What is a customer portal? And why is it important?

Appdrawn Team | Published 26th April 2019
Find out why customer portal software development is not just fashionable but essential.

You might not realise it, but you probably use customer portal software on a regular basis. These magical software applications are seamlessly connecting millions of customers to online services, and we are rapidly approaching the time where many industries could no longer live without them.

Let us give you a few examples of where this sort of software has become the portal for customers to access the services and information they need from their suppliers. Perhaps you downloaded your latest phone bill today, or maybe you viewed your bank statement or paid a bill online, and the next time you buy or sell a house – guess where you will have to upload all your documents once you’ve signed them?   That’s right – it was a customer portal.

Whether it is in a business to business or business to customer scenario, the switch to customer portal software is a seismic one. And the reasons why are abundantly clear.

Five reasons why bespoke customer portal software development is the smart way forward for businesses

  1. Security: in this age of cybercrime and heightened attention to data security, there are few more secure, gated-entry systems online than a well-built customer portal application. Billing, payments, invoicing and secure data sharing can all be effortlessly managed through your customer portal.
  2. Ease of access: with each customer having their own space on your customer portal system, they can access personalised information and service-relevant data in real-time. This accelerates processes, clarifies communications and ensures that service levels are monitored and maintained.
  3. Building relationships: websites have long been seen as companies’ online shop fronts – but a customer portal takes that relationship to the next level, inviting customers into their own personal boutique store (open 24/7) where everything is designed just for them. Nothing builds a relationship like personalisation and regular contact. A whole range of one-to-one customer service tasks could also be built into any bespoke portal.
  4. Upselling: with email and other online marketing reaching overload levels, what could be a better sales environment than a personalised store? Customers visit on their terms, when they are ready, and when they choose to interact with you – the perfect time to introduce new services and benefits.
  5. Managing growth: as with all well-designed, bespoke software development, a good customer portal can be adapted and enhanced in line with the next stage of developments in your business. We live in a rapidly changing world, and bespoke software is the best way to manage that change for most businesses.

Big, small or indifferent – customer portal software development can still make a difference in your business

You would think that global technology giants would get this sort of thing right wouldn’t you? Well, if you want proof that that is not the case go to Vodafone’s business website and try to log onto their portal. Yes – that is right – it is not clear which one of the four you need and what you see inside any one of those portals is pretty dire too. A lot of big companies are doing this badly – we promise you that you could do better!

My point is that almost any SME would be able to provide a better service for their customers through a bespoke designed customer portal. One great example is the property group that we recently developed a solution for. They had researched a standard off-the-shelf package to help their clients manage their portfolios and provide a portal for sharing secure documents, but there simply wasn’t anything out there that fitted the brief.

They came to us, we listened to their requirements and created a fully branded, made-to-measure solution that fully integrated with all of the other software they were already using. You can read the full case study here.

Get in touch if you would like to learn more about customer portal software and why it is probably the next best investment for your business in the fast-moving online service age.

Appdrawn Team | Updated 30th June 2020

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