Following on from yesterday’s performance announcement, available right now, across all plans will be upgraded to the new Customer Portal.
The Customer Portal is a key feature of WORK[etc], enabling you to promote a branded, online space where your team and your customers, contractors or suppliers can all collaborate on projects, work through support issues and view and pay your invoices.
We literally threw out all the code from the old portal to build this new release from the ground up. The downside of this approach was the release took twice as long as I’d planned, but the upsides more than make up for the delay:
- improved performance from re-engineering the entire code base
- better customization options to brand the portal as your own
- a more current design and layout, closer to in style to the latest Windows 8/ios7 apps.
- new features and improved functionality
Many ideas for this release we’re sourced directly from our customer-driven, Feature Suggestion community, with development then taking a full 5 months of design, coding and testing as well as a further 9 weeks of beta testing from our incredible Insider’s Community.
Customer Self Service Portal – What is new?
Brand New Design, Customize the Look and Feel
As you can see from the new log-in screen we now allow you to customize more of the look and feel behind the portal.
The most striking change is the ability to set a background image behind the login screen. Your WORK[etc] account comes with the choice of five pictures we’ve hand picked and the option to upload your own background picture.
The Customer Portal is the first WORK[etc] tool to be painted with our 2014 user-interface “refresh” – bringing a iOS7 and Windows 8/”Metro” inspired design and layout across all of WORK[etc]. Please note that WORK[etc], the actual web application, will have a different design overall to the new Customer Portal – more on that soon.
New Feature: Preview Portal As Your Customer Would
This new feature temporarily cloaks your identity, allowing you to experience the Customer Portal just as your customer would. So, once you have set up branding and decided what activities you wish to share with your customer, you simply click the “Preview As Your Customer” button. The Customer Portal will then load in a new browser and be viewable exactly how this specific customer will see it.
This is a great peace-of-mind tool that gives you confidence that everything is working and looking professional before you invite your customer to join you.
New Feature: Web Forms & Knowledge-base inside the Customer Portal
WORK[etc]’s advanced web form tool has been expanded to allow you to not only make available web forms right inside of the Customer Portal but also to choose what forms will be available to which customers.
For example, Acme, a digital marketing firm sells to their customers a bronze, silver and gold monthly subscription package. To instantly identify which customers have purchased what tier of service, Acme has their staff apply a bronze, silver and gold labelled “tag” to each customer. Now when Acme wins a new customer, each customer is sent a web form questionnaire to get them up and running. To (automatically!) ensure each customer has access to the correct form, Acme simply creates a web form for each of the three tiers and then applies the logic: Publish Form on Customer Portal For all Customers with this Tag.
We’re also using the same approach to publish knowledge base articles inside of the Customer Portal. Once you have written a new article you can choose to make that article available to all your contacts, to only the contacts you manually select or to contacts that have a certain tag applied.
New Feature: Allow Your Customer To Change Support Ticket Category
If your customers are lodging support tickets via your Customer Portal, you can now also give them permission to set a Support Category.
For example, Acme is an IT Managed Service Provider that helps other small businesses keep their IT systems up and running. When Acme’s customer lodges a support ticket through the Customer Portal, that customer can now assign a category such as “Server Support”, “Billing Enquiry” or “Virus Issues”. This helps the support team at Acme immediately assign and prioritise tickets to each of their on-duty support agents.
New Feature: Allow Your Customer To Choose Who Receives Their Support Request
When a customer submits a new support ticket from inside the Customer Portal, you can give them the option of choosing who they want this new ticket to be assigned to. That ticket then bypasses the “Unassigned Support Queue” and becomes automatically assigned to the selected agent.
New Feature: Assign Tasks With Your Customer
You can now turn on permission to allow your customer to assign you tasks as part of a project, as well directly assign your customer tasks.
For example, Acme is a Management Consultancy firm. In order to complete a business plan project for their client they need to first understand where that business has come. Once the Business Plan project has been created in WORK[etc], the project manager can then simply assign the client a task to collect the relevant reports they require. Now, once the Business Plan has been completed, the end-client can then set the Acme team a number of tasks to refine and format the final document.
The benefit of using the Customer Portal to manage projects with clients is that it keeps the email volume down and consolidates all information into the single, managed online work space. And of course, if you are still receiving email updates from your customer, you can always use the Outlook Add-in or Gmail Gadget to simply attach to that client or project.
Available Right Now
All eligible accounts have, just now, had their account upgraded to the new Customer Portal. This means all Legacy Plans and our Team, Foundation and Enterprise Plans. Unfortunately we’re just not able to make this available on the Starter Plan.
Over the next few months we’ll be pushing more new features into the Customer Portal, including more payment gateways for invoicing, the launch of a contractor portal (including timesheets) and e-signature integration for client project and quote approvals.
To find out more detail on how to set up the new portal, please see this User Guide Topic or contact our support team for hand’s on help.
Oh and if you love this release, please tell us in the comments below!
This is brilliant stuff, thanks so much!
It does not appear the colour scheme changes are applied on my customer portal login screen. I want links/buttons to use my brands red colouring, but they remain different shades of blue.
Paul – you control this in your settings under customer portal near the end of the page.
