Customer Experience Management Series:
Part 4: How To REALLY Impress Your Clients With a Client Portal [You Are Here]
How To REALLY Impress Your Clients
Here’s a Little Story
Meet John. He runs a successful company that has been around for a while. John has about 10 staff, and a number of customers.
John’s business has grown over time and the focus has always been on getting it done. He doesn’t have an endless budget and as a result he’s made do with the tools they’ve had available.
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John is good at his business but is no technical whizz. He feels he knows how to use a computer though!
Every month John invoices his customers. He used to do it on paper, then he did it in Excel and now he’s using pdf and emails. He tries to keep up with the times.
Every time one of John’s staff contacts a client it’s mainly over an email. They needed to share some documents with the client, so they just email the documents. The same applies to invoices.
Since many of these invoices were sent via email it’s a bit tricky knowing if they are paid, so every month John has to check all the accounts. It takes up his valuable time. Then he has to chase down the late payers.
One day John’s favorite staff member decides to leave. They walk out the door.
This staff member had been dealing with a big proposal and now John and the remaining staff have to scramble to catch up what’s been said, sent and where they’re at. It’s a mess. There are documents everywhere and they’re badly labelled.
Nobody in the office can make head or tail of it all.
John’s had enough of this chaos.
Let me introduce to you,
The Power Of a Client Portal
What it does is create a secure, professional private portal for each client that is structured seamlessly and intuitively so that both you and your client are comfortable within the framework and it’s EXTREMELY EASY to use for EVERYONE.
It also automates much of the manual work that you do!
Manage all your interactions with clients on your website client portal rather than via email.
How Does It Work?
Well that’s pretty technical! Let me rather give you a brief overview of what a client will experience.
Each client get’s a login. When they login they get a dashboard. On that dashboard they will have various options available to them, depending on what you want them to see.
The most common sections would be:
- Estimates & Invoices
- Private Messages (Communication between your company and the client)
- Shared Files
- Upload Files
It’s really easy to use for both you and your clients.
Who Does It Apply To?
Everyone. It’s just a question of scaling it as needed.
Large and small businesses alike, every website needs a secure client portal.
Fundamentally, it should be a part of any business, since almost all businesses communicate, share files, and give estimates & invoices!
Why do people often only see it as part of larger businesses?
It’s expensive to integrate and many of the solutions are too complex. They just have too many features.
That’s the long and the short of it. I think we have a solution for that. It handles the core features of a portal very well, is intuitive and easy to use and is affordable.
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It’s This Easy…
I want to jump right in and look at two MAJOR benefits of a client portal.
Two MASSIVE Psychological Benefits Of a Portal
- Brand Awareness/Familiarity
Currently most of your interaction is happening via email. Hundreds of emails backwards and forwards.
For many companies, a customer never even sees the website!
What a wasted opportunity!
Using a client portal will bring your customers to your website and your brand.
This creates MASSIVE brand familiarity and is great as long as your website is professional!
Secondly, a portal will create an atmosphere of professionalism which clients appreciate. Most companies just use emails to manage everything but this is so outdated. The use of a portal will leave your clients amazed at your professionalism. It’s just another small step to get you ahead.
Who Can Use It?
These are the people who will REALLY benefit from it. The type of people who can benefit from it are almost limitless, but we find the following groups to be the heaviest users.
I’ll go into a few more benefits of integrating a portal into your website shortly.
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How Easy Is It To Manage Clients & Staff?
This is ridiculously easy. There are a few options here, but what I want you to know is that it’s EXTREMELY easy.
Creating a client portal on your website is a 1-2-3 step process, it’s lightening fast.
Let’s Look At Invoicing Using a Portal
This becomes easier than it’s ever been! As always, it’s completely intuitive. You just select the items to include on the invoice, who you want to invoice, select a couple of options and it’s done.
Again, it’s very flexible, so we can allow clients to do partial payments, we can handle multiple currencies, you can create repeat invoices.
BEST OF ALL – you can see who has paid and who hasn’t.
We have the easiest payment method. Once the invoice is allocated to a client they’ll get an email that they need to pay.
They’ll click the link, be directed to the portal, see a world class professional invoice and have the option to do a payment there and then! (You can also accept EFT’s, and other payment methods, but the online payment is great!)
If they haven’t paid, you can automatically set reminders so you don’t have to chase up after the slow payers! It really does everything for you.
This will save you and your staff HOURS OF YOUR TIME every month and give your clients a professional invoicing experience.
This feature ALONE is enough reason for most clients to use a portal!
Let’s Look At Estimates
I’ve just explained about how simple the invoicing feature is. Well estimates are just as easy. You can create a custom estimate for any client, in a matter of seconds.
If they decide to accept the estimate it will automatically convert it into an invoice!
The client just needs to click on the ‘Accept Estimate’ button and it’s all handled from there. In the client’s portal they’ll have a complete list of all estimates they’ve ever had.
Next I’ll cover how easy it is to manage your clients.
A Portal Can Solve ALL These Problems
I’m doing my best to give you a brief overview of the power of a client portal but it’s tricky! Bear with me a little more.
