What is a Self-Service Customer Portal?
What’s amazing about that question is that it’s almost rhetorical — there’s pretty much nothing a self-service customer portal can’t be. It all depends on what your business needs to communicate with customers and how that information needs to get to those customers. The only caveat is this: what technology will you use to build it? More on that later.
For now, a self-service customer portal is a front-end solution for sharing enterprise data with your customers (or another applicable audience such as supply partners and vendors). Typically, this might be anything from their invoice history to real-time order status updates. But the primary benefit of a solution like this is that it allows your customers to get the information they’re looking for without requiring any effort on your end (apart from the initial build-out).
Building a customer portal to provide customers with access to your enterprise data might seem like an undertaking matching that of an ERP implementation itself. Thankfully, that’s not the case. Platforms are available that make it easier than ever to build a self-service customer portal. But why build one in the first place? Here, we’ve outlined four solid reasons why it makes sense to build your own self-service customer portal.
1. There’s No Reason Not To Build One
Alongside utility, security is likely your primary concern, and it’s understandable. Cybersecurity is a leading topic in today’s connected world, and with more and more incidents occurring around the world, we understand the concern. At Bezlio, our development platform uses a unique token-based security process that protects your enterprise data at all times and at the most granular levels.
Information is securely routed from behind your firewall to users that have been granted a security token from your system administrator. Bezlio listens for this token at multiple points, ensuring that the user requesting the data is in fact authorized to obtain it. Once verified, a secure channel is opened up via our cloud API between the data and the front-end user. No information is ever stored on the device — whether desktop or mobile.
Because your enterprise data is kept safe at all times, you can securely share data with customers without worrying that they’re accessing information that they’re not authorized to view. So if your organization has any enterprise data, like orders or inventories, that customers are often requesting to see or check, you might as well invest in a self-service customer portal to give them access to the information they need — and save yourself time and resources in the process.
2. Share Everything They Need, and Nothing They Don’t
Using application development platforms like Bezlio allows you to completely customize a front-end solution to be exactly what your customers need — and only what they need. By building your own self-service customer portal, you control what your customers get access to. You don’t need to worry about launching a platform that forces you to provide unnecessary information simply because it’s just part of its off-the-shelf package.
So what might you share? Common examples of enterprise data that would be shared through a front-end self-service customer portal include order histories, tracking details, shipment information, inventory and parts look-up, order entry, and more. But the sky’s the limit! As long as the information you’re sharing is relevant and useful to your customers, there’s no end to the dashboards, search functionality, and other informative uses that you can set up in your self-service customer portal.
3. Remove Administrative Burden from Your Team
The benefit of using a self-service customer portal is two-fold. First, you can set up a system that gives your customers 24/7 access to the data they need. Second (and provided you have a platform in place that enables read/write functionality), you can give your customers the power to update their own data and handle other administrative tasks. This takes some of the burden off your team for consistent tasks such as placing orders, providing status updates, and checking inventory levels.
By giving your customers the ability to manage certain aspects of their information within your system, you can improve the quality and accuracy of your customer data without needing your team to manage it for them. This helps to keep the engine of your organization running while simultaneously improving customer satisfaction. Speaking of which…
4. Increase Customer Satisfaction and Business Performance
Your customers want to know what’s going on with their orders, inventory levels, service requests, and many other data points that connect them with your organization. By giving them the ability to view, update, and interact with this data, you’re giving them what they want, whenever they want it, and wherever they need to access it.
They no longer need to submit a request or order with your team, wait for a response or solution, and then spend time evaluating what they’ve learned to make a decision. They can do it all themselves, in real-time. Not only does this help to improve customer satisfaction, but it also produces real benefits for your organization.
When customers can place orders faster and on their own, order frequency and volume increase, leading to more revenue for your organization. When customers can view the status of their repair or service requests in real-time, your customer service team no longer needs to look into it for them, saving you time and resources.
Collectively, these benefits lead to better data quality for your organization, so when the time comes for leadership teams to evaluate employee and business performance, they’ll have more accurate information upon which to base their decisions.
Experience the Benefits for Yourself
There are many reasons for building a self-service customer portal, and at Bezlio, our development platform has been used to create some amazing examples. If you think your organization could benefit from a self-service customer portal, we’d love to show you how our low-code development platform can help you build your own quickly, easily, and at a fraction of the cost of many other software solutions.
ADAM ELLIS, CO-FOUNDER & CEO
Adam Ellis is the Chief Executive Officer of Bezlio and one of four co-founders. Adam is a lifelong entrepreneur and has extensive ERP and mobile software knowledge through his consulting and management experience. He has a passion for exploring innovative ideas and how they can change the status quo. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn to learn more about his involvement in the ERP space.