Dan – great stuff. I love the new design and look and feel. I customized our portal with our reds and golds and it looks great. A couple of things that I have already reported but – this is a fantastic upgrade.
Got some great features and functionality but I’m having some issues with permissions at the individual customer level. I’ve put in a support report.
Michael – I have changed all the colours in Settings > Control Panel, but there are a few links that these styles do not apply too.
It would be nice if the green/blue ‘Sign in’ button and the blue ‘user-guide’ and ‘free training’ links used the custom colours too.
This is me being really picky over what is essentially a great update!
Also the ‘Forgot your password?’ and ‘Register here’ links
I love this new feature from Work Etc. You guys are like a fine wine! You keep getting better with age! I am very fond of the ability to preview the portal as that client! What a headache saver that will be!
I.Love.It. This is perfect. I am going to start bragging about my client portal and how this makes me different (and better) than other law firms in my area. Amazing. Good job, WORK[etc]. I am a fan for life.
Really love this for customers. Would love to see a partner/reseller portal which allowed the registration and display of leads and opportunities. Now that would REALLY make my life easy 🙂
The enhanced customer portal gives us the potential to provide crazy levels of customer service. We are in the consulting business and engage in long-term projects with our clients that involve lots of communication, coordination, invoicing, and project management. The potential of the customer portal is so unique and enormous that our team can not yet even grasp what it can do for us. We will work our way into it and will let you know how it goes.
Bravo – this will allow me to offer great levels of service and communication with customers and work more effectively on projects with Contractors/Associates. Keep up the great work team!
Thanks for the great feedback. We’ve got the new CP active on our admin account too of course, so you can view your own recent Support Tickets or progress of Consulting.I’ve had great feedback from customers of my own business too – all very encouraging to hear. Be interested in any suggestions as to how we can help you make the most use of this in your business and to develop your own customer relationships.
Thanks!! this is grate tool to enhance customer satisfaction, congratulations!
We are really excited to get started with the customer portal. Our customers are very busy and the ability to share information via the portal, as well as to allow clients to log in and follow up at their leisure , will be such a tremendous asset. Our clients are very busy and it will be a huge time saver as well as a great way to increase our efficiency.
This is such a fantastic update! I am really looking forward to seeing this redesign on the company side of the platform. It gives such a clean feeling that I feel employees (and myself) would be driven to spend more time in the app if this is how we saw our dashboard!
A real whopper of an update, we are starting to look at his now and I think some of clients we work closest with are going to be very interested.
The new customer portal looks great. I like the ability to see the portal as a customer would. It will minimize that situation where a client says, “it doesn’t look or work that way for me”. I can now test how things look and work before giving the client instructions.
This is such a unique feature that I’ll need to think it through with my team to discover all of the ways we can make use of it.
“It will minimize that situation where a client says, “it doesn’t look or work that way for me”
This was the exact issue I wanted to solve – one of those tiny little features that just has such a huge impact. And of course just the ‘piece of mind” of being able to quickly check what your customer can actually view!
The customer portal is great however one of the main features that we use it for is project tracking and everybody number one request on that front visability of the Gannt chart view. Is this on the road map?
Looks good! Although we are not currently using the customer portal feature, improvements like these really encourage us to test the water. Thanks for all of the improvements and hard work!
We are not currently using this functionality, however, it might be time to give it a go.
I think this is cool. Although I’m most of the time interacting with my customers through email and in my online training solution I see the benefits of standardising the customer interaction. It gives senior customers a feeling they are in charge.
Only concern I have is whether the logging in procedure is cumbersome for customers or not. They need to log in once and through a simple shortcut or link in their browser they need to stay logged in. Otherwise my senior customers won’t use it.
Just one click from their outlook or gmail and whamm they see their invoices and their projects. That’s what they need.
Also logging in through google and facebook or linkedin sync will trigger them to try the portal. If they need to remember another set of password and user name, they won’t bite. I understand security can be an issue. Their invoices are there.
I like the examples how businesses are using it. I have an online training and coaching business and I work on interesting consultancy and investment projects. I have to think about how a training and coaching business can use the portal.
I think showing how you can use the portal in different businesses can help promote the portal.
First thoughts: you need a communication plan for your customers first. What services and information do you need to give then. Then, after thinking this through you can implement it via the portal. That’s my take on it for now.
Will let you know how it goes.
Many times, our customers have questions about using the portal, and we have no idea what they are seeing. Being able to see the portal as a customer sees it will be very helpful.
This looks pretty nice, I’ll have to check this out.
I love that our customers can check up on the work we are doing for them. I would like to see more restrictions so what they can and cannot see. But all in all great idea lets us spend more time working on projects instead of giving updates.
I agree that impersonating the client view is vital, as often there are parts of the process that they either aren’t interested in, or shouldn’t have access to see.
Otherwise I think this is going to be of use to our customers as it provides them with more transparency in their dealings with us and also confirms that we are providing value for money!
This it will definitely save time for our support team, not having to interact with the client who can see the progress of their project directly.
All of our employees are made available to any given customer upon request. It’s a standard of business. The new feature allowing them to select which employee’s support they receive is awesome. Building rapport and providing availability to our customers is very important. Well done gentlemen.