If you're considering a switch from Salesforce to Microsoft, you probably have some questions. For instance, what should you consider from a business planning perspective to ensure your transition is as hassle free as possible?
Thinking about a CRM portal or wondering how you can update your current portal to be mobile-responsive? In today's blog, we'll define what a CRM portal is, why making it mobile-responsive is important, and see examples of how mobile-responsive CRM portals are deployed in the real world. But first, let's go over a couple of definitions and answers to some common questions regarding portals.
What is a CRM portal?
A CRM portal is a central hub for providing access to information that is stored in your organization's CRM, without actually giving the user access to CRM. It can provide customers, vendors, and partners an easy-to-use web interface that syncs directly with the information in your CRM, in real time.
What does "mobile-responsive" mean?
Mobile-responsive means that anybody accessing the portal on a mobile device such as a tablet or a smartphone, has an experience that is designed to fit that particular device. So, a mobile-responsive portal is one that no matter the device, scales to an appropriate size for the device. It also means you only have to build one portal, as opposed to building a special version just for mobile as might have been done in the past.
Aren't CRM portals automatically mobile-responsive?
Not all portals were built to be mobile-responsive. Be sure to pick a platform or let your developer team know that is your intent. A good software vendor would advise you on their suite of tools and their mobile-ready options. For example, PowerObjects recommends all new investments in portals to be mobile-responsive.
Why is mobile-responsive so important for my CRM portal?
When users of your portal interact with your brand online, they are likely doing it via mobile device over half of the time. It's important to show that your organization cares about user productivity on any device anywhere. That's why you create a portal in the first place--to help people do more with your organization anytime, anywhere.
Picture your customer. Let's say that estimated 50% of them use a smartphone or tablet. Do those customers, partners, external sellers or stakeholders ever come up to look for your brand or product online?
Chances are they might be using popular search engine Google, which has already down-ranked sites that are not mobile-responsive. Microsoft's Bing isn't far behind—it started highlighting mobile websites that are mobile friendly earlier this year.
What do search engines and their visitors have to do with my CRM portal?
First, CRM portals have pages that are public, such as a login or registration page. If you have a knowledge base or community forum, those could be public too. Each one of those acts as an index-able page for search engines, that's why it's important even those are immediately mobile ready.
Even if your CRM portal is more private, you can make some of the top level core elements visible in the menu, such as My Account, My Incidents or Orders. This allows users to see that those pages exist, but require a login to access. A user and a search engine computer will both welcome seeing these links.
Second, many users search on their phones via personal digital assistants like Siri, Cortana or Google Now. Those assistants, while smart and very cool, also rely on basic web search engines to fetch data. You want to be part of the returned searches, and only the top (as we learned mobile ready) responses get called out.
What are the downsides if my CRM portal is not mobile-responsive?
1. Your competitor might show up first! The best mobile-responsive result wins.
2. Other online forums and other websites that might have competitor info, or an external community discussing or reviewing your brand product or service.
3. You are no longer the top and first impression your mobile users or prospects have.
Since most service seekers do their own search online [Google Trends, 2013] before connecting with our brands, we might be losing opportunities that never come back around to our brand entirely. They may get distracted by other brands or simply diverted into other online communities and affected what they see there.
Benefits of controlling your own mobile-responsive CRM portal experience:
1. Control your brand experience for today's demanding educated customer.
2. Demonstrate that your company is ready to serve via any device ahead of purchase relationship.
3. Reap the rewards of accelerating business that portals gains to business in first place.
Let's take a look at a few example business scenarios when using CRM Portals benefits from mobile-responsive capability.
Customer Point of View: Finding a Knowledge Base
Evolution: Let's say a customer's preference self-service—they want to find answers themselves before asking for help via chat or voice channels. The easier customers can find answers, the greater their satisfaction.
Bottom line: Deflection from a costlier service channel or losing a customer by not catering to an evolving consumer customer care preferences.
Business User Point of View: Searching for a New Vendor
Evolution: Today's business decision makers research independently and invite you into a process in much later stages than before. If a business user can find your vendor portal in a search for your brand, they will be relieved to see that doing business with your organization will be easy, even on the go. Vendors that are easier to work with get more channel mindshare from distributors' sales teams.
Bottom line: Reduced effort and easy of doing business has tangible returns on investment.
Customer: Move Along in a Process
Evolution: Equipping a process like application or claim filing with portal is an excellent first step. Notifying customer via email or SMS is a great second step. Providing a method to review and move the process along for those customers right from their mobile device via CRM portal is the most natural as users already has the device in hand.
Bottom line: Increase the speed your customer can get back to you on their device of the moment, without resorting to getting back to my PC to do it later. Think of the number of applications or processes that can be moved along quicker each week.
Two Follow-up Next Steps
Find out more about how a CRM Portal from PowerObjects can benefit your business—check out our recorded Webinar "What can CRM Portal do for my business?" In it you will see examples of mobile-responsive CRM portals we offer in action.
You can learn more about your options on our CRM Portals page, including plug-n-play platforms, custom developed portals and add-ons such as PowerWebForm and PowerSurveyPlus. All of our technology options are Mobile-responsive enabled to serve needs of your demanding and evolving user base today. We encourage you to request a personalized demo of any of our offerings.