Self-service portals – a good portion of individuals use them on a regular basis and most if not all of us have heard of at least one in particular in the past several weeks – Heathcare.gov.
The basic concept of self-service portals is to provide customers with an easy way to access tools and resources specific to your business. For example, as a smartphone owner, I have access to my telecom provider and my account via an online portal. Within the portal, I can check my balance, pay my bill, change service levels, order a new device, and complete a number of other activities, all electronically, from a computer or mobile device, 24/7/365. For many, portals like these are rapidly becoming the preferred medium for service and support, as it’s often quicker and easier for the customer as opposed to calling in or even sending an email.
In addition to basic account management functions like updating information, and checking balances, many portals today also offer access to other value-adds including discounts and offers on related products and services and even advanced reporting and business analytical tools.
There’s no debate that consumers today expect (and deserve) more in terms of access and convenience, which means that companies need to ensure that they’re delivering a myriad of mediums for customer support and service, from traditional telephone and IVR to online web-based portals and even social media engagement. Today’s customers expect service to be agile, personalized and simplified. Companies that rely on making service easy and convenient for their customers must turn their attention to new technologies and make continued investments in self-service tools as well as personalized support to create customers that are ‘Raving Fans’ today and well into the future.