Why do Companies create Self-Service Customer Portals?

chantelle

Chantelle Fraser

CEO LeadSquared Africa

Fore note: Like me, you are also all consumers, and we happen to be employees or business owners but, in this blog, I am also going to focus on my own experiences as a consumer.

Why do Companies create Self-Service Customer Portals?

  1. They want to generate more Sales.
  2. Because competitors are doing it.
  3. They want to retain their existing customers.
  4. They want to be able to give their customers a better experience.
  5. They want to know more about their customers so they can do more with the data/insights.

So, let’s unpack the above.

They want to generate more Sales

This is a great use-case for a Self-Service Customer Portal IF, it is seamlessly integrated with your CRM where your Sales Processes have been configured.

You do not want to build a shiny new object on a bad sales process.

Let me show you in practice what this looks like.

Wrong Approach

As consumers we have all experience this but go and test it out for yourself.

    • Visit a website and fill in the Apply Now Form.
    • In this example, I completed an Apply Now Form.
    • 12-hours later I received an emailer asking me to complete a whack of documentation and then send it back with documents that contain a lot of personal information, I do not want to get into the wrong hands.
    • I did not continue with this application but since the emailer, there has been no further follow-ups.

For the Company in this example….

    • The response time to leads is right out of park.
    • The consumer just moved onto another provider.
    • The company had to wait for a human resource, to review the Apply Request and then manually decide who to distribute the lead to.
    • The person who the lead was distributed to, only responded 12 hours later.
    • The email was not personalised, which could have been done because I provided my name in the Apply Now Form.
    • Since the emailer was sent there has been no follow-up from the company.

Right Approach

    • Most consumers do their research before deciding to buy a product today.
    • In this case, I wanted to visit the website and fill in the Apply Now Form.
    • Upload my documents, pay, and get the cover I wanted without having to deal with a call-centre.

For the Company in this example….

    • I could apply immediately, any-time or day of the week
    • I could pick my product
    • I had to find my documentation before I could upload it but when I came back to resume my application, I could pick up where I left off.
    • I also received an emailer within 30 minutes, asking if I needed help because they noticed I did not complete my application.
    • I could upload my documents and felt comfortable doing so because it was in my own secure profile.
    • I signed on the portal and,
    • My cover document was automatically created and then emailed to me.

Application Drop-Off Management

One of the biggest gaps for local businesses is being able to automatically manage your application drop-offs and this is what this company has gotten right.

Because your competitors are doing it

Great idea but if you implement the solution the wrong way, you going to get the same bad results if you still work like the bad example above.

They want to retain their existing customers

That is a great reason to implement a Self-Service Customer Portal if your Sales, Marketing and Service Channels are all connected and using your CRM where your processes have been configured. If this is not the case, you simply cannot expect to deliver a Better Customer Experience.

Your customers will want to use your Self-Service Portal to make it less painful for them to deal with our company when they need help and if your teams are not connected and have the right view of your customer, you not going to make any less painful.

Think about how many times, you have had to call into a call centre, you explain what you need help with. The person on the other end says, hold on while I transfer you to that division. The next person answers the phone and asks how they can help you, and you must explain all over again, and then the call cuts.

You need to ensure that you make it less painful dealing with your company and enable your customers to help themselves instead of waiting for someone to call back, and by the way the call back usually happens when the customer is not available to take your call.

So, if call back is going to be an option you provide, the ask your customer what the most convenient time would be to call back and then ensure you have the systems in place to ensure this task happens at the exact time, so you keep your word.

HOW?

They want to be able to give their customers a better experience.

Make it easy for your customers to get help. If they know you have a Self-Service Portal on your website, they will just keep coming back to your website because they know that is where they get easy help.

Let me give you an example as a consumer.

One of the big two telco providers, who I have a long-standing business account with has a few portals, websites, Apps but where to go for help, who knows.

Eventually, you schedule time in your diary to make a call because it upgrades must be taken care of.

    • Call 1 – Sorry you at the wrong place, let me transfer you to the business division.
    • Call 2 – Sorry my system is down but can I take down your email address and I will email you.
    • Call 3 – Can I please cancel a contract we no longer use? Sure, send me an email with the documents and I will take care of it for you.

Figure 1 – Email sent 7th July

Figure 2 – Email Sent 12th July

Figure 3 – Email sent 12th of July

This happens to customers everyday and does not lead to happy customers. And you cannot action these requests on the App.

If every service consultant had one view of their customer, imagine them being able to assign a task to the right team without making it their customers job to do?

When I talk about connecting your teams and processes in one platform, this is when you can achieve this level of keeping your customers happy.

 

They want to know more about their customers so they can do more with the data/insights.

Imagine, if you did not have to re-develop brand new systems, you could just put a platform like LeadSquared in the middle and push and pull data between core systems so that you have a real-time, 360-degree view of your customer, you can scale your customer relationship management.

You will be able to keep connected to your customer because they update your CRM for you every time, they come back to your Self-Service Portal for help.

As you acquire more customers, managing and sustaining your relationships becomes a larger task. An online customer portal enables you to manage customer relationships in a more scalable way, as you get more customers.

Think about some of the companies you have worked for before. A request comes in from a client, and you must shout across the office to tell your team members, not to touch that request because you are actioning it.

I still cannot believe in 2021how many businesses loose so much efficiency because they have multiple resources duplicating efforts and working on the same customer requests.

If you implement a Self-Service Customer Portal the right way, you will reduce Customer Support Costs and you will give your customers the option to log into a secure self-service portal, so you will lower the number of calls coming into your call centre and may be able to downsize your support overhead.

 

In Summary

If you have a real 1 view of customer – then you can build customer journeys that impress your customers.  Honestly, how do you build something for someone you do not know well enough?

Thankfully, having your Self-Service Customer Portal can centralize information and resources so that customers know where to find what they always need – and can access the necessary tools to solve problems as they arise. And with single-sign-on capabilities, customers have a better user experience when they do not have to sign in multiple places with multiple logins.

What do we do at LeadSquared?

So, when people ask me if I am trying to sell them a CRM. My answer is NO.

  • We sell sales efficiencies. That is what we do.
  • We do this so our clients can stop leaking revenue.
  • We do this so our clients can increase their lead to sale conversions, fast.
  • We do this so our clients can sell faster and generate more revenue.
  • We do this so our clients can give their customers and excellent experience and retain them.
  • Beyond retention, upselling is a big focus for us.
  • So, we look for businesses who want to transform the way they do Sales and Marketing and do High-Velocity Sales intelligently.