Collaboration has always been one of WORK[etc]’s main foundations. Not just within your team, but between you and your clients as well.
That’s why we made the CRM customer portal, a branded online space where you, your clients, and your contractors can come together to collaborate on projects, clear up any support issues, and go through invoices.
This post isn’t going to dive into the nitty gritty of the customer portal, though (we’ve already done that). Instead, we’re focusing on one of the key words in the portal’s description above: “branded”.
Now, every entrepreneur has to know the importance of branding. A clear and cohesive brand gives you recognition; it sets you apart from your competition; it shows customers what to expect from you. Take this custom login screen by English Garden Group, for example. The company provides top-notch landscaping services (among others), so the background image makes total sense.
Knowing this, we figured it was imperative that we let our clients be able to stamp their own personal brands on the WORK[etc] customer portal purely for the benefit of their end customers. After all, what would a customer want to see everyday: a cookie-cutter login screen without any character or a good-looking custom screen that lets them know you mean business?
While the default tilt-shifted cityspace photo works well enough for any type of business out there, some of our users go to some lengths to find or create the exact type of branded login screen that they want their customers to see.
In this post, we’re shining the spotlight on these creative clients. You’ve already seen one above, so here are a couple more of our favorite custom WORK[etc] login screens.
Of course, not every company can get visited by the President, but you can still kit out your custom login screen with a more fitting background image. You don’t even have to be a photography or Photoshop wizard to change your login screen from the default to what is basically a work of art.
For those who want to add a little extra to their WORK[etc] login screens, here’s a short list of free stock photo sites that you can use.
Unsplash delivers 10 new, high-quality photos straight to your inbox every 10 days. If you can’t wait 10 days, the site itself has a searchable image archive.
The best thing about it is that all photos are distributed under the Creative Commons Zero license, meaning you can do whatever you want with them — even use them for commercial purposes — without having to provide attribution or ask for express permission.
Designer Jay Mantri’s website is a gold mine for anybody who needs a few free images to spruce up their projects. Most of the images on the site are landscape pieces, although there are a few artful shots of everyday objects such as vehicles. All of the photos on the site are distributed under the Creative Commons Zero license.
There’s no search function, but there is a single-page archive categorized according to month. Mantri updates the site with 7 new photos every week so if you can’t find something that you like, check back again in 7 days. You can also subscribe to a weekly newsletter to get the 7 free photos delivered to your inbox.
Snapwire is a premium site, meaning you have to pay for any stock image you want to download. Unlike other stock image sites full of bland and lifeless pictures, however, Snapwire’s collection contains images bursting with life and creativity.
Perhaps the coolest thing about Snapwire is that if you can’t find the image you want in their searchable archive, you can ask their community of photographers to shoot the exact photo that you need. You control the price, and there’s even no obligation to buy if you feel your photo brief wasn’t met.
Snapwire also has a public domain photo collection called Snapwire Snaps. This free photo Tumblr is updated with 7 free photos every 7 days. There’s also a subscribe function as well as a search box (click on the menu button — the three horizontal bars on the left side — to access it). All photos on Snapwire Snaps are distributed under the Creative Commons Zero license.
I like the one from AccsysIT. I’ve been trying to convince my boss we need a fancy login screen, but he’s being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud! Maybe if I show him that first photo from JAYMANTRI.COM he’ll change his mind.
Yeah we hadn’t considered using a custom login splash-screen. The issue is I tend to be logged in on most machines that I use (work PC and laptop) so I never actually get to see this screen! If Obama ever visits our company we will be sure to use his photo on our login screen.
Also if I mentioned it to my boss it might look like I don’t have better things to do 🙂
Thanks for the challenge. I was not aware we could customize the splash-screen until you challenged us. We had fun with this one. It’s not every day (or lifetime) that the President of the United States visits your place of work. We were and still are in complete shock. The good news is that the WORKetc Web Form we use to collect client requests for help is burning up. With requests rolling in, our New Product Development team is loving how the Web Form captures all info we need to follow up with a client.
I had not even thought about changing the login screen, but I really like these, especially the tranquil lake. I guess, I liked the “cookie-cutter login screen without any character” that comes with WORK[etc] 🙂 I can see us adding a custom login screen in the future, after seeing these.
I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to splash pages. It generally takes too much time to select something I’m happy with. It’s nice to have a place to sort through and find some high quality photos. Thanks for the suggestion, but for right now I think we will stick with the default photos you guys provide because they are fine with me!
The custom logins are great – aside from the logo to brand the entry – we’ve found a pretty cool image from Unsplash and away we go.
We could present our own imagery on the custom screen or make up a wallpaper collage – another great way to customise what our clients see when they visit our portal. Thanks Dan and the team.
Branding isn’t just about your logo… its about every interaction that a client has with your company. Every time they interact in any way with you is an opportunity to impress on them your approach to what it is you do. Its what consultants call (and will charge you much money to explain!) “the customer experience”. Choreographing this experience is often a big part of what consultants do.
Representing the feel of your company in a background image may seem simple, but at zero additional cost you would be foolish not to use it.
Well done WETC!
Great article Daniel.The CRM customer portal is very awesome and it will definitely enhance customer relationship with a business.
Been great to see people’s custom backgrounds. I know AccsysIT took their’s a stage further and created an entirely separate login page with the basic login form code embedded in their own page. I’ve done a few custom pages for customers as part of our new onboarding programme – so that it matches their existng website and colour-scheme. It can make all the difference to the customer experience. If you need any help with customising your account, do let us know on support.
We are getting ready to roll the customer portal out this summer. The timing for a customization couldn’t be better for us!
If I get a chance I’d rather be in control of promo materials. Though stock photo sites are used when budgets are evaluated or achieving a certain quality still can be done from them. Sites like iStockPhoto and PhotoDune help me out.
Pretty awesome to be able to showcase the President of the US on your splash page! Personalization allows us to feel a bit more at home with tools that have traditionally been pretty cold and bland. I love this feature. For stock photos, I think a healthy balance is good. If you don’t have the means or budget to shoot really good promo shots then your better off with stock images. Shutterstock has been my go-to in the past.
I wish there was more customization options for the actual login layout/module – but it’s nice to have the options for custom login screens. Our company is very minimalist, so simple is better. Great feature additions to WorkETC users overall!
I really appreciate the customization. Besides the image, we’ve also applied our colour scheme to the portal.
When looking for a picture, it wasn’t so easy for us to come up with one that fits a variety of screen sizes and the position of the login box – so this is still a “in progress” for us.
This is such a great option to have on the customer portal. Visualization is key in marketing your business today. This can help with that aspect. But stock photos are limited with some respects depending on what you want your brand to convey. I would like to see customization options.
Thanks for the useful material in this post Daniel. It’s pretty cool stuff that I’ve actually taken notes on. Keep up the good work! As for personal stock photos, the one we used in our business is of course the mother of them all, istockphoto.com