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Strategy

Customer portals: Powerful platforms for CX success

It’s a fact: great customers have great expectations. Not only do your valuable customers expect an outstanding product or service, but they also demand an exceptional experience. And today, an excellent customer journey depends on meeting your customers where they are and accommodating ever-evolving demands. 

One consistent trend is autonomy. Today’s customers want to help themselves — studies show that 70% of consumers want to resolve issues independently. Where do they go to find help? Online. Close to 65% of consumers always or almost always turn to a company’s online resources when they have a simple question or need a quick fix.

Infographic showing that 70% of consumers what to resolve their own issues and 65% of consumers turn to online resources.

Customer portals: An inclusive CX solution

Combining today’s customers’ need for independence with other emerging CX demands like deeper personalization, more immersive experiences, and even conversation and connection seems like a heavy lift. But there is a solution that covers all of these needs: a thoughtful, well-designed customer portal.

Online customer portals have emerged as a vital component of successful business-consumer relationships. These dedicated digital platforms provide customers with a personalized and streamlined experience, allowing them to access essential information, manage their accounts, build affinity, and engage with your brand more efficiently and effectively. 

But it goes even further than that. A great customer portal doesn’t just meet consumer demand; it also helps meet your company’s needs. Customer portals free up company resources and human capital, optimize internal processes, and much more. 

What is a customer portal?

A customer portal is a secure, web-based platform that serves as a centralized hub for customers to interact with a business. It offers a range of self-service functionalities, such as accessing account information, making transactions, progress tracking, tracking orders, submitting support tickets, engaging with support agents, and retrieving relevant resources. You can easily empower customers and foster stronger relationships by giving direct access to these features.

Customer portals are a gateway to the various products, services, and information brands and businesses offer. By bringing together crucial functions in one place, customer portals simplify the customer journey and create a cohesive and engaging experience.

How do customer portals benefit consumers?

Customer portals aren’t just important; they’re necessary. Numbers from Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service report indicate that nine out of 10 U.S. consumers expect a brand or organization to have an online portal for self-service. 

Infographic indicating nine out of 10 U.S. consumers expect a brand or organization to have an online portal for self-service.

These numbers make sense, too. Millennials and Gen Z, both digital natives, comprise nearly half of the U.S. population and significantly shape consumer trends. As self-service becomes the norm and younger consumers drive digital demands, online customer portals become even more essential. 

Why are customer portals important to consumers? Here are three benefits to consider:

Customer portals provide space for seamless communication

As users embrace ChatGPT, Bard, and other natural language processing AI platforms, the demand for conversational customer service will likely increase. Interactions in a customer portal can be protected and stored so that historical context is quickly available when a human takes over. They can pick up the conversation without missing a beat and provide seamless communication.

Portals let your business meet digital demand in real time

A recent ZenDesk study found that 72% of customers want immediate services. Customers appreciate the ability to access their account details, view past transactions, track orders, and make changes to their profiles on their time without relying on customer support.

Self-service options foster trust

By providing a secure and personalized space for customers to engage with the brand, businesses can use online portals to foster a sense of exclusivity and strengthen their relationships. Customers feel valued and trusted when they can easily access relevant information and resources, and this positively influences their perceptions of the brand.

How do customer portals benefit businesses?

From a business perspective, customer portals contribute to operational efficiency. By enabling customers to perform self-service tasks on their own, internal stakeholders can streamline the support processes. You’ll also likely be able to put your money where it matters, as self-service in an online portal costs less than one-on-one back-and-forth with an agent.

You can also use information from your online portal to improve experiences and drive data-backed decisions. Incorporating analytics and reporting capabilities into your portal gives you rich insights into customer behavior, engagement levels, and portal performance. Learn more about leveraging data-driven insights to improve customer experiences.

Another important consideration is that effective customer portals can help craft an outstanding employee experience. When consumers are empowered to meet their needs, your agents feel less pressure. They aren’t dealing with monotonously repeated questions and are free to focus on more complex issues, which can undoubtedly be more engaging and fulfilling. 

And perhaps most importantly, a successful customer portal can enable growth and prepare for a profitable future. Your customer portal has the potential to become the central hub of your customers’ experiences. These self-service functions will meet consumer demands, lessen agent burden, and let you scale offerings as your business grows. 

What does it take to make a great CX portal?

With so many benefits and significant touch points, interactions with customer portals can be make-or-break moments in the CX journey. A great customer portal empowers your customer with a cohesive and engaging experience.

