Why your business needs a Customer Portal

Customers expect easy ways to access products or services, take care of their accounts, and communicate with a company. If you can’t deliver, then they may move on to someone who can. These may seem like overwhelming responsibilities, but much of this can be taken care of by providing an online customer portal.

Why your business needs a Customer Portal

Customer portals provide a direct line to your business. Find out how what they are and how to build one without having to code 👇

Image: A Customer Portal built on Stacker

Let’s face it, businesses face enormous pressure in meeting their customers’ needs.

Customers expect easy ways to access products or services, take care of their accounts, and communicate with a company. If you can’t deliver, then they may move on to someone who can. These may seem like overwhelming responsibilities, but much of this can be taken care of by providing an online customer portal.

Though it sounds complicated, a customer portal is just a secure website where people can log in and interact with your business. Setting one up doesn’t have to be difficult either, with a number of no-code and low code tools you can use to build and launch a customer portal of your own.

The benefits of having a customer portal

We find customer portals across a variety of industries. Banks offer them to their customers letting them take care of their accounts and perform actions like canceling a lost credit card. A cable company will make it possible for people to set up automatic payments or make service requests through their customer portals. Health care providers give their customers an easy way to find doctors, pay bills, and schedule appointments. There’s a multitude of ways customer portals can be used to help people out in accessing information and accomplishing what they need to take care of.

Customer portals can help both your business and customers including:

  • Expediting the onboarding process
  • Providing a safe and secure platform for uploading and downloading documents
  • Submitting customer requests and tracking their statuses
  • Offering an organized, centralized place for staff and customers to communicate
  • Viewing and paying invoices
  • Offering content like articles, tutorials, and other materials
  • Changing or updating account information

Customer portals save you and your customers time

Customer portals empower customers with the resources and tools they need to find the solutions to what they may be having problems with. There’s no need to call customer service and wait on hold. Instead, they get autonomy and immediacy in taking care of whatever they need to do.

This helps you out as well. When your customers can take care of their issues on their own, it frees you up to put your focus on other aspects of your business.

Luckily, when they do need to speak to customer service, having a customer portal in place lets both of you keep a written record of all communication and allows any member of a team to seamlessly pick up the conversation where it left off.

A customer portal can help build a community around your business

An online discussion forum can be an important interactive feature of a customer portal. A message board allows customers to ask questions, get answers, and share information about your products or business. It brings people together and makes your company more than just an anonymous entity that sells something.

A discussion forum is also a great way to directly engage with your customers. It’s a space where you can jump in and offer advice. You can also stay up to date with issues and concerns your customers may be having and take care of them right away.

Offering an online discussion board builds personal connections between your customers and your brand, which is so important in making people excited about what you do and growing your business.

Customer portals are an extension of your brand’s identity

A customer portal is an extension of your branding. It speaks in the same tone and has the same colors, typography, logos, and other visuals that people associate with your brand. Anyone landing on your customer portal should recognize right away that it’s a part of your company.

What to look for in a no-code customer portal solution

You’ve probably heard the term “no-code” before and you might not know what it’s all about. No-Code removes the barriers of having to know how to program or design. It allows people to build things like websites, apps, and software all without having to enter a single line of code. People like marketers, copywriters, business owners, and others without formal technical training can all create. They may still need to learn about best practices and functionality but are freed from having to know how things work at a granular level.

You may also see the term “low-code”. Low-code means that you’ll need a deeper level of familiarity with how code works, but much of the busy work is taken care of by the app.  

With a bit of patience and the willingness to learn, you can use a no-code tool in building a customer portal for your business. Most offer intuitive, visual interfaces that make the process straightforward.

What to look for in a no-code customer portal builder

Now that you’re familiar with how no-code platforms can help you and your business, let’s discuss what you’ll need in a no-code platform for putting together a customer portal.

Custom branding

Most no-code platforms offer templates and other frameworks to work with. Of course, you’re going to want it to reflect your brand. It should be easy to change the colors, fonts, images, and other graphics so it looks consistent with your brand identity and reassures your customers that they are in the right place.

