You love your clients and want them to be delighted by your services, but that doesn’t mean you can dedicate endless time to each of them. Personal attention simply isn’t scalable.
However, client relationships are to the professional services industry what tires are to a car. Without them, you can’t go anywhere. And without high-quality ones, you’ll struggle.
Essentially, you need a stand-in that can answer your clients’ questions, ease their minds and satisfy their curiosities when you and your team are busy getting their work done (and building the business).
The answer? A client portal.
Why Start Using a Client Portal?
A centralized source of critical information about projects and invoices, a place to house important documents and a means of submitting requests — these are just a few of the valuable functions a portal can perform.
But do you need to provide all of this?
Speaking from our experience working with client-based businesses for over a decade, YES!
Clients in service industries enjoy having access to a portal because:
- They get more frequent communication and visibility. In the case of client communication, more tends to be better. People like to know that you’re paying attention to them and their accounts. A client portal that displays real-time updates can reassure them that you’re making good progress on their projects and requests.
- They can see that you value transparency. External transparency can be tough to prioritize because you’re too busy doing work to make time for talking about how you do said work. With a client portal, you don’t have to make each update a full-blown announcement. It’s also easier to break bad news if your clients can see everything that’s led up to the present moment.
- They come to rely on your team for longer. When you consistently offer clients what they want via an easily accessible portal, they see you as dependable and know you care about meeting their needs. That often builds a sense of reciprocity, motivating them to stay loyal to your business and preventing unnecessary turnover.
You and your team will also benefit from using a client portal because:
- You can share sensitive documents securely and easily. Endless emails are no longer a thing when you have a dedicated place to upload and share work orders, estimates, mockups, etc. You and your team can collaborate and see what’s been sent and when, which minimizes accidental duplicate communications.
- There’s no need to send manual updates. It’s no surprise that an ever-present source of truth is a mega-timesaver, but you might be shocked by how much this reduces your team’s stress. And when you do reach out directly to clients, it’ll take less time because they’re already up to speed.
- You’ll reduce emergency and after-hours requests. Because your clients can log into a portal 24/7, they’ll need you less. In periods when you’re short-staffed or overwhelmed, it can be a lifesaver. In moments when last-minute communication is necessary, you’ll have a reliable audit trail to guide your discussion.
Features of a Great Client Portal
While they’re more widely available than ever, not all client portals are created equal.
The best client portals give people the feeling of having round-the-clock service, predicting what they’ll need and answering their top questions before they’ve asked them.
A superior client portal is:
- Branded to fit your business’s identity
- Project breakdowns, including milestones, tasks, due dates and budgets
- Real-time status updates
- Easy access to invoices
- Shortcuts to relevant documents
- Links to videos and other company resources
- The ability for clients to accept quotes and new work orders
- Custom permissions for various team members of the client’s organization
- Forms for quick request submissions
Accelo’s client portal offers all of the above features and more. See why our users love it.
Retain Your Clients With Access to Valuable Information
A portal could be the missing link in your tech stack, but it’s important to keep software consolidation top of mind. Client portals are easiest to set up when integrated with your other client work functions in one nicely packaged platform.
Schedule a demo of Accelo to see how the client portal experience can fit into your workflows and reinforce the client relationships that are the heart of your business.
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Join the thousands of professionals that are running more successful businesses with Accelo