What makes an effective customer portal? The answer may not be as obvious as you’d think. A well-designed customer portal makes for an experience so effortless that it feels like it’s doing nothing at all. When an e-commerce store or member service provider’s website is easy and intuitive to use, we’re more likely to keep coming back. A bad customer portal, however, sticks out to us like a sore thumb. When it’s poorly designed with impenetrable UX, we’re likely to run for the digital hills.
What is a customer portal?
A customer portal is a secure website that gives your customers access to information that is relevant to them and personalised to suit their needs. It may include information about past purchases, recommendations for future purchases, a wish list of items they’re interested in, and any other curated information that may be relevant to them. It should also enable them to change their name and address details, or update their payment methods.
In short, it should provide easy access to everything they need for a positive experience with your brand.
An effective customer portal can help to drive retention and referrals, growing your customer base and strengthening your relationship with existing customers.
Which begs the question, how effective is your customer portal? No matter how well it’s performing for you, it’s likely that you could still make some improvements. Here, we’ll look at some of the fundamentals of building an effective customer portal.
Make it easy to access and change account details
Your customers are seldom static. Your customer portal should make it quick and easy to make little changes as their lives and lifestyles change. Changing their address, updating their card details, or pausing their subscriptions shouldn’t feel like a chore. The easier you make it, the more customers will feel like your portal is a companion rather than an impediment.
Provide access to important data
At its core, a customer portal needs to connect your customers with what matters most to them. This means you should put important data somewhere prominent and easily accessible. This may include tracking data for deliveries, or instructions for how to use or assemble their products. If they need to know it, they should be able to access it through your portal.
Let them know that support is close at hand
Yes, your customer portal should be intuitive. But you should also make it easy for customers to reach out for a helping hand when they feel they need one. So your portal should provide instant access to live chat or some other form of interactive customer support. Even if it’s just a chatbot.
Give them a platform
Your portal can be a tool to empower your customers, by allowing them to post user-generated content like product reviews. Give them a platform and a voice, and their experiences with your brand will feel more interactive and reciprocal.
Make payment quick and easy
Do you know what nobody’s favourite part of a transaction is? Making payment! The quicker and more convenient we can make this for customers, the better. So it’s vital that your portal is attuned to your customers’ payment preferences. It should allow them to make payment using a method that’s convenient for them while making recurring payments effortless.
We Can Help
If you’re interested in finding out more about building an effective customer portal and making payments easier, then get in touch with our financial experts. Discover how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.