Self-Service Portal: Key Features, Integrations, and ROI Factors
With 15 years of experience in web portal development, ScienceSoft offers consulting services for planning and implementation of a self-service portal.
A service portal (self-service portal) is a web-based platform that allows users to access relevant information on products, services, or corporate information and request information or schedule services. The most common types of service portals are customer self-service portals, employee self-service portals and government service portals.
Accessing services, product settings and subscriptions
- Requesting, cancelling, re-activating services.
- Placing orders.
- Tracking order statuses.
- Notifications on status updates.
- Scheduling services.
- Viewing and editing subscription details.
- Remote product (device) management (viewing device information, password reset, managing settings, performing remote actions).
Paying for products/services
- Checking payment information.
- Managing subscriptions.
- Paying bills.
- Viewing a billing history.
- Filing claims.
- Viewing, tracking and downloading invoices.
- Viewing and filtering transactions by status.
Self-support for customers, employees, citizens and business organizations, etc.
- A knowledge base (user manuals, supporting documentation, educational materials).
- Forums, communities.
- Live chat with a service agent, HR specialist, etc.
- Submitting support requests for customers or employees.
- Getting notifications on support ticket status.
- Viewing support and account history.
- Configuring widgets displayed in the portal.
- Setting up location-based portal content and ads.
- A service chatbot.
- Auto-suggested AI-based service solutions based on customers’ or employees’ queries.
- Automated AI-based routing of users’ support tickets to an agent or a bot for help.
Service portal + CRM
– to get a 360-degree view of customer interactions with the business due to uploading the full history of requests and orders made via a portal to CRM, to personalize communication in the portal using customer info from CRM.
Service portal + ERP
– to keep stock, services, order and request statuses in the portal accurate, to send customer requests, orders and other input to ERP for verification and fulfillment.
Service portal + a ticketing system
– to automatically pull issues from the service portal to the support ticketing system.
Service portal + analytics and BI software
– to analyze user interactions with the portal and improve customer/employee experience.
Service portal + communication tools (online chat, social media, email)
– to allow for a prompt and convenient switch to assisted help.
Ease of use
The self-service portal UI, information architecture, and interactions design should minimize the time needed for users to resolve their issues and accomplish tasks.
Quick switch to assisted support
The portal should ensure a smooth transition from self-service to a service agent, HR specialist, government rep any time it is needed.
Thorough availability planning and monitoring
Portal users rely on the portal being available 24/7, so the risks of downtimes or crashes should be minimized via a thought-out architecture, application performance management and infrastructure management.
Regular content review and updating
The self-service portal should provide only relevant recommendations and documentation to stay useful and support user satisfaction.
- Saved time of a customer service team, HR specialists, etc., due to the elimination of simple repeated requests.
- Reduced support cost per contact: On average, the cost of self-service interaction is about $1, compared to $33 for solving a problem over the phone and $20 for handling an issue via email.
- Improved customer/employee satisfaction due to easy access to the information and personalized recommendations, improved knowledge of the product and services provided.
- For customer self-service portals: Support of a company's expert image and visibility – an expert knowledge base of a self-service portal makes a business a credible source of information and authority in its field or industry, thus helping to attract more leads.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service + Power Apps Portals
Best for: small and midsize businesses
- The highest score in the CRM Watchlist 2020.
- On-premises and cloud implementation options.
- Customizable templates for user satisfaction surveys.
- Fully integrated IoT diagnostics, IoT device updates and case management.
- AI- and ML-based tools for automated service/support ticket opening.
- $95 per user/month (portal capabilities are available in the Enterprise plan only).
ServiceNow Customer Service Management
Best for: midsize and large enterprises
- Agile search in the Known Error Database and the Configuration Management Database and automated tools like BSM Visualization to help the IT staff identify similar incidents.
- Similar incidents consolidation to one problem to solve the root cause of the problem instead of handling each ticket separately.
- Proactive Customer Service Operations and Communities.
- Available both in the cloud and on-premises (in special cases).
Prices are provided by request.
Salesforce Experience Cloud
Best for: midsize businesses
- Released in September, 2020.
- AI-based personalization of service content displayed to users.
- Trending portal tools, including a live chat, blog, real-time monitoring of user content mentioning the company in social media (Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook).
- Cloud implementation only.
For customer interactions:
- Customer Community: $2 per login/month or $5 per member/month (billed annually).
- Customer Community Plus: $6 per login/month or $15 per member/month (billed annually).
For B2B interactions (partners, brokers, etc.):
Partner Relationship Management: $10 per login/month or $25 per member/month (billed annually).
For all types of interactions:
For External Apps: $15 per login/month or $35 per member/month (billed annually).
Note: login is an infrequent user, member is a frequent user.
WHEN BUILD A CUSTOM SERVICE PORTAL?
The majority of out-of-the-box service portal solutions either don’t allow adding or deleting features to fit the solution to business needs or such modifications will be too costly, which becomes the main driver for custom service portal development. Also, custom service portal development is economically feasible in case of multiple integrations with custom business systems, especially legacy ones.
Service portal consulting
- Retrieve business and user requirements regarding service interactions.
- Develop a business case, including ROI estimation.
- Define portal functionality, tech stack, architecture (for custom solutions).
- Deliver UX and UI mock-ups (for custom self-service portals).
- Choose the right platform and decide on necessary customizations (for platform-based self-service portals).
- Provide a project management and implementation scenario, project cost & time estimates.
Full-cycle service portal development
Our team offers:
- Detailed service portal planning and design.
- Custom or platform-based service portal development.
- Integration with third-party systems (ERP, CRM, analytics and BI solutions, ticketing tools, etc.).
- Admin training.
- After-launch support.
- Continuous portal management and evolution (on demand).
ScienceSoft is an international IT consultancy and software development company based in Texas. Since 2005, the company delivers full-fledged self-service portals and complementing Android and iOS apps for businesses in 23 industries. ScienceSoft’s offers full-cycle web portal development that includes professional business analysis, UX and UI design, and support services.