Communicating well with clients is one of the best ways to win their trust and loyalty for future projects. One way that you can ensure that your service industry firm offers clear updates and information to your clients is through a client portal.
Client portals allow you to seamlessly share the relevant details and updates without spending a lot of time creating separate communications between your team and your clients. It puts them in the driver's seat and helps them see progress over time.
Setting up a client portal is actually much easier than you think, given the modern tools incorporated into platforms like Accelo. The portal is a branded, professional front for your business online, giving each client the feeling that you've created an updates-and-information site just for them to use.
A client portal allows new clients access to certain aspects of the project process through a secure website. Client portal access could include documents, updates on progress, or even messaging back and forth. This secure website also encompasses billing, scheduling, and requests for changes to the plan.
Client portals are typically accessed online or through an app, depending on preferences for mobile or browser-based access. Both a website and an app give the client and the company more control over the security of their information.
By storing items in a central portal where your whole team also works, you avoid the problem of miscellaneous software and email solutions that can end up not including all relevant stakeholders. Missing one email shouldn't jeopardize communication clarity.
No one wants to have to proceed in a client relationship with incomplete info, and client portals consolidate that information in ways that allow everyone to operate with the same data points. Client portals level the information playing field and keep everyone connected.
At the same time, client portals are easy to update so that when things do inevitably change during a project's timeline, everyone gets an update immediately. If your clients are hyper-focused on updates, they can check as often as they like, without bogging down inboxes with frequent messages.
On the business side, setting up a client portal is fairly easy and starts the client relationship off on the right foot.
On the client side, the portal is an easy-to-use resource from the beginning.
The client portal is first and foremost a tool to help the clients see what's going on, but when projects grow complex, it is also a tool for documenting what has been shared. If you need to manage expectations or reinforce a timeline or budget need, the communications in the client portal help you show consistency in what you say and what you do.
Extend your Branding
One of the big benefits of a client portal is the opportunity to extend your professional brand and reinforce your excellence as a company. Accelo's client portal, for instance, allows you to add your colors and logos to make it your own.
With phishing attacks and other email-based fraud on the rise, a client portal is a valuable alternative when it comes to secure access online. Your clients want to know that their data is safe but still have at-a-glance access, and portals can do a better job these days than the average email account.
These portals also allow you to customize who sees what during the project timeline. You can also incorporate billing history and online payments into the client portal, making it easier than ever for clients to stay on top of their payments and track how their budget is spent.
There are other indirect benefits of a client portal, most of which have to do with efficiency. When your clients are well-connected and understand what is going on, your team is freed up from frequent messages to instead deliver excellent work faster, meeting deadlines and delighting clients.
Of course, a client portal cannot do everything — the downsides of any software, client portals included, tend to arise when you don't take full advantage of the features available. So a client portal does require more initial input, planning, and management than just firing off emails here and there.
You may also have to convince a client, at least at first, to take on another system/software and learn the basics of it. A quick tutorial, however, is often all you need to win them over to the advantages.
That being said, when you recognize all the ways that client portals can be used, which we'll explain even further below, you'll see how the effort to get them up and running is worth every moment spent on it.
A client portal is most useful when incorporated into a wider platform that is useful to your team every day. Accelo's customizable dashboards make it easy to plan projects and track results over time, and some basic setup of permissions is all you need to create custom client experiences of the key facts.
Because of its robust website integration abilities, Accelo is particularly useful for connecting all of your team's software systems. Sharing data and communications between systems has never been easier or more efficient.