6 Ways Customers Want to Use Your Client Portal to Exchange Information
If part of your business is managing personal financial information, your ‘customers’ (clients or members) want to be connected to their information in your client portal, and to the people in your organization that can answer their inquiries about it. They also want assurance that the information exchanges and communications are secure (as will your chief compliance officer and CISO).
1. Any device, anytime, anywhere:
While people still make phone calls(!) to customer service 800 numbers, there’s an increasing preference to ‘self-serve’ via connected devices – smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, smartTV even (!?!). But these are just the devices, the endpoints and windows to the user interface you provide them to access information and correspond with your customer service reps. Items 2 thru 6 get to the actual exchange of information to and from these endpoints.
2. Uploading sensitive documents to client portal:
Perhaps your customer is a consumer who is disputing a charge on their credit card statement. That person needs to send documents proving their case and those documents have personal information on them (such as the credit card number or their social security number). They might login to your client portal expecting the ability to upload these documents and send them to you securely.
3. Clicking an upload link in an email sent by your agent during a conversation on the phone.
Maybe rather than going to your client portal, they decided to call and speak to an agent. During the discussion the agent says, “I need you to send me these documents – please mail them to this address.” The customer, who wants to get this resolved quickly due to cash flow issues, says “Can’t I just email them?” Wouldn’t it be great if your agent could say, “Sure, just click on the link I just sent you in an email, upload the documents and I’ll get them securely.”?
4. Sending a message through the publicly available customer message link on your website.
Many websites provide a way on their website for customers to contact them, sometimes this is an email address, sometimes it’s a form, sometimes a chat box – whatever the form, it’s purpose is to connect the customer with you. Again, if the visitor wants to send you something sensitive, it must be a protected or secured communication.
5. By sending an email to your publicly available support email address.
Depending on your line of business, the documents attached to an inbound customer email may contain sensitive information. Sometimes your customer is not sure where to contact you and will go to your client portal to find a way. While there they might see the support email address often listed prominently on websites and will click on that to send you their info. These addresses often have the capability of attaching documents. These incoming emails also need to be secured – and – should link into your customer contact center.
6. Respond to an email sent by the agent a long time ago.
Let’s use an investment banker for this example. Your customer is one who invests their money and leaves it sit for a long time without doing anything. Periodically your investment advisor sends out emails to his customers with helpful tips – like a newsletter or keep in touch kind of email. And he always includes his email address at the end with an offer to get in touch if you need anything. At some point your customer decides to sell or move her investments, finds the old email from the advisor and responds, with sensitive investment documents attached. These emails also need to be secured.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? The question is – are you ready to accept these types of communication efforts from your client portal to your customer contact center? If there is no sensitive information involved then, sure, you probably are. But what if the documents include information like the customer’s social security number or financial account numbers? Many client portals will divert these kinds of requests to another, secure portal for the customer to use. But that makes it more complicated for the customer and more time consuming and expensive for you. Best practices are now to make these kinds of secure communications capabilities available within your existing client portal. Your customer and your agents will thank you if you do.