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Investing in a self-service portal? There are 3 clear benefits for your business
16 January 2023
Does your organisation spend a lot of time providing your customers with information and support about services? For example, scheduling delivery or maintenance appointments, contract management, changing customer data or taking orders? In most cases, these common interactions are all related to information that is connected to your services or products. And it is precisely these interactions that you can digitise effectively in a self-service portal.
What is a self-service portal?
There are many different names for self-service portals. They’re often called a my-environment, customer portal, client portal or extranet. Yet they all provide the same function: a self-service portal is a protected online environment in which your target group can arrange their own affairs, both in B2C and in B2B. A place where your customers can change their contact or payment details, place orders, view current contracts or contact your customer service. Of course, it’s convenient for customers if they can arrange everything themselves, but self-service portal many advantages for your organisation to have a self-service portal.
The benefits of a self-service portal for your business
Years of experience developing self-service portals means that we know that a well-designed portal is useful for both your customers and your organisation. Not to minimise communication with customers, but to make your organisation even more accessible.
In summary, we can say that developing a self-service portal has three important advantages: it increases customer satisfaction, boosts your turnover and efficiency, and builds customer loyalty.
Advantage 1: With a self-service portal you increase customer satisfaction
Contemporary customers expect excellent quality service and user experience. Brands rarely distinguish themselves in terms of product, but on service. Companies that provide superior service compared to their competition enjoy higher market share.
A self-service portal offers your customers flexibility, convenience, and efficiency. Delivering good service is a defining factor when it comes to making happy customers with high levels of customer satisfaction. Just think how annoying it is when you have to click through long phone menus to reach customer service, or when you have to wait until the four, five or six people waiting in front of you have resolved their issues. Today's customer expects everything immediately - not in 10 minutes or tomorrow.
Fast, seamless service
In an online self-service portal, the customer is not bound by opening hours or waiting times. You can help the customer directly online. For example, through a customer forum, virtual helpdesk, chat function, personalised FAQ or through WhatsApp for Business. An additional advantage is that back-office employees always have the most up-to-date customer information at their disposal thanks to the linking of customer accounts with a CRM system.
And for customers that prefer to have telephone contact? Then you can even provide real-time insights into the telephone waiting times or offer call-back appointments.
A world of self-service possibilities
In addition to customer service contact, there are many things that people can arrange in the portal. They can schedule maintenance appointments, pass on meter readings, or view and change account and product information.
These self-service options are advantageous for both customer and organisation: the self-service portal we developed for DHL Parcel lets customers arrange shipments and deliveries themselves, has led to a 25% decrease in support questions, and the number of daily shipments has increased by 12%! So with a self-service portal, you give your customers insights and control over their services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which reduces the number of telephone questions or service visits and increases customer satisfaction.
Advantage 2: With a self-service portal you increase your turnover and efficiency
A self-service portal is at its core a place for customers to arrange their own affairs. If your organisation - and ultimately your customer - want to get the most out of this, then a seamless integration with your back-office is essential. Automating and streamlining relevant business processes means you are called upon to provide fewer human actions, your processes become less error-prone, and accurate information (stock, order status) is available in real time.
The challenge often lies in the operational execution of these automated tasks. With a high volume of requests, you can use a continuous service department to track all the changes in real time. This is more difficult for lower volumes, especially when there are peaks and troughs. Think, for example, of central heating service engineers: very few requests in the summer and too little capacity in busy winter months.
Cross- and upsell possibilities
A self-service portal also offers cross- and up-selling opportunities. When you offer your customers a personalised environment where they can arrange many things with your company, you can also use this environment to draw their attention to other relevant products and services. For example, you can offer relevant additional services based on their purchase history, of offer personalised offers and customer-specific prices.
Digitising and personalising business processes, saves time, reduces the operational costs of providing customer support and increases efficiency through more targeted customer contact.
Advantage 3: A self-service portal helps you build customer loyalty
If your brand believes in 'putting the customer first' and providing 'high quality services', then a self-service portal is the embodiment of those values. Brand loyalty grows because trust in a brand grows.
It helps to build trust when a brand does what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. Therefore, offer customers personalised support in a self-service portal that aligns with your brand image and tone of voice.
Self-service portals contribute to a positive brand experience and deliver uniform communications across channels. The customer is ‘in control’ and always has access to the most relevant and personalised information, which translates into consistent positive brand experiences.
A user-friendly self-service portal in 5 steps
A self-service portal is not a 'one size fits all' solution. It is wise to take a number of things into account during construction. Read our practical tips for building a successful self-service portal in the whitepaper 'A user-friendly portal in 5 steps'. You’ll have a solid foundation and get your organisation off to a flying start with a portal that will yield optimal returns.
Develop a self-service portal and boost your business
Delivering optimal (online) services can make your organisation stand out from your competitors. With an online self-service portal, you increase customer satisfaction, build customer and brand loyalty, and create business opportunities. An effective self-service portal is a cost neutral/positive investment: it generates money by promoting operational efficiency and connecting customers to your brand.
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