We’re in the business of creating cloud-based client portals. No, that’s not the title of a sci-fi movie—it’s an amazing piece of technology designed to improve the way organizations get things done. You might have heard them referred to as extranets.

“The cloud” (the term for storing and accessing data via the internet) is used by a growing number of organizations to improve efficiency and bottom lines. Thanks to the cloud, companies can easily create and grant access to private websites known as client portals. With a username and password, your customers, staff, and external partners can access different documents and information via your customized portal.

Now that we’ve provided a broad definition, let’s tackle your next question: why does your business need this technology? We’re glad you asked – here are the top benefits of client portals.

Your Personalized One-Stop-Shop

In an ideal world, you and your customers would have time to communicate directly at every step of your relationship. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist, but client portals do. These sites are all about convenience. Whether a customer is signing a contract, internal staff are viewing a quote, or external partners are giving feedback on a proposal, they’ll all have the ability to access this information in one place.

Once you’ve used a client portal, you’ll realize mail and email are disorganized in comparison to having one source of truth accessible by anyone, anywhere (as long as you grant them access). Managing different document versions is also streamlined thanks to the cloud: update the source file once and the portal will be good to go! Your employees and partners will enjoy efficiency while your customers appreciate the simplicity of doing business with you.

New Ways to Collaborate

When the information you need to share is a work-in-progress, client portals double as intuitive collaboration tools. Everyone with access can see source files and complete work with greater flexibility, especially audiences who might contribute outside your normal business hours. A portal also affords new opportunities to get customer feedback, even if there are no active projects with that particular client. Give customers access to see prototypes and drafts or take surveys and your R&D and marketing teams will have a new favorite data source.

Collaboration also becomes smoother because portals can notify you about activity like a customer opening a message or paying an invoice. You can even see when someone last logged in—a helpful tool for managing your team and any slow-moving customers. This level of visibility increases productivity (our tech, in particular, is HIPAA compliant) and your impressed customers will wonder how you’re so on top of things.

Cloud Security

Of course, when we talk about putting all of your client, partner, and employee information in a single place we must consider the issue of security. First of all, client portals utilize secure usernames and passwords (but that’s pretty much a no-brainer for IT products at this point). 

It’s probably more important for us to note that cloud-based portals are consistently updated with the latest security technology—one of the many benefits of a live, connected system. Cloud providers are able to add firewalls, SSL encryptions, virus protection, and VPN to a client portal and update these defenses to keep your information secure from hackers. While you upgrade your business, the cloud will upgrade your business’s security.

Money, Money, Money

Next, we should discuss the cost because “cloud-based client portal” sounds more expensive than it actually is. There are no initial set-up fees and no hardware or software to install. For a fixed monthly fee, a cloud provider will allow your organization to customize and use a template run through their servers. This template can be adapted with features to meet your specific needs (like those previously mentioned). Additionally, client portals can save you money by decreasing or eliminating phone bills, postage, and other recurring costs while also helping you profit by digitally accepting customer payments. How could the ROI get any better? We have one more benefit to share with you.

Brand Portals

This next one is dedicated to your marketing and sales teams. There are so many ways to digitally get the attention of potential customers, but what about those consumers already in your sales funnel? Turning a section of your client portal into a brand portal (a library of your marketing collateral) allows for three excellent benefits:

  1. Your sales team can easily share and send branded material to customers in real-time.
  2. Consumers who visit the portal can access brochures, ebooks, and other branded content for increased engagement.
  3. Your marketing team will finally have a central library to publish and manage their approved content.

Interested in using a client portal to turn your business into an efficient, organized powerhouse? Get started with a free trial of Smartfile’s cloud today – no credit card required!

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About John Hurley

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of SmartFile. My role is to find the right people and give them the right tools and resources needed to grow both professionally and personally.

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