As an MSP, your customer portal is your route to great communication with your clients, speedy mitigation of their problems, and empowered users who stay loyal to your brand. If you’re looking to create an MSP client portal, this article will explain everything you need to know to get it right the first time.

Why do you need a customer portal?

Today, your customers don’t just expect digital solutions, they demand them. Self-serve is the new black, and if your customers need answers, they just aren’t going to sit on hold and wait for call-center staff.

As a popular alternative to call centers, many MSPs create an online portal, usually found directly from the MSP’s website, where customers can find answers to the problems that they need. This could include a knowledge-base, a customer forum, tutorials, and ready access to support through ticketing or instant chat.

Online portals help you to manage and streamline your data and your workflows, so that the customer knows exactly what you need from them, and on your own side, your technicians are always on the same page, too. You have one, centralized place with accurate and up to date information, so no duplicate or conflicting information about open tasks or customer needs, and your customers always have access to their own data.

Are there more benefits of using a customer portal as an MSP?

Loads! The benefits of using a customer portal as an MSP are far-reaching, and start with the importance of meeting customer expectations. Brand loyalty is hard to come by, and if your customers can’t get the help they need, via the channels they love, they may quickly move onto a different vendor or supplier for their IT services. When customers see that you’re putting effort and infrastructure into providing them best-in-class support, and they know that they can get real-time, up to date answers around the clock, you’ll see those NPS metrics go through the roof. 

Another bonus of using a customer portal is for you on the business side. If you can direct users to an accurate, always-on portal where they can get the answers that they need, you can reduce the strain on your own technicians or call centers. How many of your current calls are repetitive questions about services or status? Imagine if your customers could sign in, and check the progress of a ticket automatically, or get the information that they’re looking for from a simple FAQ section on the main home screen. These time savings translate into direct cost savings from your own bottom line.

What are the best practices for building a customer portal?

Ok, we’ve convinced you! It’s time to start building your customer portal, and both your customers, and your support teams, will thank you for it. Here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Add elements of engagement

A customer portal can be a great way to get your clients to get more attached to your brand. Rather than just calling you when something goes wrong, if you can make your customer portal somewhere that they get value out of, you’re increasing the benefits that you’re providing.

Think about creating content that is agnostic to your product or service, such as thought leadership articles that can help them to do their job better. If they get a notification that you’ve published a new article, and that’s something they look forward to, you’re increasing stickiness and value in greater quantity than you can do with your IT services alone.

Put security front and center

It’s vital that your customers and partners feel secure using your portal, and that their sensitive data is being treated with privacy and respect. You may want your portal to be accessible only through secure credentials such as a username or password, or with multi-factor authentication methods. This increases the likelihood that users will feel comfortable using the portal and directing their queries through the ticketing system.

Keep the portal up to date

If users can’t find relevant and accurate information, your portal will become a wasteland in terms of interaction. If you have a technical issue, the first place it should be displayed is on the main page of your portal, for example.

On the flip side, you can also use the portal to make sure that your technicians have everything that they need. In this case, it’s even more important to ensure that your information is accurate and timely. If you have multiple stakeholders working with the same customer for example, the last thing you need is incorrect or out-of-date records.

Add your own branding

Users are much more likely to feel confident and engaged in using your portal if it feels like it’s a part of your service. This is all about the branding! Make sure that you can white label your customer portal with your own logo, brand voice, color scheme, and customizable knowledge base and FAQ, to get the look and feel that is perfectly yours.

Make your customer portal your competitive edge

Microsoft comment that “90% of global consumers now expect companies to offer an online self-service customer portal.” One thing is clear: if you’re not offering this to your own users, you’re missing a trick.

Atera’s IT Management Software is a Professional Services Automation (PSA) and Remote Management and Monitoring (RMM) solution in one. You can start building the ideal customer portal in minutes. Start your free trial now!

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