Most of the websites are typically designed for one way communication i.e from the company to the users. As long as a website visitor is a prospect, it is fine but once a website visitor is a customer, he would like to have two way communication.
A Portal is a bit different from a website and facilitate two way communication. Even a user or visitor can communicate back with the company.
Need for Speed at Customer Support
Lot of professionals nowadays do not have patience to request for information and wait for a longer period of time. And most of them are working 24 by 7 and wants to get information when they have time to get the information. Portals have shown a way for facilitating information to customers, partners and employees as and when required. The information is available at a standard location for accessing it as and when required.
Many companies also have realized the speed of resolving a customer issues is the significant factor for customer satisfaction.
Self Service Portal Framework
Bhea has developed a Portal Framework that can be used along with the CRM for exposing the information that is required by either customers or partners. When a Portal is designed for Customers it is called Customer Self Service Portal and when the same portal is designed to expose information for partners it is called Partner Portal. Sometimes the document / data that needs to be sent to employees is also regular and huge, Portal Framework can be configured to work as Employee Self Service Portal. An integrated responsive portal framework helps in extending the functionality to people outside your firewall.
Customer Self Service Portal Features
Whether you have a growing B2B Business or B2C Business, there is a growing set of customers who are not willing to call or send an email for their support requests. They do not want their email box to be searched for multiple issues that they raise as a customer.
The best way to facilitate their demands is having a Customer Self Service Portal.
Customer can go on to a support portal, register themselves and raise their complaints or queries. And also it will be a place where they can check a lot of other things like their invoices, payments and the products / services they have taken over a period of time.
Knowledge Base and FAQ
Knowledge Base is a repository of knowledge base articles and frequently asked questions. Any customer self service portal includes a comprehensive knowledge base and FAQ. Companies can predict the issues that customer may face and provide information on how to handle it. If companies are manufacturing or an application companies, they can provide all installation and user guides on the knowledge base or FAQ.
As and when the company starts handling more and more customer issues, they can add them into the knowledge portal. To organise the articles into knowledge base, typically customer self service portals have a hierarchy / category definition framework.
Self Logging Service Requests / Incidents
One of the key features of customer self service portal is to allow the customers log their complaints, incidents or service requests. This will be added on channel for service request capture apart from the email or phone requests.
Customer self service portal allows the users to see their past service requests / cases and all the communication exchanged by the customer with the company’s support team.
Even email support request handling is becoming increasingly clumsy due to lot of emails being exchanged.
With customer self service portal, customers can raise cases 24×7 and upload files / visuals and see the support team response. All the cases raised in customer self service portal are created as cases in SugarCRM. And SugarCRM facilitates information exchange between the support executive and customer with an option to publish in portal or not.
In Summary, Customer Self Service Portal facilitate the following features for the customers.
1. Register as a customer of the company.
2. Raise a new issues / ticket and communicate
3. Check their past issues / tickets
4. See the products and services that have been consumed by them.
5. See the Self Services FAQ or Knowledge Base of the product/service for instance solving of their problem.
With Customer Self Service Portal you can have a few issues solved 24/7 and 365 days.
The load on the support team can be significantly reduced as some of the updates are automatic.
The History of a Case need not be shared by collecting emails but instead it is available for both customer and the support team member.
SugarCRM Enterprise Edition provides a Customer Self Service Portal for instant installation and with few CSS based UI changes it can be embedded with your website.
Bhea’s Customer Self Service Portals evolved on top of Open Source Technology Frameworks and are available as latest responsive design portal. SugarCRM is a 100% RESTFul Application and API can be used either to integrate with your own application or built as a separate application.
When business grows most of the companies require their sales and support to be done by partners. Partners can be of different types like
Depending on the type of partner ecosystem a company developers, a corresponding Partner portal can be developed that works with SugarCRM modules.
Partner Portal Features
There are many use cases a Partner Portal is used and useful for companies. Some of the use cases are mentioned here for brief understanding.
Partner Portal for Lead Distribution
Many companies operate through partners and as a product company or a consolidater they may have to put lot of marketing budgets to generate leads. Once leads are generated through marketing efforts they need to be distributed based on geo location to partners so that they can pursue the leads locally.
When you send a lead through an email and maintain lead status in an excel sheet, it will be very difficult to get the status from the partners.
So the best way is to capture all the partner information in SugarCRM and assign the leads to partners and expose the leads to partners through partner portal.
This way you can know whether they have accessed the information and at regular intervals you can see how many leads were assigned and how many were in active and how many are converted.
In SugarCRM you can create reports that will tell the performance of each partner. For one of the customers we have created a workflow whereby if a lead is not attended to within 48 hours it is automatically allocated to another partner who is performing well.
With Partner Portal you can streamline your partner lead allocation and their performance. The dollars spent on Marketing are well spent with better lead conversion.
Customer Support View for Resellers or Reseller Portal
Many a times resellers bring lot of customers and sell the products. But when the product or solution is not working or any customer issues are raised, customer expects the reseller to coordinate to get it resolved.
Since the product company directly interacts with the customer, it is essential the reseller is aware of what is happening with the issues. In partner portal the partner can login and see all his customers and order they placed. On top of that they can raise a case or complaint on behalf of the customer and also can see the customer placed cases.
This way the relationship between the reseller and customer is maintained very well.
Many manufacturing companies have implemented ERP to optimize their deliveries. The whole manufacturing industry has spent the last 2 decades to optimise and automate their manufacturing processes and their logistics and deliveries.
Most of them also have a Partner who sell their products. Since SAP or any other ERP is a strict application, many companies do not give logins to their sales people and partners. But an integration of SugarCRM with their ERP to show their inventory helps the sales team to book orders. However having an Order Booking for distributors helps them in taking the orders quickly and push to the inhouse ERPs for delivery.
At the same time sales team can see the progress of the order and distributor or partner can see the same in the partner portal. This helps in avoiding month end and quarter end rush for order acceptance if it is done manually.
Partner Commission Payments
One of the key requirements for many agencies that sell the principals products is to get their commissions. Sometimes commissions are based on the receipt by the principal. In those scenarios the commission payable information can be automatically calculated and kept in the CRM so that it can be exposed to Partner through the portal.
With Bhea’s Partner Portal solution, your partners can have seamless communication at every level.Bhea’s partner portals are developed with the latest responsive design web development techniques. They are accessible on all devices.
Most of the CRM products come with standard features for Sales Force Automation, Marketing Automation and Customer Support Automation. And adding the Partner Portal or Customer Self Service portal significantly improves the productivity of the company. SugarCRM’s RESTFul API facilitates development of portals as well as integration of existing portals with SugarCRM