The first interaction is the start of a relationship between you and your customers. If it's a digital connection, it allows you and your customers to exchange information in the form of documents, messages, and invoices.
A Salesforce customer portal reinforces the relationship with your customers. It gives them the power to access and control the information - securely. They can access information, make appointments, and pay bills all at one time. In general, Salesforce client portals are hailed for ease and flexibility. However, they can be revolutionary for businesses. Saving time, after all, is vital for organizations of all sizes, and a customer portal can cut down on the administrative hassles, such as getting staff on the same page while dealing with multiple customers.
So, if you're umm-ing and ahh-ing about the customer portal implementation, here are a few tips to consider. They will ensure your roll-out is a success.
Speak your Brand Language
When customers connect with your brand, they expect a consistent experience. 90 per cent of them expect consistent interactions across channels. That said, your customer portal should match your business requirements. As a digital front, it should feel professional and personalized as your brick-and-mortar store. Depending on your solution and requirements, it can include - setting color schemes, adding a logo, customizing the login page, changing URL, and more. Those tiny things play a major role. The purpose is that the tone of your portal should match your brand. For example, if you're sending invoices, add a brand logo to them. It will make your customers feel that they are in a familiar place and are dealing with a brand they trust.
Branding your portal will also help you attract bigger clients as you can provide them with a more professional environment to work in.
Focus on Non-Negotiables
When customers find answers to their questions themselves or solve queries independently, they appreciate the amount of time they save from waiting for support executives. Hence, when developing your Salesforce customer portal, focus on the features that will save your customers and staff time while accomplishing their tasks.
You can start by taking some time and talking to your team members about what's important for business and how customers want to experience the portal. You can ask them about their challenges and the ease they expect. Suggestions on the features and the workflow will help as one size doesn't fit all.
Identify what your customers like and how they interact with your brand. For example, if they ask you to share standard documents on a regular basis, make sure to add a document sharing feature. If appointment scheduling is a major task, let them do it at their leisure through your tailored Salesforce client portal. Customers will appreciate the convenience and ease you offer them. Not to forget the time saved.
While listing out all the essential features, ensure that your portal is designed with scalability so that when the company scales, you can feasibly include additional functionalities. This will make your portal pertinent to your business.
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Make it Integrative
Most organizations accumulate systems that don't talk to one another. The end result is an unwieldy tech stack where information is siloed, affecting your customers' experience and your ability to innovate.
So, ensure that your customer portal integrates with your existing systems and data is accessible and up-to-date, not the one that rips and replaces. For example, your client portal should integrate a social login or single sign-on to free your users from logging in each time.
Integrating external apps will lift the weight off both parties - it will offer a seamless and optimized experience, helping your business operations. This will probably save time when you have to instantly share information, sync contacts, or share files with internal teams or end customers. According to a survey by Aite Group, an integrated ecosystem allows businesses to serve 57 per cent more clients and earn 46 per cent more revenue.
Integrating apps means an investment in the initial stage, but it will be cost-effective in the long run and user-friendly, no doubt!
Simply put, third-party integrations offer a seamless workflow. Hence, when you integrate Salesforce, make sure you use certain third-party apps. For e.g., if you wish to offer subscription and billing management, you can integrate payment software like Stripe, PayPal, Braintree, Square, etc. that Stripe allows your customers to manage their subscription and billing details such as activation, deactivation, subscriptions, history, payments, etc. Similarly, for email campaigns, you can integrate third-party automation platforms like Mailchimp, HubSpot, Sendinblue, Sender, and more.
For every software to be viable, it has to be secure. A client portal that is not secure poses a risk to data breaches, loss of customers' and clients' information, and potential damage to the company's reputation and customers' trust.
Adopt IT security best practices like strong passwords, encryption, authentication, etc. Allow your portal users to log in and access sensitive data based on their roles and responsibilities. Naturally, a secure portal with role-based access will be far more efficient than your company's established email or telephone-based process - that takes an average of four days to act.
Your portal needs to be intuitive that allow users at the top in the hierarchy/with permissions to add additional users at other access levels. You have to make sure that all this is in line with the GDPR standards and the ability to add further security features like two-factor authentication. The bottom line is to create a secure environment that has a positive effect on your business's bottom line.
Be Prepared for Support
The overall purpose of you integrating a Salesforce customer portal is to enhance your customers' experience. So, be prepared for hand-holding. Communicate with your customers about the changes in the service they can expect. Keep the instructions simple, short, and up to the mark. Update your clients through calls or emails while sharing the documents and the information with the new platform. Help them get familiar with the portal by being available for them whenever they need you. Assist your team in readily troubleshooting the problems by collating FAQs and sharing them with everyone. Add articles or blogs to your knowledge base. It will be of great help to your customers who are looking to access the portal or clear their doubts with a precise answer.
Apart from your support team’s service, try to make your Salesforce client portal simple, convenient, and user-friendly with user-specific features. While some issues would be unavoidable, you can train your team to be readily available 24*7 and help in the best possible way. Being prepared ahead of the change will help you tackle all the challenges with ease.
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Adopt a plan. Look for a custom portal development company to help you with all the solutions and features that a Salesforce customer portal should have - scalability to integrate third-party tools, for example.
Ask questions like - is it future-ready? Is it secure and reliable? Does it have all user-specific features? What kind of training will be required? Conduct surveys, make a team of your staff and customers who can test the portal before the final launch, and consider their feedback.
Self-service can unlock valuable opportunities for your business. All it requires is proper planning and implementation. So, speak to experts for advice on what to consider when taking customer experience online.