A customer portal has become an essential element for businesses that want to provide self-service support and improve customer satisfaction. If you are considering a customer portal, you may be at a fork in the road: should you go with cloud products available in the market or try building your own solution in-house?
To find the right software for your business or start developing your own solution, you need to carefully consider your organization’s budget, as well as present and future needs. By listing these out, you’ll find that in-house and third-party solutions both have their own pros and cons that you need to be aware of. Below are some common challenges:
Sharing information with your customers
If you’re considering building your own portal, beware of underestimating the task ahead. For every type of data you need to make available to your customers, you will need to develop that functionality in the portal from scratch, such as case management, knowledge bases, and custom Salesforce objects. You’ll also have to factor in base deployment, hosting costs and redundancy infrastructure, as well as consider security, uptime, and availability of your home-made solution.
If you’re looking into a cloud solution, ensure that there’s no restriction on the number of Salesforce Objects you can use. Otherwise, you may have to pay an arm and a leg for additional licenses or add-ons.
For cloud-based solutions, there maybe certain restrictions on Salesforce objects you can use in your portal, additional tabs, applications and features. Check what is included in the license you can afford and what you need to pay to get additional functionality.
Developing and upgrading your portal
Even though in-house solutions are personalized for your company’s needs, the cost of owning one can be over the top. Instead of focusing on their actual job, your IT team is constantly involved with portal maintenance and pushing new upgrades can be a slow and arduous process with limited resources.
By integrating a cloud portal, however, solutions simply “snap into” your business needs. Look for vendors that offer consistent support and will continuously upgrade your site too.
Putting your name on your portal
With solutions that are built in-house, consider the branding limitations and costs when it comes to any additional customization or development that your business will need moving forward.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking into portal vendors, ensure that you’re not just strapped to a cookie-cutter template – you should have simple tools like CSS customization to create a unique look and feel for your brand.
Customer onboarding and elearning
Training and onboarding your customers is a crucial business requirement. If you are building a solution yourself (or with the help of Salesforce partners), you will need to add a Learning Management Software (LMS), pay for the new licenses and integrate it into your environment. Think of the additional cost and development this will involve. Not to mention, you’ve also just made your portal 5x more complex with another solution in your ecosystem.
When searching for a portal vendor, the same scenario applies. Keep an eye out for software that includes LMS and does not require you to go through lengthy integrations.
Your portal’s elasticity
Your business is changing and growing. You customer portal needs to be able to scale and evolve to accommodate new requirements. For custom developed solutions, you need to consider how easy it is to create additional modules, applications, add and edit functionality. What if your development team changes or you start working with a new Salesforce partner? You might be compromising deployment speed and the security of your portal.
With cloud-based solutions, additional features and modules may come at a high cost, if available at all. Very few solutions will provide you with an opportunity to create your own add-ons and all of them will have costs associated with the number of users. You will need to estimate and scale your portal users to make sure the additional cost fits into your budget.
When choosing a portal solution for Salesforce, it is very important to not only look at your current business needs but plan for business growth and how this will impact your software requirements. Cloud-based solutions will offer you more flexibility, security and integration features compared to software developed in-house. However, you need to carefully calculate the license cost and research the available features to find the right solution for your company.
Magentrix Customer Portals is the complete solution to provide your customers with a self-service experience so they can access information, view support documents and help each other.
- Seamless integration with Salesforce: The integration is automated, bidirectional and optimized for API calls
- Branding: Magentrix offers a free, first-time branding for new users.
- Inclusive licensing: All the main features are available in a standard license – Customer Support, File Sharing, Knowledge Base and Blogs, Collaboration and many more.
- Simple pricing model: Magentrix Customer Portals start at $349 for up to 1,000 users and scales with the additional customer tiers. No hidden fees or license limitations.