In the 21st century, the pace of change has increased exponentially. For businesses, these are exciting times. Today, technology has opened new avenues for business growth and expansion that companies of the past could only dream of.
Growth and Scalability
Among the many technological breakthroughs of recent times is the introduction of the online customer portal. Today, it is a hassle for customers to contact the call center for basic inquiries about their account. In turn, businesses have found a practical solution for scaling their operations without losing control or draining precious resources. After all, expanding their online customer portals to accommodate rapid growth is far easier and more efficient than having to expand their call centers as fast.
But, designing an online customer portal with scalability in mind is not an easy task. First, however, let’s understand what an online customer portal exactly is.
An online customer portal is a website where customers can:
* view their past invoices and pay them online
* find answers to common issues
* get technical support, via a ticketing system, email, your organization’s customer service phone number and/or live chat
* join an online community and interact with each other to exchange knowledge and feedback
Ease and Effectiveness
Online customer portals that scale easily are designed with ease and effectiveness in mind. Portals that customers enjoy using can be counted upon as your customer base grows.
Follow these six tips to design online customer portals that provide the best customer service experience:
Tip #1) Design for Ease
An online customer portal must begin with the customer in mind. Designing the portal for customer ease and desirability delivers greater customer satisfaction and retention, and reduces the load on higher-cost, higher-touch service channels such as phone and email.
Tip #2) Get Customers to Participate
It is a great idea to select customers to be part of your ideas and testing team, and be sure to add feedback and survey tools to your self-service portal.
Tip #3) Include Peer-To-Peer Interactions
You will always have customers who cannot find their answer in your Knowledgebase. Expanding your customer portal, however, into an online community will provide an additional channel for customers to find the answer they need by asking other customers for it. Besides, you can archive their discussions and dramatically expand your Knowledgebase.
Tip #4) Make it Easy to Search
An effective online customer portal should provide a search engine to make it easy for customers to find the information they need.
Tip #5) Segment Your Information
Since customers are not all the same, not all of them need the same information and resources. It is useful, therefore, to segment your information by geographic location, product line, or role in the company.
Tip #6) Make it the Center of Customer Communication
Ensure that your customers will use your online portal by making it the center of your communication strategy with them.