Customers are an essential asset for your business, and customer satisfaction becomes essential for sustaining long-term relationships with them. Most customers want to and can help themselves and resolve issues on their own as much as possible. They will first search your company’s online resources for some self-help before reaching out to you in times of an issue.
Hence, providing them with a dedicated platform where they can manage their relationship and concerns with your company becomes necessary. This is where a customer self-service portal comes into existence. You can enhance your customer outreach and strengthen your customer relationships with such a portal. Let us see how.
What is a Customer Service Portal?
A customer service portal is a platform for your customers to find personalized information about your services. It empowers customers to seek information about their concerns and relationship with your business independently, without external assistance. It includes a platform where they can file queries, check the status of their support requests, follow relevant knowledge base articles, and even contribute to your online community.
You can have a distinct self-service portal for your customers that connects your business' self-service functions in a single, personalized place. That place can be your business website or its mobile app.
How a Customer Service Portal Can Make a Difference
In today's world, customers don't want to be put on hold anymore for the resolution of their queries. They want faster methods for finding solutions that don't keep them waiting for a long time. Your customer portal can make this happen.
1. Proactive Customer Support
Instead of waiting for them to reach out for help, a customer service portal can support its customers readily after issues arise. This comes in handy whatever is the type of your business. For example, you can keep relevant knowledge base content already updated on your customer service portal if you have a tech service company. So, if any issues arise due to any software update, you can assist your customers without hassles.
Similarly, suppose you have an e-commerce business. In that case, you can provide your customers with the facility to manage their order details, track their orders and deliveries or update their information with a self-service customer portal integrated with your website. Again, this will save your customers precious time spent reaching out to support and waiting for a response in case of an issue.
2. Provides Knowledge Base
A customer portal is not only meant for resolving issues. It can play an important role in fostering customer engagement. It brings your community forum and knowledge base together at a single access point. Thus you can move in the direction of customer engagement through imparting education and building a community.
For instance, you can provide screenshots, getting-started videos, or audio to new customers to become aware of your platform. Or, you can establish a community forum where they can interact on using your product or service efficiently.
With sufficient information provided on your customer portal, customers can gather relevant product knowledge or learn new self-help techniques for your products. In addition, depending on what part of the customer journey they are in, they can subscribe to articles or interact with other customers in their industry.
3. Encourages a Feedback Loop
Customer feedback is necessary to gather opinions for improving customer experience and adjusting your company's services to their needs wherever possible. You can incorporate a feedback loop in your customer portal to help your business focus on your customer concerns and preferences.
For example, you can collect your product or service-related feedback through customers’ votes on articles or comments on discussions. This data will help you decide what customer feature requests or complaints are the most prevalent in your community forum.
Similarly, customers' votes for your product, subscriptions, comments, and tickets created after search lead to tracking the community metrics and knowledge base to foster the feedback loop.
4. Build and Maintain Customer Loyalty
Your customer service portal allows customers to become more self-reliant. It also strengthens your brand and recognition, as customer service becomes a significant influence when choosing a brand in the market.
Your customer portal becomes the best tool for tracking customer history. It provides detailed information about purchases, previous support requests, complaints, and the customer’s prior history with your company.
A customer portal minimizes the need for a phone call and allows customers to see progress and status in real-time, thus building transparent and positive relationships with them. In addition, customer portals can strengthen brand awareness by enabling customers to become more independent and improving customer satisfaction.
5. Improves Productivity
An efficient customer self-service portal can go a long way in managing incident deflection. Your customer portal can offer features like well-mapped FAQs that are easily searchable. It can help customers solve issues on their own and cut down on any service wait time.
A proper FAQ system, solutions, comprehensive knowledge base, downloads and forums all help your customers to take control of their situation. They can now use this readily available data to seek out resolutions for their own benefit. When customers are able to read through the process, they can resolve their own questions and walk away feeling informed. It leads to a positive customer.
This will also reduce the burden on your employees to respond to customer concerns. In turn, it reduces the number of customers who need human support for their issue resolution. Less involvement of labour reduces labour cost and increases the productivity of your employees. Your employees will get increased job satisfaction as they now don't need to answer the same questions repeatedly.
Overall, an efficient customer service portal provides a proper channel for self-servicing and query resolution. It reduces unnecessary customer support contacts and is thus influential in increasing the peace of mind of both customers and employees alike. Your employees can now manage more time to target the company's growth. This will lead to higher levels of employee-customer satisfaction.