Customer Portal – the smart way to digitalize your business, boost sales and reduce cost-to-serve

Many customers these days expect to communicate digitally to your business. In this article we explore the customer portal as a primary way of doing business, why it is important and what capabilities you should be looking to implement first.

Sales, Up-sales and Cross-sales

It is an increasing tendency to use internet for business. Naturally, the online sales (also known as e-commerce) is what helps grow the top line and hence, it is paramount for many businesses. All in all, the sales is the oxygen of any commercial organization and itś been quickly becoming the hygiene-level capability for clients.

On the e-commerce market, there’s no shortage of choice. Many mature e-commerce off-the-shelf software products are available and are relatively inexpensive.

Let’s look at the benefits of online sales (e-commerce):

  • Increase in sales by offering an extra sales channel, that increasingly people prefer to phone calls or visiting retail outlets
  • Cost of customer acquisition through web sales is low, since agents are not involved in direct door-to-door or telephone sales. The commission to the sales team typically also does not apply.
  • Ability to enable advanced customer identification and authentication mechanism, so that businesses may rely with higher certainty that their customers are who they say they are. This is achieved via mechanisms such as eID and e-Signature.
  • All information is submitted by clients themselves through the product catalog and the shopping basket with precise product identifiers (such as SKU) and quantities, so there is little misunderstanding and typing errors that happen during sales phone calls
  • Ability to automate Up- and Cross-sales, by giving customers just-in-time information on applicable discounts and related products.
  • ProcessMate is a customer portal and business process management cloud software that offers a simple and yet powerful customer portals that can be branded and configured to accept specific types of service requests, check on status and receive notifications by you and your customers.

    ProcessMate offers an innovative approach to the sales includes:

  • The quotation process may be optionally implemented as one preceding the actual sales.
  • The quotation and the sales process are processes with distinct tasks for users. Those processes are configured based on the specific of your business with additional optional tasks, such as “site visits”, “inventory check”, “check with supplier” etc.
  • The tasks are assigned to own users (your employees) but some of them may be carried out in the customer portal by your clients’ users directly. For example, your client users may initiate the quotation process by filling in the basket of the products of their choice, approve the offer once it is ready, etc. So, no quotation is lost and users always know what tasks are assigned to them.
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    Service better through e-service (also known as Self-service)

    E-service is a way (and a software) to let your clients pose questions, place service requests and raise trouble tickets online. Ultimately, E-service reduces cost-to-service and improves customer experience. However, on top of that, E-service portal may serve as powerful up- and cross-sales channel for existing clients.

    The benefits include:

  • Instantaneous and automated help for your clients, 24 hours 7 days a week
  • Enabling a preferred channel to communicate for many of your customers, via web or mobile apps. (Let’s face it, not everybody prefers dealing with humans, even if it is just on the phone)
  • Increase automation and reduce the cost of your call center employees.
  • The customer request submitted by client is automatically routed to the right team, which helps reduce time and cost-to-service
  • Invoicing & payments

    Another key capability, adjacent to service, is invoicing and payment. This capability is especially important for recurring services.

    Invoicing and payments help customers to navigate through invoices for their products and services, as well as to make payments.

    The invoices may be presented as documents, however, at the next level of digitalization, they may be available as electronic documents, with ability to deep-dive into various costs, taxes and discounts. Some more advanced tools enable customers to reassign invoices to various own cost centers and build customizable financial reports. Such advanced functionality is typically called Electronic Bill Presentment.

    The benefits of electronic invoicing and payment is in reducing handling time and human errors done by the agents. The customers can navigate through their invoices and initiate payments.

    Since many organizations face challenges specifically with invoice-related calls, such functionality may provide relieve to the agents handling them.

    At ProcessMate we are convinced, that Customer Portal is the fastest way to digitalize your business, reduce operating costs, curate loyalty among your clients and increase revenue.

    There are other capabilities such as Newsletters, Document management, Asset management, product-specific functions that will discuss in the part 2 of this article.

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