Eleven considerations for CX portal success

There’s a lot that goes into creating a great customer portal and best practices must be considered. Here are 11 essential features and factors that go into making a successful product:

  1. User-friendly interface: A well-designed and intuitive interface ensures customers can easily navigate the portal, find the necessary information, and perform desired actions without confusion.
  2. Secure authentication: Robust authentication mechanisms, such as two-factor authentication, help protect customer data and ensure only authorized individuals can access the portal.
  3. Personalization: Customizable dashboards, personalized recommendations, notifications, account support features, and tailored content based on users’ preferences enhance the user experience and make the portal more engaging.
  4. Self-service functionality: The ability for customers to independently perform tasks, such as updating information, accessing essential documents, managing subscriptions, and initiating support requests, reduces their reliance on customer support and improves efficiency.
  5. Communication support channels: Integrating communication channels — including chatbots, live chat, support ticket systems, or community forums — allows customers to interact with support teams directly and receive timely assistance.
  6. Mobile responsiveness: Nearly 80% of smartphone users have used their devices to make purchases, so ensuring your customer portal is mobile-responsive is crucial. It should adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes and provide an optimal experience across various devices.
  7. Foster feedback: A great customer portal fosters a feedback loop that you can use to improve your audience focus. You can see what topics get the most engagement and track other metrics to leverage data for future improvements with built-in user feedback mechanisms.
  8. Data enablement: The metrics you collect from customer portal interactions can help you retain customers, enhance customer experiences, and achieve sustainable growth even as the economy shifts. Additionally, reporting and data visualization within the portal make key information accessible to stakeholders.
  9. Accessibility: Your customers are diverse, and your portal should be inclusive and accessible. This involves considering factors such as color contrast, text size, and compatibility with assistive technology.
  10. Seamless integration: A successful customer portal should integrate smoothly with existing systems, like CRM platforms, e-commerce solutions, and support ticket systems to provide a seamless end-to-end experience for customers.
  11. Continuous iteration: Product design and development teams should adopt an iterative approach, gathering user feedback and monitoring portal performance to identify areas for improvement and make ongoing refinements to enhance the user experience.

Empower customers and enable growth with Tallwave

Customer portals have revolutionized how businesses interact with their customers, offering a range of self-service capabilities and personalized experiences. By understanding the significance of customer portals and incorporating essential features and elements, you can leverage your portal to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and long-term success.

Tallwave has hands-on experience creating customer-centric online portals that empower and delight. We apply a heuristic methodology to evaluate how consumers interact with digital products, like online portals, and through our iterative design process, turn our findings into a successful product that exceeds the expectations of internal and external stakeholders.


Ready to learn more about Tallwave and how we can enable your business’s growth? Let’s explore the opportunities together.

Categories
Strategy

From chaos to clarity: Data quality management for actionable insight

Data quality management empowers business success

Data quality plays a crucial role in the business landscape when it comes to informing strategy and enabling growth. As organizations strive to do more (or at least the same) with less, mastering data quality management is imperative. Collecting and analyzing the right data points can help you retain customers, enhance customer experiences, optimize campaigns, boost acquisition, and achieve sustainable growth even as the economy shifts.

But in today’s data-driven environment with evolving tracking technology, compliance demands, and AI disrupting the status quo, problems with data quality and quantity problems are amplified. And these issues come with a steep price: misinterpreted insights, wasted resources, and even concerns with ethics, transparency, and consumer privacy.

Effective data quality management is complex, but it doesn’t have to be. Understanding the causes and consequences of poor data quality, finding a source of truth, building a data-driven culture, and working with the right data enablement partner all come together to empower informed decisions that lead to outstanding experiences. 

Missed opportunities: Causes and consequences of poor data quality

Once upon a time, CMOs and growth leaders spent their days thinking about brand strategy with creative license and assumed success came from stellar messaging. But today, these roles hinge on emerging technology, marketing agility, and driving ROI while expecting immediate results — all of which depend on quality data.

Statistics reported in the 2023 Braze Customer Engagement Review indicate that more than one-third of marketing leaders cite the collection, integration, management, and accessibility of data as their top challenges when it comes to customer engagement.

These data challenges come in many different forms. Here are a few common problems in marketing data quality management:

More data, more problems

Organizations often find themselves drowning in a sea of information in the era of big data. According to the Braze survey mentioned above, a staggering eight out of every ten leaders surveyed admitted to collecting more data than they can realistically use.

Graphic image displaying that 8 out of 10 marketing leaders believe they are over-collecting data.

