Harnessing the power of self-service: The quest for greater customer satisfaction with a digital CX portal
Giving your customer the best possible experience whenever they interact with your business has always been a key to success, but in the digital age, this increasingly means empowering your customers to self-serve through a customer experience (CX) portal.
A survey of consumers showed that 71% of those asked expect businesses they use to offer a self-service portal. You may find it counter-intuitive for people to want a DIY option rather than your personal attention; it’s a little like preferring a kettle and a tray of teabags in your hotel room instead of room service. But people want speed of response and transparency, which is best served when they have the power to self-serve.
So when customers increasingly believe an online portal should be part of your service, it’s time to seriously consider where along your customer’s journey a CX portal would add value and give you a competitive edge.
A good experience for your customers and for your business
It can be a challenge for service providers to give a sense of context and value to their customers when they provide a service rather than a solid, tangible product. We felt that creating a faster, interactive and more open way to work more closely with customers and giving them the ability to help themselves would help increase their buy-in to their project.
A portal can empower customers by connecting them to your business and letting them perform tasks, such as tracking progress, checking the status of open queries, accessing resources and knowledge bases and contributing to a community. For these reasons, Incepteo decided to develop our own CX portal and gain some of the benefits we’ve been offering to the customers we build portals for.
Building for a better customer experience (CX) at Incepteo
Transparency is one of our core values at Incepteo and this principle was to be at the heart of the portal, Experience.Incepteo.com we developed. Our portal gives customers a tool for tracking the progress of their work at every stage, but more importantly, it gives them confidence in us. They can see how we have a comprehensive and repeatable methodology for recording key information, capturing changes and monitoring progress, keeping them up to date throughout the project.
The level of transparency we offer our customers, through Experience.Incepteo.com, is unusual in our sector. The portal shows we hide nothing from our customers and, importantly, it also ensures consistency. We treat our internal activities in exactly the same way that we treat customer-facing activity and we are more accountable to our customers in everything we do.
The visibility of the information means that we’re working more towards shared goals. This way of working leads to internal improvements in terms of efficacy as projects are aligned more closely to customer needs and drive our commitment to how we want to deliver our services.
Building closer partnerships
Experience.Incepteo.com also helps to build a stronger partnership between customers and project team members. We can encourage partner involvement at every step, empowering them to input notes and comments on a regular basis and working much more closely with them to progress through milestones.
There are plenty of project management tools on the market but the Incepteo CX portal is unique. We grow our business by sticking to our values and applying technical expertise and entrepreneurial spirit to make our customers’ lives easier. We built a bespoke digital portal to reflect those Incepteo principles, by delivering those values and experiences that we want our customers to share.
We designed the Incepteo portal to include a host of features requested by customers: milestones; timelines; job backlogs; daily updates; and note sharing facilities, all to provide each stakeholder with their own clear view of the project progress.
We also made the tool user-friendly and suitable for supporting a range of organisations, with different perspectives and varying levels of technical maturity, irrespective of whether they are a start-up, medium-sized business or an established business.
Experience.Incepteo.com has been up and running for several months now, and if the feedback we’ve received is accurate, then we’ve achieved all of our aims with our digital CX portal. If you would like to see it for yourself, then let us know and we will arrange a demonstration.
A CX portal Checklist: Getting your customer experience right
When was the last time you objectively evaluated your customer-facing and your back-of-house operations for suitability to support a CX portal? How could a self-service digital tool help you to achieve your business goals and empower your customers?
If you already have a CX portal, then this 7-point list can help you evaluate how effective it is. If you don’t have a CX portal but are considering it, feel free to use this list to identify where, among your existing customer touchpoints, a digitalised portal could add value.
- Does it offer a fast response and save time for your customer?
- Does it build confidence in your customers by making it easier to obtain useful information and track progress, requests and responses?
- Does it let you offer 24/7 support?
- Does it engage customers through educational and informative resources or by helping to create a community of users who can interact with each other?
- Does it make use of videos, bots and other digital technologies and media forms to increase engagement?
- Does it provide a record of decisions and changes to create an audit trail to support the end product?
- Is it sufficiently secure to increase your customer’s confidence against a cyberattack?
If your customer experience falls short in any area it can impact negatively on the customer experience journey. You may want to review how you can support your customers better through digitalisation, before they start looking elsewhere for a better experience.
Create your own unique customer experience during a time of change
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced businesses to do things differently. We have fewer face-to-face meetings with our customers and have had to change the way we engage with them, making the experience more digital. Our CX portal is a response to this challenge and a part of our ongoing digital transformation.
We’re also continuously improving the portal, based on feedback, working to enhance a 360-degree experience for all users and looking for new ways to transform our services into more predictable and repeatable deliverables.
An effective CX portal has brought benefits to us and to our customers in the way we now pursue and deliver a project that’s more closely aligned with the customer’s objectives. They also feel as much part of the process as we do as they watch and contribute as it develops from a plan to a finished project.
Today’s business customer is also likely to be a B2C consumer who will be self-sufficient and at ease with technology, in connecting with people, searching for information, making purchases or tapping into a service; why would they change their habits when they’re at work in a B2B environment?
If you can satisfy their expectations with digital innovations and make their online experiences more efficient and rewarding, then you will hold on to them as a customer. Fail to give them the seamless, cutting-edge experience they expect and they will find it elsewhere.