It’s no secret that it’s become more challenging than ever to keep customers satisfied:
- 54% of consumers admit that they have higher expectations when interacting with a business than they did just a year ago
- 33% of American customers would switch companies after a single instance of poor service
- 54% of customers will stop shopping if the brand doesn’t provide engaging or relevant content
To combat these challenges, B2B customer experience leaders are turning to customer portals to develop consistent, scalable customer experiences.
But with so many different features, vendors, and needs out there, you may be asking, “what are the key elements my customer portal should have?”
5 Elements All Customer Portals Should Have
90% of consumers now expect a customer portal for customer service. However, not all customer portals are created equal.
But, consistently, we’ve found that customers want to:
Access a centralized location for their account
A great customer portal serves as a central location for your customers to access all the tools and information they need to manage their accounts and products. Bring everything together on a unified platform not only for the ease of customers, but also for internal teams by streamlining management.
Eatel, a US-based telecom company, now offers customers a unified dashboard to access billing, account information, and support.
Additionally, it’s not enough for businesses to just provide an information hub, as over 88% of customers globally expect to be able to search for this information, manage their accounts, and interact with the business through digital self-service, without the assistance of a team member.
The first step to excellent digital customer experiences is self-service.
- Over 60% of US consumers prefer automated self-service, such as a website or mobile app, for simple customer service tasks.
- 85% of customer service interactions will start with self-service by 2022.
- 81% of customers try to handle issues themselves first.
Search for relevant information easily
Over 50% of consumers say that the main reason they cannot resolve an issue on their own is because there is too little information online.
Customers become frustrated when they waste time trying to search for the information they need, only to have to contact a representative because they weren’t able to get the answers they needed. Centralize all the information customers may need into the customer portal through FAQs, knowledge bases, chatbots, and virtual assistants.
Canva, an online design tool, offers its customers with a unified knowledge base to answer commonly asked questions.
Receive personalized experiences
It’s no secret that customers have come to expect Amazon and Netflix-levels of personalization from every business they interact with. Studies show that:
- 74% of customers feel frustrated if there’s a lack of personalization.
- 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences.
- 66% of consumers say encountering content that isn’t personalized would stop them from making a purchase.
But personalization needs to go deeper than just adding your customer’s name to the subject line of an email. Customer portals can provide the perfect opportunity to deliver these tailored experiences based on customers’ roles, products, and current and even future life events, through personalized dashboards and targeted product and content recommendations.
Insurer, Excellus, provides a personalized dashboard to each of their policyholders.
Relying on sales team members to be the “personalizing” element will not be a scalable strategy. Instead use self-service within customer portals to deepen the scale of personalization and supplement live support.
Communicate with their peers
Not only can customers help themselves with self-service, but they can also help one another. Customer portals can provide communities where customers can voluntarily answer one another’s questions and share knowledge, increasing engagement and loyalty.
We see this with our own open source project, Liferay Community Edition (CE). Community members are able to author blogs, ask questions, provide answers, and leave comments.
Offer direct feedback
While it seems simple, asking and collecting feedback from customers can reap significant benefits.
Asking for feedback communicates to customers that the business cares about their input, and so customers will feel more involved and invested in the success of these initiatives.
An example of a survey question from Qualtrics.
If businesses implemented and utilized the input collected from customers, the Aberdeen Group found that they experienced:
- 55% greater customer retention rates
- 23% decrease in customer service costs
- 10x greater year-over-year increase in annual company revenue
Making Sure Customers Stay Customers
With customers having more power than ever to leave and seek out competitors, businesses must prioritize how they can differentiate their customer experience. By delivering a robust customer portal, businesses can provide value and engagement to their customers.
What’s the Most Critical Element of a Customer Portal?
The best experience you can provide to customers is one where they are in control. Learn more in this whitepaper >