Window Wipers is a specialized window cleaning company that has been in the field service business since 1988. They have been tending to their customers using a personal approach. Window Wipers would call customers and make a note of what was needed and each job’s requirements.
Employees could then be dispatched to a customer’s location and undertake the requested window cleaning. Once the job was completed, the manager would call the customer to get feedback on the service and if there was anything that would have made for a better customer experience.
The owners followed this method meticulously. Since the company’s inception, a register book has been maintained with details of the customers and remarks they provided upon job completion. This proved to be working wonders for the business, but it was time-consuming, and as their customer base grew, it was increasingly difficult to ensure all this feedback was properly recorded.
They had a handful of staff in the back office, and they could not keep up with the regular day-to-day activity of dispatching and routing their employees to customer locations. It became an arduous task for the administrative team to process all the requests.
Wouldn’t it be great if a customer could leave their feedback at an easy-to-use portal? Later it could be reviewed at the admin team’s convenience. Offering great customer service is critical to the growth of any business, and it is evident that customers know what they want and prefer using digital self-service when available.
But even with today’s advancements, many businesses are not taking advantage of the tech stack available to them. That is not to say that emails and phone calls are outdated; these support channels are still a good way to reach the back-office team and get a response. However, a customer portal may provide a superior experience for simpler questions. A customer portal allows access to information anytime, 24 hours a day; this can be a potent tool.
The need for a customer portal
As a company, there will come a time when your customer base grows so large you can no longer manage all their queries efficiently. You might allocate more work to your existing employees or require them to work additional hours to address minor customer issues. You cannot consider a customer request as irrelevant, even if it seems trivial to you, as that will impact your company’s brand image and your reputation for delivering a quality customer experience.
By making use of a customer portal you can help ensure that every customer query is addressed—however minor it might seem. This is where the true power of a portal shine, helping to ensure the success of your business. Let's look at a few areas of concern when a business does not have a customer service portal to support its operations.
1. Communication silos
When there is a lack of communication, it is easy for your team to miss messages which leads to slow response times. If you cannot streamline relevant information across the company consistently, it can easily lead to miscommunication and ultimately impact your bottom line.
2. Administrative tasks
Manual processes in administrative tasks are time-consuming and prone to errors. Giving your team additional tasks, such as entering data into spreadsheets daily, is one more task they need to handle. Adding to the monotony in this way will only lead to an inefficient workforce.
3. Siloed data
While dealing with customers, it is essential to understand their preferences and needs. However, when data is isolated and not shared, it is difficult to properly deliver a personalized experience. This results in poor customer service.
4. Dissatisfied customers
As technology evolves, so do customer expectations. Today, people want to have more information available to them and the flexibility to make changes if needed. Customers in today’s market expect a premium experience; they want to know not just the status of their tickets but also where a technician is and when to expect them. Integration with a mobile app allows us to provide this experience.
5. Slow invoice cycle and sales opportunities
Once you have developed your customer base, you should be able to upsell or even cross-sell additional products. Not having a system that can add more products to the invoice can make it challenging to generate an error-free invoice—which can cost you money. For this reason, it is important to have a fast and flexible system that can ensure your payment process is efficient and hassle-free.
The 9 Benefits of a customer portal
There are several benefits to having a customer portal, as it helps to integrate your business with existing systems and extends your reach, providing you with better access to the audience you are trying to reach. In an ever-evolving market, getting an edge over your competitors is essential. An engaging customer portal might be the way to go. Below are a few points explaining the benefits of using a customer portal.
1. Increase transparency
With a customer portal, you can offer your customers access to a wealth of information they may be seeking but don't know where to find. This level of transparency will instill confidence in your company, and by providing contact details within the portal, you make it easy for them to reach out for any questions they can't answer independently.
2. Bridge communication gaps
It is important to stay connected with your customers and to understand where your brand stands in their minds. You will be able to connect with your customers and convey information to them through the customer portal. Implementing a portal will allow you an easy way to bridge communication gaps and resolve difficulties quickly.
3. Improve customer service
You will be able to offer your customers a buffet of knowledge. They can dig into whatever they need at any time. Giving customers the freedom to access information at any time gives them peace of mind and builds a good reputation with your company. It is believed 90% of consumers expect their service providers to offer an online portal for information they can access. If consumers are unable to resolve an issue, it is mainly because there is not enough information available in the portal.
4. Better data management
The asset for any business today is data, and sorting data is important to any field service management business as it helps to manage field operations efficiently. Data collected has numerous uses for businesses; it can be used for scheduling appointments, optimizing routes, monitoring machine maintenance, and measuring customer satisfaction. Effective data and work order management help the organization provide better services to its customers.
5. Increase productivity and reduce costs
Having a customer portal helps your agents focus on the critical tasks at hand. It helps eliminate unwanted interactions with your field service technicians, especially considering the repetitive requests that your admin team has to deal with. Since customers will be able to quickly resolve minor issues themselves using information from the portal, the need to contact your admin team will be reduced and your team can devote more time to other tasks essential to running your business efficiently.
6. Enhance brand image and reputation
Creating a customer portal demonstrates your commitment to providing excellent customer service. This is an opportunity to improve your brand identity by adopting new technologies and enhancing your existing ones. You'll establish yourself as a customer-focused company by allowing your customers to find answers to common questions and easily access information. Additionally, you can share relevant content on the portal to further help your customers.
7. Reduce support agent workload
As your business grows, your support team will have to work more hours to handle the increase in customer requests. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section, along with a community forum, will prove helpful. Customers will be empowered to find answers to their questions themselves and resolve simple issues, significantly reducing the work volume of your support team.
8. Provide instant troubleshooting
By providing your customers with immediate solutions to any queries they might have, they do not have to wait for a response from your team to answer their questions. Regardless of how efficient your support team might be, they will not be available around the clock, and using a customer portal provides visitors with the information they need at any time, helping bridge the availability gap.
9. Collect feedback and generate AI reports
It is important for a customer portal to have a feedback form to report any concerns a customer has. This allows a complete picture of the customer portal experience to be given. You will be able to understand the customer’s pain points through these surveys, as well as those things that were well received.
Choose the right field service tool
What you need is the right field service app to help streamline your customer experience while also taking care of your field service needs. Introducing Zuper, the hassle-free customer management tool that will optimize your business. You will be able to access all your customer information in one place, ensuring that switching back and forth between different systems to access different information for one customer is a thing of the past.
With Zuper’s customer portal, you will be able to access all the information you need about a customer on one platform. You will be able to view payment information, the current status of quotes and invoices, as well as the validity of your contracts, and the maintenance records of your assets. Using Zuper, tracking your employees and the jobs in progress becomes trivial, and your ability to act on data-driven information is increased.
For any service business to grow, they need to ensure that customers are kept happy. The way to keep them happy is by ensuring that the questions they have, are addressed quickly and efficiently. A customer portal is a smart choice for any business, as increasing customer satisfaction should be your top priority. Implementing a customer portal will ensure the bottlenecks you have in responding to multiple customer queries will be eased, if not erased.
Improved customer satisfaction, increased productivity, and relieving your team of the burden of the trivial—a customer portal is the right choice for these reasons and many others. With their own login, your customers will have secure access to the information they need when they need it. Collecting feedback and generating reports is easy, and you can use this feedback to improve your service to your customers.
Being able to manage your customer’s data and present it in an easy-to-consume manner will gain the trust of your customer base and lead to even more business growth. To know more about Zuper and learn how we can help improve your field service operations, schedule a demo today with our product experts!