The client portal is an increasingly key component of business relationships. There’s no substitute for face-to-face contact and phone conversations but when dealing with multiple clients and high value partnerships, it’s important to have a secure, online space that everyone can access. Investment News even declared 2016 as the year of the client portal, and say technology companies may be falling behind if they don't offer one. So how can a secure intranet portal help your business?

In this tech savvy age, clients want to pull things up wherever they are; on their mobiles, tablets or laptops. They will seek out partnerships and business that enable them to do so. No more “did you get my email…no? I sent it on Thursday…the documents were attached…” Having one secure portal to manage client communications and projects saves time and streamlines your processes.

Cost-effective innovation A client portal offers the perfect solution to centralise communication, generate insight and share resources. It’s an engaging and innovative method of showcasing your company and strengthening client relationships. Sharing high quality articles, resources and video on your portal can consistently engage your audience, building a connection to your brand that secures the relationship for the long term. You can use your intranet portal to deliver incentives, run competitions and promote new services or offers in a cost effective and innovative way. It's a great chance to be creative and test new ideas.

Demonstrate investment in your client With the right platform you can brand or co-brand a portal for different communities, ensuring that clients have their own bespoke solution. A dedicated portal demonstrates investment in the relationship, gives your client the chance to explore and understand your brand and is accessible anywhere, any time. Having a portal essentially means that you’re open for business all the time… without actually having to be open for business all the time.

Gain valuable insight As well as being an effective use of time and resource, a client portal also enables you to gather valuable insight. You can quickly and easily see what content works best for your clients, what time of day they are accessing information and so on. This insight enables you to tailor your communication specifically to the client, ensuring you get the best results from your activity.

Make interaction easy The ability to facilitate two-way interaction is an extremely useful facet of the client portal. You can quickly gain insight and test content via your intranet portal; inviting your clients to participate in conversation threads, surveys, polls and to comment and annotate documents in a shared, secure space.

Key members of the account team or senior management can blog regularly and share video content, providing engaging updates on the account, client relationship or direction of your company. These personal touches enable clients to get more of an idea about your company culture, building better and faster engagement.

Reassuringly safe and secure Security and safety of information is a huge priority and risk area for any business. A secure client portal reassures clients that their information is secure and treated with the utmost confidentiality. Dealing with accounts in a portal means you don’t have to worry about emails going to the wrong sender or being accidentally sent out at the wrong time. Only those granted access to the secure intranet portal can see information and resources. And if someone leaves your company, you can terminate or suspend their access immediately without losing any of their contributions to the portal.

Imagine - no more sharing documents through a variety of third party file transfer sites, or via long email chains back and forth. A client portal gives you one secure place to share documents and resources with clients in a specific online site that has been designed for them. No more confusion about where things are saved or how they are shared. No panic after you hit the send button on your email and realise the wrong person was copied in.

Future-proof account management Another area where a client portal can add value is when used as an account and project management tool. Using one secure area to collaborate prevents issues that arise when team members are sick or leave the team. If you’re trying to maintain consistency in your client communications and want to offer the best service possible, employee turnover, holiday, absence or sickness can be a real area of risk.

Managing projects and accounts in a secure intranet portal provides access to the necessary account handlers, without excluding access in a time of emergency. If someone is off sick or unable to pick up a query, another member of the team can seamlessly access the client communication trail through the portal, minimising disruption.

Using a portal means that client communications, history, resources and documents are saved securely in the platform rather than in someone’s inbox or on a computer drive. So there’s no need to frantically contact IT to try and gain access and trawl through all the emails to catch up.

Enable consistent workflow When team members take maternity leave, sabbatical or any other long term leave, the account can be easily managed through the portal, maintaining the communication trail. When they return, everything will be up-to-date and easily accessible so they can get back up to speed. This saves time with handovers, covers you in emergencies and adds real value to the client who receives consistent service despite any fluctuation in the account handling team.

Provides a self-service option Clients often prefer a self-service option if they just have a quick question or need access to standard information. Think how much easier it is to quickly look something up on Google rather than ask someone else or call somewhere to get the information. Save time and resource by thinking ahead and storing the solutions to frequent queries on your client portal – you may just see a drop in your support calls.

What are you waiting for?

A client portal offers great return on investment and the benefits will quickly offset the time and resource needed to establish and maintain it. In fact, since you are doing much of the work already, it’s really just a case of reallocating and centralising current resource.

The insight you gather will enable you to better hone your communications for each client and adjust your activity, saving you time in the long term and boosting results. So what are you waiting for?

We build secure portals for all types of clients, from Ralph Lauren to Direct Line Group. To talk to us about portals, client intranets or collaboration platforms, call 020 7099 6370 or email hub@pancentric.com

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