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!