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Customer Portal: What It Is and Why You Need One

In the field service industry, the customer should always be number one. By providing personalized digital experiences, access to real-time information, and two-way communication, a customer portal does just that. As Greg Leonberger the Vice President of Service Operations at AIG explains, “Everything we do as an industry needs to satisfy the customer. The ServicePower Customer Portal is the first tool in the direction of where we need to get to. It has made significant strides to giving the customer information at their fingertips. Everything along the way for the customer is just seamless.” 

So what exactly is a customer portal, and how is it beneficial to a field service organization? 

Customer Portal 

A customer portal is a digital self-service solution that brings choice and visibility to your customers. With full self-service capabilities, your customers are empowered to take control of their own schedules, access real-time information regarding their appointments, and provide immediate feedback after job completion. This independence and instantaneous access to information is becoming normalized across customer expectations, and companies that are unable to offer self-service solutions are becoming antiquated.

In the modern business market, a customer portal is no longer a special feature, it is a staple for any customer centric solution. For instance, in the United States, 88% of customers expect brands to have an online self-service customer portal

This demand for a customer portal is rightly justified, as there are numerous benefits for both your customers and your organization. Let’s explore the top five benefits of a customer portal, and why your field service organization should adopt one immediately. 

Top 5 Benefits of a Customer Portal 

1. Reduce Costs and Improve Productivity

By automating time-consuming and costly data entry tasks, a customer portal can reduce the time and money spent on organizational processes. Removing internal friction helps improve the efficiency of your organization, and allows you to focus on the work that matters. 

Additionally, the self-scheduling feature facilitates a flawless experience by ensuring that appointments are accurate with instant confirmation notifications, reducing the need for rescheduling or cancelling. The AI-powered scheduling engine assigns the best technician for the job, increasing first-time fix rates. By communicating with the customer about the specific job details and arriving on time with the necessary information and tools, your technicians are better equipped to complete their service or repair on the first try. For instance, with ServicePower’s integrated Dispatch, Claims and Customer Portal, AIG experienced a 40% increase in first-time fix rates and 20% decrease in time onsite.

2. Increase Visibility and Access to Data

With money at stake, your customers want to know exactly when your technician will arrive, how long a job will take, and confirm whether their warranties are up to date and reliable. By using a real-time, cross-channel, interactive customer portal, they are able to instantaneously see what information matters most to them and communicate any discrepancies before they become a costly issue. 

ServicePower’s Customer Portal empowers customers with real-time 24/7 access to data, so that they can be certain their money is not being wasted. The self-service customer portal provides live job status updates, technician ETAs, warranty coverage and delivers two-way communications throughout the service life cycle. Document and photo sharing provides visibility into job details, so that customers can rest assured their needs are going to be met by your informed technicians, without their time or money being wasted.

3. Expedite Cash Flow

A customer portal allows for instantaneous online payments, with centralized records and data security. Reducing invoicing timelines and improving time to pay, online payments allow you to access your money faster and expedite your cash flow in a secure way. 

In addition, real-time contract and service offers can be purchased seamlessly within the interface, driving new revenue. Customers can browse your offers in a personalized and pressure-free environment, encouraging additional sales without an extra dime spent on marketing efforts. 

4. Improve Internal and Customer Communication

Changes in service plans are bound to happen - but these changes should never reduce the quality or efficiency of your service. Likewise, communication is integral to combating these changes, both internally and with your customers. If a technician is going to be late, or a part is not available in time for a scheduled appointment, these changes need to be communicated to your customers in a timely manner in order to avoid frustration or create negative customer experiences. 

With proactive, custom notifications and two-way communication between customers and field service personnel, a customer portal ensures that you provide the highest quality service possible. Additionally, immediate job feedback and surveys allow you to make informed, data-driven decisions about your service quality and understand where you may need to improve. 

5. Enhance Customer Experience and Retention

Providing a positive customer experience demonstrates that your customers are your main priority, and is integral to success in the field services. According to Salesforce research, 80% of customers say that the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, with 57% reporting having stopped service with a company because a competitor provided a better experience.  

Positive customer experiences lead to improved customer loyalty, retention, and revenue. For instance, with a positive emotional experience, customers are six times more likely to buy, twelve times more likely to recommend the company and five times more likely to forgive a mistake

With a majority of United States customers already expecting self-service portals, meeting this expectation is essential to delivering a positive customer experience. Moreover, surpassing this expectation with an exceptional customer portal will set you apart from your competitors. 

Ensure Your Success in the Future

Investing in a customer portal is the first step in showing your customers they are your number one priority. With the satisfaction of your customers on the line, make sure you invest in an intelligent solution that can adapt to their changing needs and expectations. 

Your ability to provide exceptional experiences and innovative solutions for your customers will ensure your success in the future, so start now. Learn more about ServicePower’s Customer Engagement Portal.

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