Today’s technologies have increased companies’ ability to collaborate – the customer portal is a perfect example of this. They are increasingly popular within companies working with multiple clients thanks to their ability to provide completely secure 24/7 access to collaborative tools using just an internet connection.
A customer portal is a private online channel through which you can provide support and information to your customers. You may also have heard it called an extranet – where information is shared securely with named external parties, or an intranet – where information is shared internally with employees.
Customer portals allow you to interact and collaborate with your internal or external clients and share information such as data records, schedules and documents. You can also use a portal to allow your customers to view, download and upload private information such as invoices and much more.
Customer portals are simple to access, but secure. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser.
Customer portals enable you to add value to your customers by providing them with a highly personalised, interactive service that’s accessible to them even when your business is closed.
They can get answers to their questions as well as have access to whatever information you want to share with them, including a range of self-service options so they can download policy information or complete transactions. The benefit for them is access to the information they need when they need it; the benefit for your business is reduced queries which frees-up your customer service and sales staff, as well as improved customer satisfaction which can help with customer retention.
When it comes to sharing information, customer portals trump email, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). You won’t have the worry and costs that go hand in hand with supporting complex VPNs, but you and your customers will benefit from:
There is no right or wrong way to use a customer portal. Its uses will vary greatly depending on your industry, your organisation and what you’re trying to achieve.
Being browser-based, our customer portals work across any platform – from PC to Mac – and can include functionality that gives you the ability to:
As an example, we’ve created customer portals that:
Clients each have their own private window into their account where they can see the status of their orders and generate whatever reports they need, allowing them to act on this information in real time. It’s a significant competitive advantage. Read more.
Microsoft SQL server – our technology of choice – has been voted the most secure database five years in a row1.
The security of the information in your customer portal is paramount to us, that’s why we use 256bit SSL encryption – the same as online banking. We ensure data is held on mission critical systems which conform to multiple security standards and are locked down from the outside world.
The Government, NHS and healthcare, education, financial services and insurance industries – all of whom require the highest degree of security possible – have trusted us with their data.
If you’re interested in a new customer portal for your business, or you’d like to find out more about how we can integrate a customer portal with our other services, give our team a call on 020 3096 6199.
1(National Institute of Standards and Technology Comprehensive Vulnerability Database 4/17/2013, Market share from IDC 2013) – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server/