There are just so many incredible things that it can do for your company and briefly explaining it is tricky.
I would really suggest you rather just take it for a trial and see for yourself how it works in real life! Anyways, let’s continue.
Managing Files Intuitively
Everyone finds it difficult managing files! Imagine what the combined effect of all your staff and years worth of files floating around!
Just look at your computer and you’ll realise it’s tricky keeping all your data ordered.
It’s a nightmare for most companies!
Also, do you have a strong backup process in place?
What if there’s a virus and it infects ALL your company computers and you lose all that data?
What Would That Do To Your Company?
Is it likely? Who knows? It happens all the time and IF it does happen to you the results could be catastrophic.
Security and backups aside, a client portal offers a central place to manage files. You can share files with individual clients, or with a group of clients.
It’s totally secure and you decide who get’s to see what.
This means you can keep 1 master copy of a document or file and give various clients access to it. You’ll then know that clients have the latest version available.
This document could be anything from a manual, to a policy guide to a how to, to a proposal. Anything digital! The options are limitless, as long as it’s digital.
It’s also smartly ordered and neat!
Think about it, it’s so much neater than you sending emails with all these attachments. Especially when you have different versions! It’s impossible to keep up.
Are You Protected?
If your office was hit by a virus and you lost all the data on your computers, what would happen?
This could also be avoided by using a secure client portal.
Unfortunately, it’s so difficult to explain the power of a client portal. It’s something that you should experience. You’ve probably been the client in other portals before, but when you see the power of your own portal you will be amazed.
I can guarantee you that!
What Type Of Content/Files Can You Share?
Anything that’s digital. Our customers use many of the following types of files.
- Training Plans
- Tax Documents
See what I mean about it being powerful?
You want to share some new procedures with your staff, you just upload the document and share. Done. a new proposal to share with multiple staff? Easy.
Have some tutorials you want to release to your customers but not have them publicly available? Easy, you just share it with the customers you want. Easy as 1-2-3.
How To Manage Your Clients
Some companies are small and some are a little larger. For some all their clients are the same, while some have varied clients (e.g. clients for different product lines, etc).
A client portal system groups clients and manages your users seamlessly!
Our system allows you to group your users into whatever groups you want. Once you’ve grouped your users, you can easily manage them. In fact, it’s ridiculously easy!
Now if you want to share something you can share it to an ENTIRE GROUP with 1 click. It just get’s easier and easier.
Have a document you want to share with ALL staff, that’s 1 click. Easy.
Keeping It Safe
We have different levels so you can create staff and managers.
You can designate a “manager” for each client that is added so that all communications and file uploads associated with that client will be directed to the appropriate client manager.
Each client/member can have multiple managers, and each manager can have multiple clients/members.
People should not have access to everything. That’s a recipe for trouble!
This means THAT only the authorized staff member for a client will be able to manage that client or client group. This is a wildly powerful tool.
We’ve focused on security, so that everything is as secure as you need.
What this means is that if a staff member leaves the entire communication history is stored in the portal as well as any files. This makes it a cinch for a new staff member to take over.
Finally, Some Feedback
Do you ever need to get feedback on a project or document? Do you require proof of sign-off?
That’s also easy with our portal! We’ve got a feedback app that is a unique professional, secure & efficient method where you can bundle together a specific set of images, documents, files or links – and effectively present them to a client in a simple and easy to follow process that allows them to provide formalized and focused feedback. Isn’t that smart!
10 Useful Features ALL Businesses Need
I wanted to briefly recap a few things, but will keep it brief.
I know there’s a lot to take in, but you’re smart right?
10 Useful Features ALL Businesses Need
- We said that using a portal creates MASSIVE brand familiarity.
- It’s useful for ALL businesses. Big and small.
- If you share any kind of digital document with users, it’s a great way to keep this neat and ordered in your company.
- You can group users/members into any groups you want. This makes it ridiculously easy to manage.
- You can easily invoice people and it will automatically follow-up if they haven’t paid.
- You can do quotes and estimates.
- It’s ALL SUPER PROFESSIONAL!
- You can send private and secure messages to clients that are logged.
- You have different access levels, so you can easily limit access depending on a users role.
- You can use our feedback app to effectively present documents/files to a client in a simple and easy to follow process that allows them to provide formalized and focused feedback.
There are so many more features, (like sms notifications, paid registration, time limited access) but I think that it’s something you should experience rather than hear about.
This is just so popular among our customers which is why I really want you to take it for a trial.
If you’re a customer of Lab41 you’ve been using our portal as a client! We love this so much that we use it ourselves!
Do You Do Any Of The Following Activities?
- Invoice your clients?
- Provide quotes or estimates to clients or prospects?
- Share files or documents with clients/staff?
- Message your clients electronically?
- Have staff who manage certain clients?
- Need feedback from users about work or a project?
There’s a VERY HIGH chance that you did some of the above.
If you’re still using an old system to manage emails, files, documents and invoices, don’t you think it’s time you gave your clients a professional experience?
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