Self-service portals are continually growing in popularity, with 60% of businesses expected to implement one within the next 12-18 months.
If you are new to the technology, it can be difficult to gain a complete picture of why so many organisations are rushing to implement one, whether it be for their customers, suppliers or another group of stakeholders.
To mark the release of our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP Customer & Supplier Portals then, we have compiled a list of the key reasons why so many organisations view self-service portals as an important part of their business moving forward.
For many organisations, the biggest benefit of a self-service portal to them is cost-savings. This is because it enables their customers and/or suppliers to manage their own account, meaning they are able to access and make changes to their details themselves (subject to approval), significantly reducing the workload for internal teams.
Through a customer portal, this means your customers would be able to make changes to their own account details and view their invoices and transactions, significantly reducing your customer service and Accounts Receivable (AR) costs. In fact, a study by Forrester found that the average cost per customer contact through a customer service representative was at least £4.68, while through a self-service portal it was at most 8p.
Our Customer Portal also comes with the added benefit of enabling you to accept online customer payments, which are automatically matched to the corresponding invoice within your Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP system, saving you even more internal time and costs.
From a supplier portal perspective, the cost-savings can also be significant, with your suppliers able to upload and view their own invoices, as well as change their own account details without relying on your Accounts Payable (AP) or Account Management team. Furthermore, suppliers can also check the status of their invoices and your next payment date, helping to put an end to the time-consuming practice of them chasing your AP team for a payment update, a scenario that 90% of AP staff state happens regularly.
Customers & suppliers expect the functionality
As well as the huge cost-saving benefits that are available to you through self-service portals, it is also important to recognise that the technology benefits your customers and suppliers. In fact, 70% of customers now expect organisations to have a self-service application on their website.
This appetite for self-service technology is primarily driven by a desire for speed, with 75% of customers stating that a fast response time is the most important attribute of their experience with an organisation.
Customers and suppliers are becoming increasingly accustomed to being able to access the information they need instantly, meaning that the standard response time of 1-2 working days is no longer acceptable.
They boost internal job satisfaction
It is not only your customers and suppliers that don’t enjoy having to contact you to access and update their own account, but also your team who have to carry out these repetitive tasks for them.
In fact, 63% of finance staff feel like they are missing the opportunity to show off their best work because of repetitive tasks such as uploading invoices, providing account information and changing account details, all of which could be handled through a self-service portal.
The benefit of a self-service portal to your organisation is further emphasised when you consider the indirect cost-savings of retaining staff because of increased job satisfaction.
They can increase your website traffic
There are many reasons why embedding your self-service portal in to your company website makes sense, not least because it is what is expected.
By making your company website the place to go for your self-service portal, you are adding another source of regular visitors to your website, helping to ensure more users are consistently exposed to the messages and offers on your website. This can help to increase revenue, and again indirectly add to the benefit of your self-service portal to your organisation.
We make the embedding easy to do through our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP Customer & Supplier Portal by ensuring you are able to customise your portal to meet your own branding guidelines, and integrate it in to your website, as standard.
They improve communication
Having a single area which all your customers and/or suppliers can access has many benefits, especially when it comes to communication.
Through self-service portals, such as our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP Customer & Supplier Portals, you can display notices to all of your users, ideal for not only communicating information such as next payment dates to help prevent suppliers chasing your AP staff , but also for communicating business critical information during major events, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.
A self-service portal gives you another channel to help increase communication between you and your customers and/or suppliers.
Shared consistent data view
When selecting any new piece of technology for your organisation it is always important to consider how it will integrate with your existing systems.
Self-service portals are no different, which is why we designed our portals to specifically integrate with the Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP system. This helps to ensure your team and customers/suppliers both have a shared consistent view of the data that is relevant to them, helping to reduce the amount of unnecessary queries that arise as a result of different views of data, saving everyone time and boosting the overall experience for your customers and suppliers.
This integration also helps to ensure that when your customers and/or suppliers perform actions through the portal, such as customers making payments, their action of clearing an invoice can be reported back to them almost instantly, making it a truly self-service experience.
Receive payments easier
Most organisations rely on receiving payments from customers, so it makes sense you would want to make this process as easy as possible for them.
Our Customer Portal does this by enabling your customers to make online payments 24/7, while also giving them the flexibility to pay a proportion of an invoice. There is also the ability for you to accept anonymous payments through the use of a customer number, ideal for universities who are likely to have students’ parents wanting to make payments
The first step on the automation journey
For some organisations, a self-service portal is just the first piece of the jigsaw when it comes to redesigning their business processes.
Invoice processing is one process that can begin to be transformed through the use of a self-service portal, with our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP Supplier Portal enabling you to accept supplier invoices ready for registration. Our Unit4 Business World (Agresso) ERP Invoice Automation solution then offers you the ability to take this one step further by enabling you to automatically capture the data from the invoice, helping to put an end to the costly and time-consuming practice of manual invoice processing.