“I love spending all my waking hours sending emails to my clients”, said no one ever. We’re sure you can relate. How many times have your clients “lost” emails with important files (a.k.a. pending invoices)? Far too many, right? Well, that ends today! If clients want to play dumb with us, we will become client management wizards, or shall we say… Dumb-ledores? (wink, wink) And the best way to do that is to use client portals.
Client portals, though not the mystical kind of portal (shame!), allow you to manage the flow of information and communication between you and your clients. And since there are so many options out there to get lost in, in this article, we'll explore the best client portal software you should be considering in 2023, so you can find the perfect match for your business needs and keep They-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named happy.
What is a Сlient Portal?
A client portal is an online environment designed to provide a secure and convenient way for clients and customers to access information, manage and share files, and communicate with you and your business. To continue with the Harry Potter analogy, a client portal is like Gringotts Bank for business communication; it serves as a secure vault to store and manage information and interactions between clients and service providers (a.k.a. you).
In today's digital age, client portals have become an essential tool for businesses to improve customer engagement, increase customer satisfaction, and streamline operations without the need for direct human interaction (Phew, thank God for that!).
Client portals are usually accessible through websites or mobile apps, and they provide collaboration tools in a secure and personalized experience for each customer.
Why do You Need a Customer Portal?
There are several reasons why you might need to implement one of the best client portal software for your business. So let’s take a quick look at some situations in which your business can benefit from having a dedicated, private space for each of your customers:
- You answer the same questions over and over, especially by email, which takes up quite a big chunk of your working hours.
- You have to manually email important documents to your customers: invoices, guides, brand assets, etc.
- You think that using common solutions like Google Drive or Word documents can sometimes make you look a bit unprofessional.
- You want to regularly share news with your customers but don’t want to seem intrusive by spamming their inbox with your newsletters.
- You would like to provide live support to your customers from a central hub and reduce the use of emails and WhatsApp (or similar!) for regular business communications.
- Et cetera.
If you find yourself thinking about and wishing for some of the observations above and many more, you definitely need to start using a client portal software.
Top 7 Benefits of Client Portals
There are several benefits to having a client portal, which we can summarize into:
- Improved customer engagement and satisfaction;
- Reduced workload for customer service teams;
- Increased support staff efficiency;
- Improved collaboration with customers;
- Valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences;
- Improved communication with other team members and customers;
- Increased security and privacy for sensitive customer information.
Let’s just say that with a great customer portal, your clients will be in awe of your client wizarding skills! Remember, you’re a wizard, Harry!
What Should a Customer Portal Include?
A customer portal should include several key features to ensure an optimal customer experience, including:
- Secure file management and delivery: A client portal should have a secure file management system that allows clients to easily upload files, and store and access important documents. This is why you need a secure client portal software.
- Self-service options and account management: Clients should be able to manage their own accounts, including updating personal information, viewing account history, and tracking orders.
- Access to products and services: A customer portal should provide access to the company's products and services, including descriptions, pricing, and ordering options.
- Secure live chat or other consolidated communication channels: Normally, client portal platforms should provide access to secure communication channels, such as live chat, for clients to get quick answers to their questions and support requests.
- Ability to update brand and business information: Your customer portal ought to allow your clients to update their business information, such as contact information, and view their brand assets.
- Ability to make payments and manage billing: Allowing clients to manage their billing details and make payments is one of the key features of an effective secure client portal.
- Access to knowledge base: Every client portal should also provide access to a knowledge base or FAQs, allowing clients to quickly find on-demand information.
- Project management features or integrations: It is extremely useful for any business to have your client portals integrated or equipped with collaboration tools and project management features to stay on top of all your tasks.
Basically, a client portal is like the Room of Requirements. If you’re a Harry Potter buff like us, you know what we mean. (wink, wink!)
Top 10 Customer Client Portal Software
As you must know by now (if you’ve been paying attention to this awesome article!), having a robust and user-friendly customer portal can streamline communication, enhance customer engagement, and improve the overall customer experience. But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. So to help make your decision easier, we've compiled a list of the best client portal software to use in 2023 based on key features, user experience, and customer reviews, where we’ve included some big, industry-standard players and some new rising stars in the field. Whether you're looking to increase efficiency, improve customer satisfaction, or gain valuable insights into customer behavior, these client portal software options are sure to meet your needs.
1. Nimbus Platform
Nimbus Platform is an all-round solution for content management and customer support. With this client portal software, you can create client portals and support documents (knowledge bases), chat and send messages to your customers in real time, answer their support requests, take screenshots and screen recordings with Nimbus Capture and save and organize web content thanks to Nimbus Clipper. This robust solution is perfect for creating bespoke customer portals at a very affordable pricing point.
- Pricing: Starts at $8/month
- Capterra rating: 4.6 (147 reviews)
- Affordable customer portal solution
- Built-in chats to streamline communication
- Project management features
- Easy data collection and feedback processing
- Fully branded portals (logo, colors, content, etc.)
- Connect your business custom domain
- Natively integrated with all Nimbus tools (Note, Capture, Clipper)
- Clients can upload invoices and other documents
- Easy to create knowledge base articles
- Document collaboration features
- Cannot share files directly on chat
- Only possible to delete a customer portal by contacting support
2. Client Portal (WordPress)
Client-portal.io is an intuitive, easy-to-use WordPress plugin designed to help you create a dedicated client portal within your own website. It offers a range of features to create a secure dashboard where your clients can access whatever you choose: purchase details and downloads, customer data, customer requests, self-service resources, brand assets, payment details and invoices, etc. As it is WordPress based, it is a really flexible and customizable solution to create customer portals.
- Pricing: Starts at $199/year
- Capterra rating: -
- Flexibility in terms of modules you can add
- WordPress-based (if that’s what you’re looking for!)
- Clean and simple UI
- Easy to set up
- Need to maintain and update regularly, as it is a WordPress plugin
- Not cheap, considering the lowest tier works only on one site
- Little customization available
- No native integrations
- No project management features
- Limited to client portal features, nothing else
Zendesk is a customer service and support platform that provides a full-blown helpdesk solution with tools that can be tailored to meet the unique needs of any organization. Among other things, Zendesk allows you to build customizable customer portals, robust knowledge bases, online community forums, etc. This client portal software also includes live chat functionality, making it easy for customers to get in touch with support teams. Additionally, Zendesk integrates with a wide range of popular business applications, such as Salesforce and Google Analytics, which enables organizations to streamline their customer service operations.
- Pricing: Starts at $79/month
- Capterra rating: 4.4 (3,438 reviews)
- All-round solution for customer support
- Branded customer portals (including domain)
- Native integrations with popular software, including major CRMs
- Live chat to connect with the customer support team
- Knowledge base creation and management
- Integration with native community forums
- Pricey cost per agent
- Zendesk users complain about their customer support service (Ironic!)
- Not intuitive to set up
- Big learning curve to use
- Can feel overwhelming due to having too many features
SuiteDash is an all-in-one solution for businesses that need to manage their customer relations, client communications, project management, and invoicing. This client portal lets you customize the look and feel of their customer interactions, so it matches yours or your customer’s brand, restrict customer access, as well as delegate responsibilities and monitor progress through clear reporting and tracking systems.
- Pricing: Starts at $19/month
- Capterra rating: 4.9 (457 reviews)
- All-in-one customer and project management solution
- Affordable solution, considering how much it offers
- Client portal template library
- Comprehensive documentation
- Document collaboration
- Steep learning curve
- So many features make it overwhelming
- Unappealing UI
- Some of the integrations are too limited
- Lack of public API