May 29, 2018
A self-service Portal for your customers and partners is no longer a nice to have, it is expected.
Portal’s provide an avenue for your external stakeholders to engage with your organisation at a time that is convenient to them on a device of their choosing, and a well-executed self-service Portal can deliver many benefits for both your customers and your organisation. Namely:
If your organisation could do better in any of the aforementioned areas then a self-service Portal could be for you! With that in mind, what are the important considerations to make when preparing to go down the path of launching a Portal?
The success of a new Portal is highly-dependent on the first set of services that you offer your customers within it. Simply allowing them to update their details may not be a compelling enough reason for them to go through the effort of creating an account and setting up another password they need to remember. Picking a process that is somewhat difficult or cumbersome to complete is, therefore, critical to its initial and ongoing success. This can range from something as simple as making a payment for an invoice rather than going to the post office or completing a simple form that used to require your customer to print, sign it and send it to you.
The services you select in point 1 should align with your desired target audience. Not every customer may benefit from the Portal from day 1 based on the services you choose to deliver, so you need to ensure that the services that your Portal provides will benefit this group of people. Having a friendly group of customers who would be willing to help test the initial pilot of the Portal before you launch it to the rest of your target audience is very useful.
Once you have selected your target audience and the range of services you would like to offer them, select one and implement it in your Portal. By choosing one service or process, it lets you iron-out any scenarios you may not have thought about initially and gives your employees a chance to start adapting to a new way of supporting your customers. This process should be high value for your customer, but simple enough to be supported by your staff.
You can quite often get so caught up in the excitement of new technology and how good the Portal looks on a tablet device that you easily overlook the change management required for the people within your organisation. It is essential to have appropriate processes to support issues that customers may have when accessing your Portal. Do your customers call a hotline to get help or is there online help in the form of a FAQ page or live chat? Do you have a customer support team that is appropriately trained to handle over-the-phone support and know how to perform administrative functions like password resets and troubleshooting over the phone?
What is your communication plan for on-boarding your target audience on to your new Portal? Will your Portal be able to handle the load required if you send out comms to your entire target audience in one go? Planning out a timeline of comms can avert day 1 disasters where your customers perform a ‘Denial of Service’ attack on your Portal due to their excitement. Of course there are technologies out there that can help throttle the requests or scale up the capacity of your Portal to handle the additional load, but it’s always best to start small and grow.
If, after reading this blog, you still find self-service Portals scary and want a helping hand, get in touch with Superfluid. We would be glad to help you plan, adopt and optimise your very-own Portal.