Portals: Your Customer Service Secret Weapon

Posted by Paul Bywater on Tue, Nov 26, 2013

Combining portals and business automation make for happier customers and more profitable organisations.

As technology advances, it reverses the characteristics of every situation again and again. The age of automation is going to be the age of 'do it yourself.'” – Marshall McLuhan.

Customers are increasingly confident in their own ability to search for and interpret data – a fact that can be put to good use by your own business to cut costs and increase efficiency. Here is how you can use portals to help your customers and your business.

Empower your customers

Queries are both legitimate and necessary for customers seeking confirmation of orders or to follow up deliveries. However these calls are also time-consuming and costly, particularly where data has to be followed up, or tracked throughout your organisation to arrive at an answer.

By combining customer portals with business automation, this information can be made available to clients for them to access online at their point and time of need. They then have the tools they need to answer their own questions. Your business then benefits from:

  • A reduction in customer queries that involve manual intervention.
  • A reduction in support-related costs.
  • Fully informed, and therefore satisfied, customers.

“The explosive trend towards self-service is a major benefit for both customers and businesses alike, offering broader access, cost savings, and greater relevancy for customers. In today's market, it is a rare occurrence when customers don't expect some access to a self-service option as part of the customer experience.” - Janet LeBlanc, Director, Customer Value Management, Canada Post.

Automate product purchases

Connecting portals to back-end ERP systems allows for customers to place orders and have them processed automatically without manual intervention. Some solutions even allow for automated processing of orders sent via email.

Customers can then use the portal provided to check and confirm their own order details as before. Using portals, your business is able to:

  • Operate around the clock.
  • Process orders with minimal manual intervention.
  • Sell internationally, exponentially increasing your potential customer base.
  • Deliver fantastic customer service.

Follow the sun

The Internet has extended store opening hours, so that consumers now expect to be able to place orders 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. Why should commercial business operate differently? They also expect your business to provide customer support to match their operating hours.

Staffing an around-the-clock operation is costly, and with the advent of business automation, unnecessary. Your clients can obtain the support they need, regardless of location, or time of day. All without increasing your operational costs.

Customer Self Service infographic: http://www.zendesk.com/blog/web-self-service

Get mobile

Mobile Internet is an increasingly important - and valuable - marketplace. As customers rely more on smartphones and tablets, they also expect to be able to shop from those devices.

Your business will need to ensure that both storefront and support portal can be accessed on mobile devices. Failure to do so will likely increase your customer account queries again. Providing information to customers as and when they want will further raise satisfaction levels.

31% of all customer interactions today are conducted via the Web, and an additional 9 percent are conducted via the mobile Web or mobile applications. – Unisphere Research.

Connecting with mobile customers infographic: https://www.parature.com/infographic-mobile-customer/

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Topics: Customer Insight, ERP software