How Web Portals Can Streamline Customer Support

Customer expectations are increasing drastically. According to a survey by Talkdesk, 58 percent of respondents note their customer service expectations are higher today than they were a year ago. This new business reality poses a substantial challenge for both B2C and B2B enterprises. Like never before, the success of any company is tied to the quality of customer service it provides, and those who fail to meet customer standards risk losing the competition and customer loyalty.

Fortunately, enterprise managers who strive to meet the needs of their customers don't necessarily have to extend their support departments, but instead can choose a more intelligent and cost-effective customer-centric web portal. Those who invest in& portal design and development gain a reliable point of contact, optimize customer interaction, and thus drive customer loyalty and engagement.

Following are four web portal capabilities that are essential for providing high-level customer support:

1. Self-service

One of the most important trends in recent years is that customers are more inclined toward self-service. According to research by Vanilla Forums, 79 percent of customers expect organizations to provide tools that enable them to find answers without contacting support. That's why self-service capabilities are a must for any customer-centric web portal.

As an option, companies can implement an external knowledge base to provide customers access to user manuals and other educational materials and enable them to find answers, solve problems, and use services more effectively. If customers cannot find a solution themselves, they should be able to ask for advice from other community members. To enable this, enterprise managers can implement customer forums.

Even if customers require professional consultation, they don't have to communicate with human specialists. Instead a smart bot can act as a support specialist. Powered by machine learning, these bots can continuously learn to better understand customer requests and offer solutions faster and more efficiently.

2. Automation

Automation allows customers to receive relevant information and assistance much faster, which will result in improved customer service. For example, a web portal powered by automation can receive customer requests and instantly redirect these messages to the appropriate department.

Also, a support team can automatically send important messages via email, social media, or other communication channels to different customer groups. This way customers will quickly receive important news, and, in the long run, it might help managers reduce the workload of the support department and the overall cost of customer service.

3. Analytics and reporting

A support department can't provide quality service if it doesn't know customers' pain points and needs, and this is where analytics functionality can come in handy. Gaining insights into customer behavior, managers can find out what customers want and enable support specialists to offer more relevant solutions.

For example, if many customers complain about payment issues, the support team can add a page about this problem in the knowledge base. Thus, users who experience similar issues can find an effective solution without contacting support.

4. Personalization

It's common knowledge that customers are demanding personalization, and customer support is no exception. Of course, a team can help people solve their specific issues, but this alone still can't guarantee audience loyalty in the long run. To build stronger customer relationships, enterprises need to personalize their customer service.

To do this, developers can integrate a web portal with a corporate CRM system. This way support employees would be able to export customer data from CRM automatically and use it to personalize their messages. By adopting emerging data technologies, enterprises can go even further. Managers can implement business intelligence capabilities to analyze past customer requests and automatically offer relevant solutions.

Customer demand for quality service is growing, and those who fail to deliver outstanding customer support risk losing the competition. Fortunately, there are ways to meet this challenge, and developing a customer-centric web portal is one of the most efficient ones.

Managers can provide customers with knowledge bases or intelligent assistants to enable self-support and free team members from unnecessary and repetitive tasks. Enterprises can also implement analytics to provide more relevant services or personalize customer support communications through CRM integration.

Roman Davydov is a technology observer at Itransition. With more than four years of experience in the IT industry, Roman follows and analyzes digital transformation trends to guide businesses in making informed software buying choices.