Data down the drain

With so much data at hand, so much goes to waste. Experian’s most recent data experience research report stated that an estimated 73% of all collected marketing data goes unused. Overcollected and underutilized data can come with high costs, ranging from consumer privacy risks to wasted resources.

Have you stored your historical data from Universal Analytics? The clock is ticking! Learn more about GA4 migration.

Standardization struggles

A lack of standardization and guidelines in your data strategy leads to all kinds of complications. Inconsistencies across systems and departments create confusion, and inaccurate data can mislead decision-making processes. Incomplete data leads to gaps in insights, while outdated data fails to reflect the current reality. This results in unreliable data and an inability to inform strategy.

Disparate times, disparate measures

Fragmented data is a major challenge for many (if not all) organizations. According to a study conducted by Wakefield Research, 441 of the 450 senior data leaders surveyed indicated that data silos exist within their organization. In addition, 311 of the same leaders report they have “trapped” data they cannot access. Rescuing trapped data can open opportunities for actionable insights.

What happens when organizations unlock trapped data? You’ll find untapped insights into user interactions that allow you to create outstanding customer experiences. Learn more about Tallwave’s success with data unification and enablement strategy.

Left brain, right brain

What causes all the data debacles? It could be that marketing people and data people don’t always speak the same language. Braze found that 42% of respondents reported that their top data management challenge stems from working with internal data scientists and IT departments who don’t understand marketing priorities. The second biggest challenge is that marketing talent lacks data skills.

Infographic stating that 42% of respondents reported that their top data management challenge stems from working with internal data scientists and IT departments who don’t understand marketing priorities.

Data mismanagement comes with consequences that can be summarized in two words: missed opportunities. Without a data-driven strategy, you’ll likely end up with wasted resources and miss out on what matters: customer retention, acquisition, and growth.

Seizing opportunities: 4 considerations for collecting quality data

Access to high-quality data enables business leaders to better understand their customers: their needs, preferences, expectations, and buying habits. This understanding helps companies successfully satisfy and engage customers, increase brand awareness, and drive sales conversions.

While ongoing data quality management might feel like an uphill battle, there are a few best practices you can implement to harness the power of accessible analytics. 

Here are four actionable steps to consider:

  1. Align data collection with business goals: Start by aligning your data collection efforts with your organization’s goals and objectives. By focusing on the data that truly matters, you can avoid the trap of over-collection and instead gather the insights necessary to drive meaningful actions.
  2. Standardize data across systems and departments: Establishing data standardization protocols is vital to ensure consistency and accuracy. Implementing standardized data models, formats, and definitions across systems and departments fosters a unified view of the data and enhances its reliability.
  3. Implement data validation and verification processes: Introduce robust data validation and verification processes to maintain data integrity. These processes involve checking for completeness, identifying and resolving inconsistencies, and ensuring data accuracy through various validation techniques.
  4. Invest in data cleansing, enrichment, and visualization tools: Leverage data cleansing and enrichment tools to improve the quality of your data. These tools can help identify and rectify errors, fill in missing information, and enhance the overall value of your data. Additionally, data visualization tools and dashboards give stakeholders the context they need to gain actionable insights from complex data sets.

Understanding and acting upon data compliance requirements are also significant considerations, especially in healthcare. Learn more about HIPAA-compliant web analytics.

Data-driven culture: Collaboration and metrics that matter

To truly master data quality management, organizations need to foster a data-driven culture. This kind of environment empowers leaders to put facts before instincts and take valuable action with each decision.

Unified team, unified data strategy

A data-driven culture is fueled by connection. The symbiotic relationship between data scientists and marketing specialists enables realizing your analytics tools’ full potential, allowing your organization to make data-driven decisions and achieve greater results. When marketing teams and data teams combine forces and truly understand each other, priorities are aligned. 

Prioritizing data quality lets you unlock valuable insights, reach your target audience more effectively, and ultimately enhance customer experiences while maximizing the return on your marketing investment.

The first step in creating a culture defined by data is finding a data strategy and analytics partner who truly understands the metrics that matter. A true enablement partner, like Tallwave, can help you narrow down the most relevant data points to avoid overcollection and support unification. You’ll have access to meaningful insights that drive positive outcomes.


Ready to embrace data enablement? Let’s chat. We can work together to create a unified data strategy that gives you the information needed to implement outstanding experiences. Reach out to Tallwave now.

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Uncategorized

Is SEO for Social Media the Secret to Success?

Social media platforms have evolved from online hangouts to significant touchpoints on your customers’ conversion journeys. Establishing your brand’s social media footprint and visibility is crucial; it forges meaningful consumer connections and enhances digital experiences. 

