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Get Closer to Customers with Portals

What does the word “portal” bring to mind? Does it conjure images from sci-fi movies and video games? Regardless of where they show up, portals usually function in a similar way: bringing two disparate places closer together for instantaneous travel.
Business Data Integration

Customer Portals

Portals work the same in the online business world, except they bring disparate data to one location. So instead of instantaneous travel like in the movies, there’s an instantaneous transmission of data. With customer portals, this involves a customer getting information from a company’s database. If you’ve ever paid a bill online or logged into a website to review account details, you’re familiar with the concept.

Customer portals have been widely adopted since they give customers on-demand access to business information that affects them. Offering customers a route of self-service leads to greater satisfaction, since the customer is no longer required to adhere to your business hours when looking for information.

From a business point of view, this can lessen time your staff spends fulfilling customer requests for basic information like account balances and order statuses. Plus, there’s no standard for a customer portal. It can be completely tailored to the way your customers do business with you.

Here are some services companies offer on their customer portals:

Account Management

Lets customers manage their account with you online. This could involve something as basic as contact information, or setting billing preferences.

Billing

If Accounts Receivable is important to your business, you could let customers see their open/outstanding invoices in a portal, as well as invoice history. There are also ways for your customers to make payments online so they don’t need to call in to make payments.

Online orders

If you sell your products online, you could offer customers a feature in your portal that lets them view and track their orders. This might require integration with your shipping software.

Integration

Setting up a customer portal will usually require some form of integration if the data you’re serving your customers comes from a business/accounting software platform. Here at Kissinger, we use portals for internal operations, and have made ones available for our customers and business partners. So let us know if you have questions on integrating Sage 100 with a website or e-commerce site to create a customer portal.

3 Comments
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