Customer Self-Service Portals: Empowering People with Knowledge and Resources

Aleksandra Tadrzak
9 min read
Mar 6, 2024
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Modern customers are tech-savvy, informed, and self-sufficient. They prefer to find solutions on their own time, using self-service options, before contacting support agents. Therefore, they expect quick and straightforward answers that do not require long phone calls or waiting for email responses.

Recent data shows that 88% of customers expect businesses to have a self-service portal, ideally one that is mobile-responsive. While customer service representatives will always be vital to the customer experience, customers now prefer to solve lower-level issues independently. To meet this expectation, businesses must provide an intuitive self-service portal that enables customers to do this.

Having good customer self-service has become a competitive necessity.

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Benefits of client portals

There are many benefits that both service providers and customers can reap from a client portal. Here are some to consider:


As a business owner, you can offer personalized and relevant information to your clients and partners. For instance, if you run a shipping company, you can inform your customers about the specific departure times of trucks or airplanes so they can place their orders accordingly. This information will be useful for them to plan their shipments.

Present customized content

Imagine receiving personalized interest rates or product offers from your bank through your mobile banking app that you may not have known about otherwise.

Connected devices

Client portals provide clients with easy access to information on multiple devices, enabling them to stay connected from anywhere.

Improved customer service

Client portals have offered a significant advantage of enabling customers to resolve their queries. This benefits those customers who prefer spending less time on the phone with their service providers. It also helps the service providers to save on labor costs.

Increased productivity

It can help access contracts, estimates, and project plans on the client portal for internal staff and customers to reduce related emails.

Reduced margin of error

When a company centralizes its information, it ensures that only the latest versions of documents with the correct branding and signatories are shared. Good content management practices significantly reduce the likelihood of incorrect documents being shared on the client portal.

Increased responsiveness

Having a client portal that is accessible round-the-clock can significantly enhance the responsiveness of your business to your clients and partners. With this feature, clients are not restricted by working hours and can transact with you outside regular business hours.


One of the most significant advantages of using client portals is their improved oversight and visibility. If you have many clients scattered across different regions and time zones, it can be challenging to keep track of everything.


Cloud-based client portals use advanced security tools such as firewalls, end-to-end encryption, and malware and virus protection to ensure the safety of your company's information.

How customer self-service portals empower users

Customer empowerment refers to the process of equipping customers with the necessary tools and resources to achieve success. Studies have shown that customers are more satisfied with a brand experience when the company tries to empower them.

Empowering customers fosters loyalty because they feel the business understands their needs and can be trusted to provide relevant information. As a result, they are more likely to return to the business for future purchases.

The human touch in self-service

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way, changing companies' operations and improving efficiency. According to data, AI will drive 95% of customer experience by 2025.

In this technology-driven environment, preserving the human touch and empathy is critical for creating strong connections and encouraging positive customer experiences. AI is most effective when firms leverage its strength in a human-centric way to provide personalized customer experiences. Companies that use AI in customer experience as a one-size-fits-all solution are likely to fail to provide customers with individualized experiences due to the impersonal use of the technology, making the customer feel like just another number.

Customers should not feel the presence of AI in their experience. They should feel as if the company has a better understanding of their needs and desires because of AI. AI is now making it possible to treat billions of customers as unique individuals for the first time.

How to use empathy

Empathy is a crucial skill required to build and maintain successful customer relationships. It means you understand and share the feelings of others. It lets you step into the customer's shoes and understand their needs and concerns.

Active listening is another essential skill that helps in developing robust customer relationships. It involves listening to the customer attentively and understanding their perspective to respond appropriately. It requires the listener to focus entirely on the speaker, avoiding distractions and interrupting only when necessary. This approach makes customers feel heard and understood, leading to greater trust and loyalty.

Why personalization matters

Having an intuitive and easy-to-navigate self-service portal is crucial to its effectiveness. Customers who struggle to find their needs may abandon the self-service customer portal and turn to live chat instead. This makes all the benefits of having a self-service portal irrelevant.

One of the main benefits of a well-designed self-service contact support portal is that it reduces customers' time searching for information, support, or submitting requests. Personalization can minimize this time by providing users with the most direct and convenient routes based on their preferences and past interactions.