Choose a no-code tool that allows you to customize your portal so that it looks exactly how you’d like.

Responsive across different platforms

Whether someone is accessing your customer portal on a smartphone, desktop, or tablet they should all have a similar experience. Make sure that you choose a no-code builder that generates a responsive website that will work no matter what screens your customers are using.

Easy data utilization

Customer portals make it possible for data to be exchanged in multiple ways. Make sure that you use a no-code builder that offers simple ways of managing data and pulling that data in from other services you use. Whether you’re using something like Airtable, Google Sheets, Salesforce, or something else, look for a customer portal builder that makes it easy to connect and tap into this data.

Custom workflows

Whatever you require from a workflow, you should have the power to create something specifically for your use. Many co-code builders use modules you can link together. Doing things like connecting databases, sending automated emails, triggering notifications, and other actions should all be possible through a simple series of actions.

The benefits to your customers

Customer portals make interacting with your business more convenient. Instead of calling you up, or stopping by, they can connect any time. Wherever they are and whatever the time they can view their invoices, make payments, and take care of anything else when they want to.

Quick communication

If you’re dealing with multiple avenues in how people communicate with your business it can be tough to respond promptly. A customer portal provides a single means of communication making sure that you don’t miss anything that your customers send you. Quicker response times lead to happier customers.  

Content to help guide them

A customer portal acts as an ongoing library of useful materials for your customers. Include onboarding content, video tutorials, articles, and product updates to keep your customers in the loop about your business and what you offer.
Useful tools you can use

Even if you have a small or medium-sized business having a customer portal will benefit you and your customers. Let’s look at three that can get you up and running.

Stacker

We’re fans of the level of control Stacker gives you. They make it easy to implement your branding and to get creative with your design. What really shines are the custom dashboards and permissions, making it possible to create different classes of users, who may have access to certain data or functionality. If you’re using Salesforce, Google Sheets, or Airtable you’ll also find it easy to link with these platforms for data management.

Stacker offers us a user-friendly platform that can be used for a variety of different businesses. A glance through their showcase features marketing, finance, education, and other types of companies who’ve all used it to build their customer portals.

Stacker is a powerful no-code app that makes building a customer portal an intuitive and straightforward experience.

Internal.io

We like the fact that Internal.io covers the entire spectrum of expertise. For those without formal developer training, they offer an uncomplicated interface that makes it possible to put together a customer portal in a short amount of time. If you have someone on your team who is trained as a developer they’ll find the API and database tools not only easy to use but capable of creating sophisticated and powerful workflows.

Internal.io offers much in terms of versatility, making it a great choice for developers and non-developers alike.

Budibase

Budibase falls into the low-code category but provides plenty of great-looking pre-built elements. You’ll find templates for work orders, maintenance scheduling forms, and complaints records. Having these ready-made forms saves you time and effort.

You also get the capability to customize much of what they offer. If you want to change up the UI, create custom data fields, and utilize unique forms, Budibase gives you the flexibility to create something personalized for you and your customers.

There’s also plenty here for developers to take advantage making it possible to integrate with anything that uses a REST API.  Connecting Airtable, working with APIs like Discord, and infrastructure like Kubernetes are all made possible through Budibase. We know this sounds like complicated stuff, and it can be. If these sound like things out of a sci-fi movie, don’t worry.

For those who aren’t afraid of a small learning curve, Budibase offers a low-code platform for creating powerful and well-designed customer portals.

No-Code opens up design to everyone

It used to be that only those who had development expertise could make something with as many moving parts as a customer portal. No-Code has democratized web design. Where customer portals were once only available for those with big budgets, even small to medium-sized businesses can now build and launch them without expending a bunch of money and effort.

We’re fans of entrepreneurs and independent businesses. No-Code gives them the tools that were once out of reach. We’re excited to see what the future holds, and how it will help out smaller businesses in getting bigger.

Why your business needs a Customer Portal

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