So you’ve decided to implement a client portal into your business. That’s a good step forward in gaining a competitive advantage, but how do you know that you’re actually getting the most out of your cloud-based software?
A client portal is a form of software-as-a-service, and other than being one of the many buzzwords floating around in the world of cloud computing,
SaaS is a market in which is forecast to grow 20.3% in 2016, to $37.7 billion, according to a Gartner report.
The basic concept of a client portal involves: the ability to create individualized accounts for each member whom you conduct business with, granting them access to certain files and folders in which your company have stored and shared securely, as well as being a private place in the cloud where you can communicate with your clients with the additional collaborative features that client portals offer.
These client portals are ideal for businesses working in industries where dealing with sensitive data day-to-day is the norm, such as Law or Accountancy firms. However, more and more companies are beginning to see other intangible benefits of using SaaS, such as improved collaboration between departments and improved customer engagement.
However, being able to get the most out of your client portal is just as important as choosing to implement one in the first place. That being said, here are five tips to make sure you can make the best use out of your software.
Choose the right client portal
With the countless variations of cloud-based software out there, it can be stressful trying to find and implement the ‘perfect’ client portal solution for your company. You want to find a balance: you need the client portal to provide you with the features you need to collaborate better, without having too many to confuse your clients and become counterproductive. Consider your priorities and go from there: perhaps it’s multi-factor authentication for security reasons, Google Apps integration, or white label branding so your client portal can blend seamlessly with your website; then keep the rest as simple as possible.
Get everyone on the same level
You may have integrated your client portal, but does everyone in your team – and your clients – know how to use the software to its full advantage? By training your members how to use the software properly you’ll be able to get maximum usage out of your client portal, limiting the user errors and confusion that can come as a result of lack of understanding and incompatibility between user and software.
Make use of the mobility features
Even if everyone is on the same page with the main features of your client portal, you can still get even more use out of your software by encouraging them to take the features mobile. Clinked as an example, is available as a mobile app and a SmartSync desktop app. This means that clients and team members can collaborate everywhere, not just from their desktops in the office. And the SmartSync desktop app makes it easier than ever to store your documents, emails, pictures in the cloud and access them from any device. Making use of these mobility features makes collaborating that much more efficient.
Customize your client portal
Your client portal will undoubtedly have customization options, and you don’t need to be a design/tech expert to create a personable space for your clients. The amount of customisation available will depend on your chosen client portal ‘package’ however, so it could be as simple as having the ability to change the colour scheme, update the logo and customise access to applications; or you could have the opportunity to go as far as completely re-designing the portal to match your corporate branding guidelines. Either way, making use of the customization features can make your business and clients feel more ‘connected’ to the portal.
There’s support if you need it
One of the main benefits of cloud-based software is the support that you have access to from the hosting provider. You have the advantage that you’re able to get on with running your business with the confidence that you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of your client portal, for example keeping your data safe and ensuring that your infrastructure is running smoothly, as well as having them there as a troubleshooting guide for any other issues.