Using personalization in a self-service portal can be a powerful tool. Customers can be greeted by name on their welcome screen, and the customer self-service portal can keep track of their purchase history and display relevant topics of expertise. 

This helps customers feel valued and understood by the business. Additionally, personalization allows the company to learn about any issues or problems customers may be experiencing and take the necessary steps to address them promptly.

What is user adoption?

User adoption refers to seamlessly integrating new technologies into employees' workflows, ensuring they accept and proficiently use these tools. The significance of user adoption cannot be overstated; even the most advanced technologies can fall short of their potential if users are not engaged and the onboarding process is overlooked.

Poor user adoption rates can reduce productivity, missed opportunities, and wasted resources. Conversely, high user adoption drives enhanced efficiency, improved collaboration, and elevated ROI on technology investments.

Overcoming challenges with user adaptation

While implementing user adoption strategies can yield great potential, it can also be met with challenges that hinder success. Being prepared to find answers to overcome these obstacles is crucial.

Communication and education

Consistently communicate the value and benefits of technology to address resistance. Provide real-world examples of how it enhances daily workflows and tasks.

Leadership involvement

When executives actively participate and champion the new technology, it sends a strong message of commitment that can overcome resistance.

User-centric design

Technology solutions should have user-friendly interfaces to minimize learning curves. User feedback should be incorporated to refine and simplify the interfaces.

Comprehensive training

Design training programs that address different learning styles and roles, including interactive elements and hands-on experiences.

Executive engagement

Clarify the alignment of technology with organizational goals. Emphasize how it can improve productivity and yield results.

Core components of effective portals

When you ask your customers to create a username and password, you send a strong message that you value their security and will protect their personal information. This marks the beginning of the customer onboarding process, and once they have created their account, they will have access to a personalized interface with your business. 

To make things easy for your customers, give them the option to select "remember me" so they can log back in automatically and complete the onboarding process without any hassle. Here are some other components to consider.

Signed agreements

Offering customers easy access to signed agreements and important files helps to address a common pain point. Hosting the agreements in secure customer portals encourages customers to return to your site.

Payments and billing history

Your clients should glide through first-timers or regular payments without a hitch. Slipping billing info into your customer portal smooths things out, making payments easy for your clients and showing you're all about transparency. Additionally, allowing customers to update their credit card information within the customer portal can save your customer support team valuable time by reducing the number of billing-related support tickets.

Customer support and ticket tracking

Integrating support into your client portal can offer various benefits, such as streamlining service requests, automating simple tasks, and connecting clients with the right resources. According to American Express, 60% of US customers rely on self-service software for most of their queries. With a fully stocked customer portal, you can link directly to your product's knowledge base, letting users quickly find past service tickets that tackle their issues without hassle.

Track customer onboarding

Tracking and saving onboarding progress is crucial for services requiring more client information. Clients risk losing a potential lead When they cannot save their progress. Allowing clients to conveniently return to the onboarding process can increase conversions and significantly improve customer satisfaction and experience. 

The use of progress bars with % completion is also an excellent way to remind customers that they are nearing completion of the onboarding process. By removing the customer's urgency or annoyance of taking these steps about not knowing how many more forms or questions they need to complete, you can help them start using your product with ease.

Add team members

If your client belongs to a larger team, your customer portal must allow them to add team members and colleagues. This will prevent the situation where there is one point of contact for orders and two customer service agents for requests, which can make things more complicated. By integrating teamwork into your customer portal, you can provide a better user experience for your clients.

Brand integration

Integrating your brand will help maintain the consistency of your brand image across all customer contact points. This fosters client trust by building familiarity with your brand and presenting a professional appearance. Your customer portal is likely the primary point of contact your clients have with your business, which is why it should be considered the face of your organization.

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Customer service has changed. It's all about giving customers the power to help themselves with self-service portals. But as AI continues to evolve, we can't forget the natural, human connections customers crave and deserve in their interactions. AI thrives when it taps into the human element, making sure that customers don't just feel like numbers but are truly heard and appreciated. 

Weaving in a bit of heart, keeping your ears wide open, and talking straight makes all the difference when working with folks daily. It's what glues strong bonds and sparks those good vibes customers talk about.