Client portals deliver a streamlined way for providers or businesses to communicate with their clients through a platform where information, documents, and messages can be shared securely. While client portals may sound complicated to set up, they’re relatively easy to implement and make an excellent solution for businesses looking to increase their client satisfaction rates.
Let’s look at some of the ways client portal software is utilized and delve into the details of which options might be best for your business.
What is Client Portal Software?
Client portal software is a web-based platform that enables businesses to securely share information and collaborate with their clients. It’s a centralized hub where clients can access important documents, communicate with their service providers, and perform various tasks.
Client portal software can be used in various industries, such as accounting, legal, and healthcare, to streamline communication and improve client experience. With a client portal, businesses can provide their clients with 24/7 access to their information, reducing the need for phone calls and emails.
Some key features of client portal software include file sharing, messaging, task management, and scheduling. With file sharing, clients can securely upload and download important documents such as invoices, contracts, and reports. Messaging allows clients and service providers to communicate directly within the portal, while task management and scheduling tools enable users to assign and track tasks and appointments.
In addition to improving communication and collaboration, client portal software can help businesses maintain data security and compliance. Using a centralized platform, companies can reduce the risk of sharing sensitive information through unsecured channels like email.
What Should a Client Portal Software Include?
Great client portal software should contain a few key features, with particular attention given to the security of sensitive information and the user experience of both the client and the provider. Important elements should include things like:
Unlike a customer phone service line, a client portal should be open 24/7, allowing users to access important information anytime. The portal’s interface should also consider users of all kinds, including those with impairments or those who are less than web savvy. Investing in an experienced UX design firm will ensure your portal is accessible to all.
Learn more: UI vs. UX: What’s the Difference? | Why Good UX is Important for Good CX
Safeguarding your users’ sensitive data against cybersecurity breaches will increase customer trust and confidence in your care.
Adjusting what information is available and viewable to clients is a great way to protect privacy and toggle between different projects. By setting flexible permissions and providing clear rules for visibility, you can manage several different client bases at once.
A self-service portal is an online platform that enables clients, employees, and partners to view frequently asked questions and perform specific actions without needing help from a representative. It’s essentially a database where users can receive answers to their inquiries, submit requests, and receive support on their own, reducing the call volume they may otherwise receive for client/customer assistance.
Learn more: Customer Portals: An Introductory Guide to this Must Have Feature
The purpose of any good client portal should be to increase communications between the client and the provider. Having an easy-to-use messaging system is an essential feature that deserves the utmost priority.
A Stored Database of Information
A client portal software system should also be a library of sorts. That is, it should contain important documentation and notation that clients and providers can quickly look up. For instance, things like past bill cycles, medical tests, or purchase invoices should be stored within any great client portal.
Client Portal Software Pros and Cons
There are several benefits of client portal software for business and their clients, including things like:
Client portal software enables businesses to communicate with their clients in a centralized environment, allowing for faster, more efficient communication and reducing the need for unnecessary phone calls and emails.
Client portal software provides a platform for businesses to share information and collaborate with their clients in real-time, leading to increased productivity and faster turnaround times for tasks and projects.
Enhanced Client Experience
With an online client portal, users can easily access their information and perform tasks such as scheduling appointments and making payments independently, improving their overall experience and satisfaction.
A well-designed customer service portal helps to protect against data breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive information.
By reducing the workload on customer support teams and streamlining workflows, client portal software can lead to significant cost savings for businesses.
Customer web portals can be customized to meet the specific needs of the business and its clients, including things like branding, language options, and access controls to ensure that clients only have access to relevant information and relevant features.
Should You Build a Client Portal Software for Your Business?
When considering building your own client portal software, it’s important to carefully evaluate whether it’s the right choice for your business. Before investing time and resources into developing a client portal, ask yourself how an online customer portal will streamline your business’ current communications and if you have the team and resources to make it happen.
While it’s possible that a similar client portal software system already exists in the marketplace, retrofitting it to fit your current needs could be costly. And while there are several excellent options available, it may be that they simply don’t contain all of the features you truly need, in which case, building may be in your best interest.
Building your own client portal software provides several benefits, such as maintaining complete control over its operational processes, customizing it to fit your core needs, and ensuring it provides optimal function and purpose to both your business and clients alike.
Building vs. Licensing Client Portal Software
When you build client portal software from scratch, you typically pay a one-time fee to create and own the software outright. It also means you own a perpetual license to use the software and are not required to pay ongoing fees or renewals. Additionally, you’ll be free to customize the software to fit your specific needs.
However, keep in mind that the one-time fee may be quite hefty and will likely require ongoing costs for continued maintenance and security updates. Likewise, building your software from scratch will require extensive resources and employee training for optimal implementation.
On the other hand, when you license or buy pre-packaged customer service portal software, you pay a fee to use that software for a specified period. This fee is typically recurring, and you’ll need to renew the license periodically to continue using the software. You may also be limited in your ability to customize it.
Which Type is Right for Your Business?
Choosing between building and licensing client portal software depends on your business needs and resources. Building client portal software can provide greater control and customization options, but it can also require a significant upfront investment. Licensing, on the other hand, may be more affordable in the short term but can add up to a considerable amount over time. It’s important to carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of each option before making a decision.
Learn more: Build vs. Buy: Which Options is Best for Your Business?
Best Off-the-Shelf Client Portal Software
Depending on your needs, an off-the-shelf secure client portal service may offer an affordable solution to your company’s needs.
Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorite off-the-shelf solutions.
A fully-integrated cloud-based platform that’s best used for client portals, file sharing, and business management. Suitedash is an all-in-one software that’s a great starter program for most businesses.
A CRM software used to manage leads, track sales, increase customer retention, and utilize as a client portal solution. Some of the pros of Monday include its user-friendly features and ease of use.
An end-to-end cloud-based platform that manages all aspects of client work delivery at any stage of the pipeline. Accelo emphasizes time and money, with features designed to give you the most up-to-date business data and financial performance statistics. Accelo helps to streamline workflow and increase efficiency through automation and easy-to-access communication integrations.
Copilot’s production suite offers an all-in-one solution for client communication, paperwork, and payments. Often ranked as one of the easiest-to-use client portal software, Copilot provides a great technology platform for businesses to grow with.
Softr allows users to easily create client portals and internal tools within a few short minutes, without code, so that it can be integrated with applications like Google Sheets and Airtable. Great for users in need of an agile and flexible application.
Client portal software helps businesses to maintain data security and compliance. By using a centralized platform, companies can reduce the risk of sharing sensitive information through unsecured channels like email. Additionally, client portal software helps businesses to enhance their client relationships, streamline processes, and improve data security.
While several off-the-shelf client portal solutions are available on the market, they may not fit your business’s precise needs. You may modify a licensed secure portal software or build one from scratch. Building from scratch is often more expensive initially, but the plus side is that you own the full rights to the software.
Whether you choose to build or buy, if you’re seeking to improve communication and collaboration with your clients, client portal software is likely the right solution for your business.
Are you looking to custom-fit or build your own client portal software system from scratch? Our expert design team would love to lend a helping hand— give us a call or schedule a free consultation to see how we can help elevate your platform!
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