Portals are a well-known efficiency enhancer, but they also can help reinforce your reputation with your clients and staff. When implemented strategically, portals can improve firm branding, support client service and even increase staff morale. If you want your portals to send a positive message about your firm, here are some features to look for:
- Customizable to raise brand awareness.
Just like your firm’s letterhead brands your printed correspondence, you can use your portal to expand the reach of your firm’s brand. Uploading your logo to appear on your portal interface, and customizing your portal’s user guide and email notifications takes just a few extra clicks, which are well worth the effort. Your staff will appreciate the enhanced professionalism of branded communications.
- Responsive design to let clients choose their preferred platform.
Not all of your clients are using a desktop PC all day. Many clients (and even some of your staff!) use a variety of devices and operating systems throughout their day. If they try to access their files and are denied, the relatively minor inconvenience can put a tarnish on your client relationship. The client-facing interface for your portal needs to be responsive so that it works on any device your client may be using. A portal built using HTML5 will have the best usability across multiple browsers.
- A native app for major convenience.
Not all clients will use a native app, but research shows that the ones that do will use it consistently. If your firm doesn’t already offer an app through the iTunes App Store or Google Play, you can offer your clients the CCH Client Axcess app, which can even be branded with your firm’s logo.
- Integration with your software to maximize efficiency.
Clients need to be able to easily find their portals. Include a link a from your firm’s website to the portal login page so clients can find where they need to go, and keep returning to your site again and again. Integrating the portal with your firm’s tax and document management software will make it easier for staff to send and receive files, and integrating it with your time and billing software will make invoicing so much faster.
Not all portal software is alike. Choosing a portal affects your clients as well as your staff. To help you decide, download the Selecting a Client Portal Checklist by Brian Tankersley, CPA, CITP, of K2 Enterprises. Download Now.