02 / 09 / 2019

Do you really need a new self-service portal?

Does your self-service portal need replacing? How do you make the best decision for the organisation and customers alike? Find out now!

As the landscape of technology is ever-evolving, it goes without saying that platforms and providers can become stagnant at an even faster rate than ever before. When colleagues, tenants or other third parties come to you with concerns about your current self-service portal, you’ll need to assess if it isn’t working, requires upgrades or needs replacing.

Do you stick with what you’ve got? Iterate to improve what you already have? Or replace it with something new? For each instance, you’ll have to identify the root cause of the issue. But how do you make the best decision for both your organisation and your customers?

Stick with your current portal

Keeping your current portal may seem like the easiest option, however, it’s not necessarily the right one for your users. You need to look into how your portal is performing, for example, what are the stats on user interaction? Is it contributing to wider channel shift objectives? Importantly, can you even monitor these types of statistics with your current provider?

If you find that the uptake is poor, you’ll want to know why - it may be worth taking part in user groups and surveys to assess what your users think of the portal and understand the potential issues with it. Can your users easily find and access your portal?

You may find that it’s not being used due to a lack of promotion; in which case some solutions may be to hold tutorial sessions for your tenants, increase activity on social channels to boost awareness, or publish step-by-step guides and blogs on how to use the portal and demonstrate the key user benefits to encourage engagement.

Through monitoring key aspects and analysing user feedback, it might become clear that there are deeper issues within the portal that can’t be ignored. Decide how much of a blocker the problem is, and is it something that will impact tenants? This will allow you to weigh up how important and necessary it is for you to solve the issue. Which leads you to the next solution: what upgrades can you make to your current portal in order to ensure it is fit for purpose?

Iterate to improve

There may be some quick wins that will allow you to make your existing offering suitable through various iterations and upgrades. Through user feedback and audits you can identify the key issues that may be preventing your users from making the most out of your portal and discuss with your current provider what can be done to solve these problems.

For example, if you find tenants dislike the interface or find it too complex to use, are there key features that can be implemented to help guide or simplify the user journey? Are there enough accessibility integrations that will ensure people with mixed abilities can easily use it? Or perhaps it has a slow load time and there are software upgrades that can fix this.

However, these iterations will rely on your current provider and their capabilities to provide these solutions. Whilst some issues may be quick fixes, there may also be more significant matters raised that will take considerable time and money to solve. Consequently, you’ll need to ask yourself if such an investment is worthwhile, or whether it makes more business sense to look at an entirely new platform that will better meet your tenant’s needs.

Replace with something new

In many cases, inherited or legacy portals are simply not fit for purpose and cannot be iterated enough to meet today’s standard of service, so it becomes necessary to procure a new one. This is a great opportunity to take the learnings you’ve found from your current portal, and ensure that your next selection provides the operability and functionality needed. Though the procurement process can take time, it gives you the chance to reassess what both you and your tenants want from a portal.

Ultimately, your self-service portal is the backbone of your tenants experience with you, meaning it has to offer everything they need for a seamless, valuable interaction. If you provide a portal that has genuine worth to them, it will have a wider impact across your entire business: improving customer relations, streamlining internal processes, reducing call centre volume, assisting in meeting wider channel objectives and more.

For an essential guide to self-service portal procurement, you can download The IT Buyers Checklist, which will ensure you’re aware of everything you need to know to make the best possible selection for your organisation.

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