Today’s technologies have increased companies’ ability to collaborate – the customer portal is a perfect example of this. They are increasingly popular within companies working with multiple clients thanks to their ability to provide completely secure 24/7 access to collaborative tools using just an internet connection.

What is Customer Portal Software?

A customer portal is a private online channel through which you can provide support and information to your customers. You may also have heard it called an extranet – where information is shared securely with named external parties, or an intranet – where information is shared internally with employees.Customer portals allow you to interact and collaborate with your internal or external clients and share information such as data records, schedules and documents. You can also use a portal to allow your customers to view, download and upload private information such as invoices and much more.

Customer portals are simple to access but secure. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser.

Customer Portal Software

What are the benefits of Customer Portal Software?

Customers can get answers to their questions as well as have access to whatever information a business wants to share with them. The benefit for customers is access to the information they need when they need it; the benefit for a business is reduced queries which frees-up the time of customer service and sales staff, as well as improved customer satisfaction which can help with customer retention.

When it comes to sharing information, customer portals trump email, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Businesses won’t have the worry and costs that go hand in hand with supporting complex VPNs and customers will benefit from:

  • The ability to securely exchange information, including financial information;
  • No file size limitations;
  • Self-service access to a private repository;
  • The ability to upload and manage larger files;
  • Version control functions;
  • A structured folder system (unlike FTP).

How a Customer Portal Can Help You

There is no right or wrong way to use a customer portal. It’s uses will vary greatly depending on your industry, your organisation and what you’re trying to achieve.

Being browser-based, our customer portals work across any platform – from PC to Mac – and can include functionality that gives you the ability to:

  • store, edit and share documents and files
  • download or preview files or data records
  • manage your key meetings and events via an events calendar
  • assign tasks, set due dates and update your progress – useful for keeping projects on schedule
  • send automatic email notifications when there are updates
  • provide secure client messaging
  • establish a searchable database of knowledge

As an example, we’ve created customer portals that:

  • allow participants to enter diabetes meter readings online
  • provide an area where customers can gain access to reports and manage participant information easily
  • provide detailed management reporting, including all of a customer’s orders over a given period with a detailed breakdown of costs

We also regularly integrate customer portals into other software systems we offer, such as web applications and mobile apps.

Clients each have their own private window into their account where they can see the status of their orders and generate whatever reports they need, allowing them to act on this information in real time. It’s a significant competitive advantage. Read more.

Neil Beard, Managing Director, CDN Consular Services Ltd

Customer Portal Security

The security of the information in a client’s customer portal is paramount to us, that’s why we use encryption at rest with SQL Azure. We ensure data is held on mission critical systems which conform to multiple security standards and are locked down from the outside world.

The Government, NHS and healthcare, education, financial services and the insurance industry – all of whom require the highest degree of security possible – have trusted us with their data.