As outlined in our previous article, self-service portals are becoming increasingly popular, with 60% of organisations looking to implement one over the next 12-18 months.
For many, this trend is long overdue, with the benefits of self-service technology evident, and the Service Desk Institute (SDI) reporting that nearly half of all organisations still need to improve their adoption of self-service technology in 2020.
The benefits that self-service portals offer to organisations and their stakeholders are wide-ranging, and differ depending on the nature of the business. With this in mind then, we decided to compile a summary of five key ways in which we believe self-service portals can benefit any organisation, regardless of the industry, or whether it is a customer or supplier portal.
Enhance your company experience
No matter the stakeholder group you introduce a self-service portal for, the end-result is likely to be the same, an improved experience for that group when dealing with your organisation.
This is because self-service portals allow users to perform tasks and access the information they need 24/7, meaning they are no longer constrained by response times, opening hours or their location.
This saves your users considerable time during their interactions with you, a factor that goes a long way to determining their relationship with you as 73% of customers say that the most important thing a company can do for them is value their time.
Your users’ desire to be able to access information quickly by themselves is underlined by the fact that across all industries, 81% of customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.
Inevitably though, no matter how thorough your self-service portal is, there are still going to be instances when a customer or supplier has a unique query that requires assistance from your team. As a self-service portal reduces the number of overall queries though, your team would now be able to respond quicker to these queries that really do require their input, further boosting your relationship with your customers and/or suppliers.
Better staff utilisation
As well as enabling your team to act quicker on those queries that require their expertise, a reduction in customer and supplier queries would also enable others within your organisation to spend more time working on tasks that generate real value.
This could involve your account management team, who may now have more time to focus on retaining or growing their customer base, or your Accounts Payable (AP) team, who studies show spend 15 to 20% of their time answering calls from suppliers with routine questions. Putting an end to those time-consuming calls could enable your AP team, and Finance in general, to spend more time on providing your organisation with the financial information it needs to make strategic decisions, a task that CFO.com found is only currently taking up 20% of Finance’s time in general, despite the fact it is the very reason many Finance personnel are hired in the first place.
As well as repetitive, routine enquiries damaging your organisation in terms of the time your team are able to spend working on tasks that generate real value, they can also damage you hopes of employee retention.
Monday.com found that 63% of staff feel like routine tasks prevent them from having the time to show off their best work. The introduction of a self-service portal can help to rectify this, enabling your team to not only generate more value for your organisation through their work, but also help you to avoid the considerable hiring costs that result from losing a disillusioned employee.
Payments both ways
Making and receiving payments is a key process for any organisation, so it makes sense that you would want to make it as efficient as possible for all your customers and/or suppliers.
Our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) Customer and Supplier Portals enable you to do this, by allowing your customers to make payments 24/7 and giving your suppliers the ability to upload invoices for approval, all of which can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable processes, which are critical to the success of your organisation moving forward.
Reduced service costs and ROI
For many organisations, one of the reasons they are initially drawn to self-service portals is the huge cost savings that can be made in customer and supplier transactions.
This is illustrated by the fact that the cost of a self-service interaction is measured in pennies, while the average cost of a live service interaction (phone, email or live chat) is more than £5 for a B2C company, and more than £9 for a B2B company.
These figures alone often make the ROI case for self-service portals, even before businesses start to consider the value the technology adds in terms of enhanced customer and supplier experience, better utilisation of staff and employee retention to name just a few.