Customer Self-Service Portals – What You Need to Know
Are you looking for ways to drive down service costs? To get paid more quickly? To increase customer satisfaction? If so, a self-service portal is an excellent way to accomplish all of these things and more.
A customer self-service portal allows users to manage their account, pay bills, manage support tickets, etc. All from the comfort of their home or office and all through your website.
Employee billing portals on the other hand, extend the customer facing portal with added capabilities such as processing refunds, issuing house-credits, and creating orders with negotiated pricing details. We'll cover these inward-facing portals in another article.
The most impactful ways a self-service portal can benefit your business:
- If given the opportunity, most people would prefer to accomplish certain basic tasks on their own – without the need to contact your customer service team. When your customers take a do-it-yourself approach, it drives down customer service costs for your business.
- The easier it is to pay a bill, the more likely your customers are to take care of it in a timely manner, so you get paid quicker with no additional effort.
- More and more people are spending time on billing tasks outside of normal business hours. In addition, customers expect complete access to their account history and details. So giving customers 24×7 access to their account through a mobile-friendly self-service portal will improve customer satisfaction.
Many companies today offer self-service portals as part of their technology services, but not all are created equal. If you want to reap the benefits of the system you should look for several key capabilities:
- The ability to view and pay the current bill easily. Don't force the customer to login if all they want to do is pay a bill
- Mobile accessibility is a must-have in todays micro-moment driven environment
- Setup autopay with credit cards, eChecks (ACH) or Paypal
- Managing user IDs and passwords has gotten out of hand. Consumer-oriented (B2C) billers should look for self-service portals that allows users to create accounts and login using their social media accounts– Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, etc.
- Customer ability to manage basic account information –change contact information, password resets, etc.
- View and download past bill and payment details
- Sign up for paperless billing or text message notifications
- Seamless branded integration with your website
- Find customer service contact information
- And most importantly, the ability for you to control (with a mouse-click) exactly what your customers do and do not have access to see and/or change via the portal