having to search through multiple applications and websites.

The Unified Search feature typically is divided into two parts: the Basic Search and the Advanced Search. The Basic Search is the default search that is automatically activated when you open the customer portal. The Advanced Search provides more options for filtering your search results.

Communication

Communication is key to the success of your business. However, communicating detailed information with customers about their products, orders, and support issues can be difficult -- emails can take a long time going back and forth, long hold times and missed calls can be frustrating, and busy schedules can all inhibit effective communication of important details. 

Customer self-service portals allow customers to view this important information on their own time from wherever they want. They can view their previous communication with the company, reply to any ongoing open issues or submit a new case, if necessary. The customer then receives updates on the case as it progresses. This system ensures that customers always know where they stand and what is being done to help them. This allows customers to get the help they need quickly and efficiently.

Customer community

The customer community is a place where customers can ask questions and share ideas. They can help each other by answering questions and providing advice. Customers can also give feedback about the company and its products and services. The customer community can also be used to get ideas from customers about new products and services.

Feedback and suggestions

The feedback and suggestions feature of a customer self-service portal is a great way to get feedback from customers about your company and your products or services. You can use this feedback to improve your company and your products or services. You can also use the feedback and suggestions feature to get ideas from customers about new products or services that they would like to see from your company.

Self-service account management

A customer self-service portal should allow customers to place orders, submit returns, warranty, upgrade or cancel their account online. They should also be able to view and update their account information, including contact information, shipping addresses, and payment information, change their passwords, and see a history of their orders.

Conclusion

Customer self-service portals are a great way for businesses to provide customers with value-added services that can both improve customer satisfaction and reduce customer support costs. In this article, we looked at the features that are essential for a successful customer self-service portal and the best practices for implementing them.

If you are considering implementing a customer self-service portal, or you want to know more about the features and best practices, contact us.

Victoria
I love to write with one goal in mind - to help you build amazing customer experiences. Our content is tailored to help you understand your customers, design great products and deliver world-class customer self-service. I share my knowledge and experience through my articles, videos, podcasts, templates, and more - so you can take your customer experience to the next level.‍

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