A customer portal is a critical tool for both MSPs and their clients. Techs use the portal to manage work requests, customer relations teams use the portal to provide necessary support, and customers themselves use the portal to get status updates, access helpful resources and communicate with your company.
Given the importance of having highly functional customer portal infrastructure in place, it’s essential to understand precisely what makes such a tool truly powerful.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important features of a strong customer portal.
An intuitive and appealing user interface
One of the top priorities for companies providing a customer portal should be to make sure that portal is attractive and easy to use.
The customer experience will suffer if the portal is not easy to navigate. A straightforward user interface enables customers to find all the information they need and help them solve any issues they’re facing faster. Communication features like live chat, forms and inline forms dramatically reduce the amount of time techs have to spend on the phone or exchanging emails, leading to much faster times to close tickets.
Consider investing in a tool that allows you to also customize menu options for your clients’ specific needs. In this tool, label the menus and tabs clearly so users know where to go and what they can expect to find in each part of the portal. Customized, organized menus are a great way for clients to take ownership of the portal and get the most out of the platform you provide to them.
Security is a high priority for your clients, and having secure login functionality for users wishing to access the portal will help you ensure only authorized users enter it. But it is also important to make authenticating convenient for users. A flexible portal enables MSPs to provide the right level of security and convenience for their clients with options such as Auth using Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Azure AD, self-service password, passwordless option using one-time-use tokens, allowing trusted devices to stay logged in or sending time-limited Auth tokens with deep-links.
In addition, a strong customer portal will have security settings you can customize to your customers’ needs. This includes setup for permissions based on applied roles. Not every person accessing the portal needs to access every function or piece of information—you can keep documents and functions on a “need-to-know” or “need-to-access” basis depending on the user’s job title and responsibilities.
Ticket status updates
Without visibility into their tickets, customers have no way to know if their ticket is being worked on, or when they can expect a resolution. Worse, decision makers have no idea how many tickets are submitted, and how long it usually takes to resolve them. This creates a lot of anxiety, back and forth emails, and sometimes even duplicate tickets.
Your customer portal should make these features easy to access and use. Clearly mark status updates so customers do not have to spend time figuring out how their work is coming along. In addition, make it easy for your team to access new work requests within the portal to ensure efficiency and prevent delays.
The customer portal can serve as a central communication hub for customers who have questions about their work or need to contact support for any reason.
Forms and inline forms offer easy ways for you to get the right information in a much more efficient manner.
Live chat functionality is another example of a great communication tool to build into a customer portal, because it allows for real-time questions and answers.
Ultimately, having the right communication tools within the customer portal centralizes communication within that hub, saving time for your team and your clients alike. It provides much greater efficiency to the techs who need to resolve the tickets, and makes it easier for clients to submit questions or issues they have.
Self-help resources are beneficial to both your customers and your team. In a portal’s resource library, your customers will be able to get answers to some frequently asked questions or find needed assistance without depending on your techs or your customer support team.
Meanwhile, your team will be able to focus on other tasks, as your customers will have an easier time finding answers to smaller issues themselves.