Communicating with your customers happens through a number of channels. It may take some experimentation to see what your customers respond to, depending on their demographic and how they like to consume information.
With this content series, we’re diving into all the different channels of communication that merchants should utilize with their customers—including the customer portal. Unlike platforms like social media, your customer portal is critical for subscription management. It’s the place customers should be able to edit their orders, skip or swap a product, add on products, check their loyalty points, and find crucial information about their subscriptions.
With all this in mind, we’d say the customer portal is critical not only as a feature of your store, but also as a communication channel—and it can really set the tone for your relationship. Continue reading to learn more about the customer portal and how you can use it as an important communication tool, optimizing it for customer and merchant success.
- Optimizing the content of your customer portal can lead to an enhanced experience for your customers and increased customer loyalty.
- Make the most of the customer portal as a communication channel by personalizing it based on each customer, organizing content intuitively, and infusing it with your brand voice.
What is the customer portal?
Chances are, you’ve utilized a customer portal before. It’s an online portal where customers are able to manage their subscriptions. Through it, merchants can give customers the ability to:
- Adjust the frequency of their subscription
- Skip a shipment
- Edit their order
- Add on items to their next shipment
- Check their loyalty program status
- Update their billing information
- Set up mobile and email alerts
Not only is the customer portal a benefit for your subscribers, but it can also help you reduce customer support tickets and increase customer retention. Give customers full control over their subscriptions and ultimate flexibility to manage them as they need to.
So, who uses the customer portal?
Typically, when we talk about different types of brand communication, we have to identify a target audience. With the customer portal, your audience is all of your active customers.
This begs the question—do your subscribers know how to access and use their customer portal? Enabling passwordless login and reaching customers through text messaging are great ways to ensure ease of access and promote customer engagement, both with your brand and within the portal.
4 tips for optimizing communication in your customer portal, with merchant examples
1. Make the portal easy to navigate
One of the most important things to remember when creating or optimizing your customer portal is that it should be easy to navigate. There’s nothing more frustrating than not finding what you’re looking for in a customer portal, whether that’s the return policy or your order history.
Crucial to this navigation is your content. Keep your language simple and straightforward so that your subscribers can find the information they’re looking for without going on a scavenger hunt to find it.
2. Personalize the portal & highlight critical information
Offering your customers a snapshot of their subscription status when they enter the portal is a great way to inform them about relevant information right off the bat. It’s key to personalize the portal to each customer by prioritizing what they care about right up top, saving them time and energy.
Within the customer portal, consider highlighting information like:
- Greeting them by name
- Their next order date
- Their subscription order
- The cadence of their subscription
- Their rewards status or loyalty points total
More often than not, subscribers will be coming to their customer portal to check on an order or to edit their next shipment. So, having this information right there will make it easy for them to complete the actions they came in the portal to do. Plus, your customers could even benefit from a select few links of blog content from your site that would add value to their subscription experience.
3. Motivate customers to shop by showcasing your rewards program
The customer portal is the perfect place for merchants to get their subscribers excited about their loyalty program. Showcase your customer’s status within the rewards portion of the portal, as well as how many points they need to reach the next reward. You can even highlight the rewards—whether that’s a discount on their next purchase or a free gift.
This is also a great place to offer points for customer referrals, making it easy for them to share their favorite products with friends and family, directly from the portal.
Incorporating your rewards program in the customer portal will help you boost retention by motivating your subscribers to make more purchases to earn rewards or reach the next tier for a discount or gift. Plus, should you need a reason to win a customer back who’s thinking of churning—you can entice them with their loyalty points, which they can use towards their next order.
For example, Atlas Coffee Club has fun names for the different elements of their program that correlate to different points earned (number of miles traveled, journeys taken, etc.), which all fit with their brand theme. Using specific wording, iconography, images, and other elements can add an element of delight to your rewards section of the portal.
4. Use your customer portal as an extension of your brand voice
It’s meaningful and impactful to keep your branding consistent across all forms of communication. Anywhere you interact with your customers, your brand should shine through. This can help you increase brand recognition and help you form a positive association between your brand and your subscribers.
The customer portal should be no exception. Ensure you keep your brand voice, colors, and values in mind when personalizing your portal.
Personalizing the portal for optimal communication
Creating a number of clear, effective communication channels is key for any subscription business. Beyond the customer portal, it’s crucial to approach your content from a variety of different angles—including email, text messaging, blogs, and social media sites, like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok.
Every merchant can benefit from an amazing customer portal experience—putting the power of subscription management in the hands of their subscribers and encouraging increased brand loyalty with the personalization of their customer portal.