A customer portal (or customer extranet) is a secure area of your website designed for your customers. They can log in and perform a number of different tasks, such as pay their bill, view their information, purchase new products, ask a question, etc… If your business has customers (and I hope that it does), you should really have a portal set up. Why? I could rattle off a number of reasons, but here are the two biggest ways a portal/extranet will help your business:
It makes customers happy. Think about it. A portal is a place that makes your customer’s lives easier. For example, most cellular companies have portals where their customers can log in and, among other things, pay their bills. Would you rather mail your payment, call your cellular service provider and pay over the phone, or pay via your own portal? I think most would choose the latter.
It makes your life easier. If customers have a place to pay bills and gain access to all necessary data, what does that mean for your staff? They spend less time helping customers on the phone. They spend less time retrieving data for customers. They spend less time processing payments. In short, it frees your staff up for more mission-critical tasks.
Why doesn’t every company create customer portals? Some think it’s too expensive. Some don’t have time. Others don’t know how. If you fall into one of those three boats, I have something that will help. This short video explains how to create a secure extranet/portal in one day. Even better yet: There’s no programming involved!