However, the painful reality for marketers is that curated social content alone won’t get you to For You Pages and newsfeeds. But reaching into your SEO toolkit just might. Many factors in establishing a solid social media presence seriously overlap with the search engine optimization strategies you’re already using to drive growth on your website.

With complex algorithms and user behavior playing a crucial role in content visibility, leveraging the power of SEO for social media is vital to improving reach, engaging the right users, and converting customers.

What is the relationship between social media and SEO?

When it comes to creating online experiences and driving strategic growth, social media matters. Surveys show that working-age adults spend an average of 2.5 hours daily scrolling social media. These consumers rely on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok for product research, reviews, brand engagement, and even for making purchases as integrated e-commerce solutions become the norm. 

SEO matters, too. An effective organic SEO strategy elevates your brand by boosting page rankings and increasing visibility, clicks, and conversions. Investing in SEO builds long-term equity for your business and establishes authority in your market. And while AI might change how algorithms work, SEO strategy will always need human-lead creativity and expertise to resonate with human users. Learn more about the benefits of implementing a proven SEO strategy. 

And although social media and SEO may seem like distinct digital strategies, they are closely intertwined. Social media platforms aim to engage and satisfy users by showcasing relevant, high-quality content. At the same time, SEO seeks to achieve the same by delivering valuable web content to answer their search queries.

SEO and social media: Symbiotic sisters

Think about it: SEO focuses on improving website reach by considering algorithms and ranking factors for better visibility on search engine result pages like Google or Bing. These factors hinge on authority, expertise, and trust established through technical performance, keywords, latent semantic indexing, and user behavior (bounce rate, time on site, pages visited, etc.).

Social media platforms also rely on algorithms that determine how content is displayed to users. These algorithms analyze similar factors, such as bio and caption keywords, viewer intent, creator authority, user behavior, and engagement. 

Relevance, engagement, and authority influence how content is shown to users on the SERPs, home pages, feeds, and For You Pages. Noting the many intersections, it’s easy to interpret that applying SEO techniques to social media strategies will likely increase the chances of your target audience finding your content, engaging with it, and ultimately converting into customers.

SEO strategies to adopt for social media success

Experience is everything. The shared objective between SEO and social media is to provide users with the best possible experience by delivering the best possible content related to their needs and intents. 

You can implement SEO techniques in your social strategy to push your brand toward customer acquisition and growth. With increased social media visibility, you’ll be there for critical make-or-break moments on the conversion journey.

Experience is everything. The shared objective between SEO and social media is to provide users with the best possible experience by delivering the best possible content related to their needs and intents.

Let’s look at a few tips social media managers can borrow from the SEOs.

Know what’s now

Social media evolves rapidly. Just look at all the recent changes with Instagram. Part of finding success with your audience is understanding what’s current and popular in their world. Google Trends offers an easy way to tap into today’s interests so that your content is timely and relevant.

Speak their language

Like traditional SEO, linguistic profiling and keyword research are crucial in social media optimization. Identify keywords and phrases relevant to your industry, target audience, and specific social media platforms. Use those phrases in your content and captions. Tools like SEMrush, Moz, and free browser extensions like Keyword Surfer can help you discover relevant terms based on how people search for products or content.

Flex your authority

Optimize your social media profiles by incorporating relevant keywords in your bio, descriptions, and headers. This helps social algorithms understand the nature of your business and improves the chances of being discovered by users searching for those keywords. Mention titles or credentials relevant to your content to display subject matter authority.

Create connections

Actively engage with your audience by responding to comments, messages, and mentions. This fosters a sense of community and encourages further engagement. And engagement shows the algorithm that your content is valuable and relevant.

Analyze and optimize

Regularly analyze your social media performance using built-in analytics tools or third-party platforms. Monitor engagement metrics, reach, click-through rates, and conversions to understand what resonates with your audience. Adjust your strategy accordingly to optimize results.

Let integrated solutions lead to intertwined success

You can unlock social media’s full potential and drive meaningful results by understanding the relationship between SEO and social media, implementing effective strategies, and staying informed about the latest trends and algorithm updates.

Social media and SEO aren’t siloed strategies. An integrated growth enablement partner like Tallwave can assist in combining SEO and social media strategies as part of a comprehensive conversion rate optimization program. We are eager to deploy our customer-centric and cohesive approach in a unique way to your vision and create exceptional experiences for consumers of all kinds.

Ready to learn more about Tallwave and how we can help? Let’s discuss how combined forces equal outstanding experiences and ongoing success. Here’s to the start of a great partnership.

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