Getting Closer to Clientson 8 February 2017Posted by Jacqui Hogan
Are you still using email or basic document sharing when communicating with clients? Perhaps this scenario is familiar to you...
You’ve just got to the nitty-gritty part of a complex new project. Just as you are wrestling with it, you hear a ‘ping’ as an urgent client request pops into your inbox from Joe Bloggs, one of your biggest clients. ‘Bother’ you say under your breath. Now you have to go look up the information requested and send it either back by email, or add it to the shared Drobox area. It only takes 30 minutes, but that is long enough for you to forget exactly where you were. Now you have to get your head back into that complex problem. It is only 2 hours later you realise that, in your hurry; you may have sent the previous version.
Back at your client’s office, Joe is pacing up and down, glaring at his watch, and muttering ‘I need that information NOW, not in 30 minutes time’. His deadline for that crucial bid is in less than 3 days, and he still needs to check the information you send him against other information he already has. ‘Argh!’ he cries as the document pops into his inbox, it doesn’t include the appendices, because he forgot to request those as well. He has no idea you sent the wrong version. Yet.
‘If only that information was in one central place that we both had access to!’ you both cry.
It is very frustrating to have to wait for a piece of crucial information when you need it. With new cloud based systems, you do not have to. You can now share information with your clients on a regular basis and benefit from having direct access to the relationship’s information via a client portal. Cloud collaboration is enabling this to be possible and organisations can create their own corporate branded, personalised spaces to work more efficiently together.
If you want to provide excellent client service, without spending all of your time doing it, read on.
What is a Client Portal?
A client portal is an electronic gateway to a shared area of documents, digital files, calendars etc. A good client portal has facilities for grouping documents together in a way that both service providers and their clients can find them easily. It will be flexible, secure and have relevant tools e.g. for task and project management.
Access to expertise when you most need it
Experts are, by their very nature, scarce. It is frustrating when they are not available to answer your crucial question at the time you need to ask it! Wouldn’t it be better to capture some of that knowledge and put it somewhere that was accessible just where and when you want it? In other words, a client portal.
Better/clearer document workflows
The great thing about using software tools is their ability to track time and tasks automatically. They improve organization and workflow efficiency. They also make information about progress available to anyone who needs to know, whether inside your organisation or as an external client. When these tools are web based, they have the added benefit of being available anywhere, anytime.
Of course, these are not the only things that you need to manage. A client portal that allows access to a wider collaboration system e.g. Glasscubes, gives you the added benefit of being able to share reports and other important client documentation securely. They enable better communication between you and your clients.
We have all had the experience of spending hours reading a document only to find that it was not the latest version. It is frustrating, time wasting and can potentially result in disastrous consequences. Having the wrong version of a document can take time to resolve at best. At worst, it could result in your client making the wrong decision (let’s hope Joe spots that he has the wrong version in time).
Having just one copy of a document in a shared area, means your client will always have access to the latest version of it.
The cost of waiting
There is little more frustrating than to have to wait to find out something. Time is money, as the saying goes. Today, in the 21st century, we have become more impatient and demanding than ever. We want information NOW, not in half an hour’s time. With our international business world too, ‘now’ may be anytime, 24/7. Many organisations know this and already have intranets where they share knowledge internally. A client portal or extranet allows this knowledge to cross your organisational boundary and benefit your clients. Now they don’t have to wait either. Moreover, your clients will only interrupt you with important queries.
The result? Your productivity will improve, as will your client satisfaction.
"We were looking for a new on-line collaboration tool that we could use with our clients and other third parties. Glasscubes was recommended to us so we embarked on an internal evaluation. Following excellent feedback from our users regarding the clear layout and functionality of the site, it was an easy decision to make to move to Glasscubes. The team provided excellent, timely telephone and email support and the technical help to move our content from our existing provider, replicating our structure in Glasscubes. Great service."
IT Training Manager, Aaron & Partners
Glasscubes is a cost effective, easy to use, and secure collaboration tool for any organisation. Find out more about how it could help create a client portal for you, call +44 (0)20 3274 2310.
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