Most cloud-based providers offer administrators back-end tools to set up preferences, make changes and add new users. But, all customer portals are not created equal. When it comes to your ability to remain agile and improve your business’s flexibility, the interface that you use to manage your communications makes all the difference.
Broadview’s approach to the development of our new customer portal, MyOfficeSuite was designed around how the end user needs to access and utilize the critical applications and features of the system.
Here are the seven items that we’ve learned and should be on the lookout for in your next customer portal.
Centralized Technology. Many businesses today are rapidly scaling their use of cloud-based services. While the phone system may have been the first in the cloud, hosted email, faxing, video conferencing and even toll-free services have seen high adoption rates. Fortunately, you no longer need multiple systems and logins to access and manage them all. Look for a system that helps you centralize the administration and use of all of your services by providing you with a single-point of access to everything you need. This will streamline your administration and support processes dramatically.
Intuitive Design. Time is everything in business, so having a customer portal that offers a intuitive design will make it easy to use for both managers and employees and eliminate the need for IT support. Broadview chose to use a widget-based architecture so specific business use cases, like checking voicemail or adding users to a call group, would be highly visible and easily accessible. The last thing you want to have is a complex menu tree or hierarchical system that is difficult to navigate.
Adaptability. Today’s workforce is mobilized. None of us can afford to be tied to our desk, so any platform you consider needs to match your organization’s work style. Your web-based portal, and services for that matter, should be accessible and work the same on each of your devices: smartphones, laptops, tablets, IPads® and desktops, eliminating the need to be in the office or use your desk phone to make changes.
Permission-based Controls. To ensure security and in some industries compliance, different employees and departments will have different functions and levels of authority. Having a customer portal that provides you with customizable user profiles based upon individual user personas allows administrators to grant employees access to self-manage the features that are applicable to their role. While having options is good, having the ability to specifically define roles and permissions will further enable you to scale and grow. Imagine creating the right permission so your outsourced accountant can just download and pay your bill.
User-Centric Functionality. Simple and fast is what we are all looking for when we manage anything related to our business. Your customer portal should offer user-centric technology like drag and drop capabilities, setting individual preferences, adding new services and making changes on your own, which will reduce the burden of your IT resources. With MyOfficeSuite, any employee, with the right permissions, can click-to-dial phone numbers, upload, listen to and record greetings, pay bills, forward calls, set-up speed dials on their desk phone, listen to voicemail and import contacts, all from one central website that is available on any device.
Support. With multiple site locations, it can be challenging to manage issues and contact support for each of your individual services and locations. Your customer portal should provide one-click access to contact support, chat live, open and view support tickets, access their online community, watch video tutorials and download support collateral for each of your services. We have taken this a step further by offering direct support for employees, not just administrators. Anyone can use our online chat to get answers or ask questions in our online community.
Collaboration. Many companies have multiple locations and employees that travel, so finding a portal that will increase your connectivity across sites is a win-win. Features that work across all sites like real-time presence that showcases the availability of each of your coworkers before you contact them, intercom and the ability to initiate or join a video conference online, will enable your team to stay connected and collaborate easily, no matter where they are.
Having a pre-defined checklist of features you want and business requirements your organization needs to improve your workflows will be helpful when deciding which services and providers are best for your business.