The Power of the Customer Portal

What is a customer portal? Explaining the resurgence of a powerful digital B2B channel
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Customer portals resurgence

Customer portals have existed for almost as long as the internet itself. Though their use declined for a period, they’re now back in favor and are a popular means of providing customers with a powerful self-serve channel.

Here, we look at what customer portals are, why they're considered a resurgent business tool, and how they can benefit your business.

What is a customer portal?

Customer and partner portals are networked interfaces dedicated to providing your customers and partners with 24/7 access to your business. As the names suggest, customer portals are orientated towards the needs of your clients, whereas partner portals focus on providing services and information to organizations you’re partnered with.

Customer portals give clients a complete overview of their historical interactions with your business, as well as allowing them to complete key transactions. Importantly, they do so via a single access point. Essentially, customer portals are designed to be a one-stop-shop for all your clients’ needs.

Both customer and partner portals are key self-serve technologies. As individuals and businesses become accustomed to resolving inquiries and performing basic business processes without interacting with a human agent, offering effective self-serve options becomes increasingly important. 


 

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What can customer portals do?

Customer portals can be designed to fulfill a wide range of functions. Common features include:

●    Providing support to customers and tracking support tickets
●    Delivery and distribution of business documentation
●    Managing and tracking orders
●    Detailing order history
●    Creating FAQ resources based on popular customer inquiries.

Customer portals are in no way limited to the features listed above. Their versatility is one of their main advantages.
 

Ibexa DXP - creating effective customer portals

Our Digital Experience Platform, Ibexa DXP, helps you deliver a seamless customer experience. In the context of customer portals, several features prove particularly useful. For instance:

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Page Builder

Uses an intuitive drag and drop interface to enable you to build new pages quickly. It simplifies portal design, creation, and publication considerably.

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Form Builder

Gives you the tools to create and customize forms so that you can specify and gather the data you need to serve your customers.

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Segments

Assign your customers to different groups, then tailor the capabilities and content each group can see and use. This is key to creating personalized customer journeys.

Our portal will enable our partners to segment content for their customers. Depending on the optician or the user when they access this portal, they will receive the right and the relevant message for them
Adam Healey
International Digital Manager
Essilor

Three reasons why customer portals are a resurgent digital business tool

While customer portals have been underused in recent times, they’re now enjoying greater popularity. Below, we look at three key reasons why they’re once again being adopted by digitally savvy businesses and examine how they can benefit your business.

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1. Customers demand them

The most straightforward reason customer portal solutions are making a comeback is that customers are demanding them. A recent survey by Statista showed that 88% of respondents expect businesses to have a self-serve online portal for their customers. 

Without a customer portal, your business will fall short of many customers’ expectations. This not only damages your brand’s reputation but also makes it harder to retain customers and attract new ones.

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2. Self-serve options are essential

Self-serve channels are increasingly important for businesses of all shapes and sizes. They give customers the freedom to resolve issues and inquiries without relying on human customer service and reduce costs for those businesses that implement them. 

Modern customer service is all about empowering your clients to interact with your business in the most straightforward, most practical, and most efficient way. In some cases, this will mean jumping on the phone for an in-depth conversation. However, in most cases, it means using digital self-serve resources to locate important information or find a quick solution to a problem.

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3. Learn from customer behavior

Today, businesses must truly understand their clients to provide them with a satisfactory customer experience and meet their needs. This means capturing data that helps explain customer behavior.

Customer portals are an excellent source of information relating to customer needs and behaviors. They also act as a forum in which customers can raise issues and ask questions. Because these issues and questions are collected in a single place, it’s easy to analyze them and identify repeat requests or problems. In turn, this ensures you recognize emerging customer needs or deficiencies in your service provision.

What are the benefits of customer portals?

 

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1. Engage, collaborate and share

Portals engage your customers and give you an easy and effective means of delivering value. They also act as a valuable retention tool. If a customer has invested time and resources in getting to know and use the portal, they'll be more reluctant to leave it behind and switch to another supplier. Customer portals also facilitate more efficient collaboration by making it easier to share data and information.

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2. Easy integration for a streamlined experience

Customer portals can be integrated with your existing systems, ensuring you have a comprehensive record of your customers, behavior, and history. This enables the free flow of data between channels, preventing the emergence of organizational silos.

This also benefits your clients, as they can access their customer information via the portal, see their order history and take advantage of features such as one-click reordering and quote requests.

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3. Personalized customer journeys

Customer portals are the perfect tool for personalizing customer journeys. They enable you to offer role-based access and tailor content to different partners and customers, increasing transparency and making the customer experience more streamlined. They can also provide product recommendations and suggest complementary products, helping you maximize sales.

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4. Increase the value of third-party seller programs

If you operate a third-party seller program, a partner portal is a fantastic way of providing your partners with the information they need to sell your products and services. Whether you offer training resources or detailed product descriptions, this additional content goes a long way to increasing the value of these critical relationships.

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5. 24/7 accessibility across all devices 

It's impossible to underestimate the value of offering customers 24/7 access to your channels. In a globalized economy, where businesses operate across international borders and time zones, empowering your customers and partners to interact with your business whenever and wherever they want is a crucial aspect of modern customer service. Similarly, facilitating access via all types of devices removes obstacles that may otherwise prevent customers from using your channels in their preferred way. 

Why Ibexa is your ideal choice

Ibexa is ideal if you want to begin transforming your business but don't want to commit to a large initial expenditure. Based on a modular design, Ibexa DXP ensures that you can add new capabilities when you need to. This also implies that you can integrate Ibexa ContentIbexa Experience and Ibexa Commerce with your existing systems and harness the advantages of having an interconnected digital ecosystem. 

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