Customer and employee experiences are two of the most potent key differentiators for any organization, no matter the industry. Yet so many companies continue to struggle with delivering in these areas; from beginning to end, firms are missing touchpoints to better engage both existing and prospective customers and employees alike.
The silver lining? There is ample opportunity to successfully embrace a more user-focused strategy, beginning with self-service tools to strengthen overall engagement. In fact, we have an eBook dedicated to this entire topic, walking through our developer’s secrets to creating a “5-Star” Service Portal.
So, what does it really take to create a 5-Star Service Portal that lowers support costs, increases efficiency and impresses stakeholders?
1. Intuitive Search
Your Service Portal houses the most critical business information that you want to surface to your internal and external customers. It also serves as your company’s personal Google. And what’s the most important part (well, only part) of Google? The search box!
Twos things you want to make sure to avoid in order to achieve an intuitive search? A jumbled category structure and confusing names for catalog items. For the sake of your customers and employees, you need to make sure to make your search is as intuitive as possible. And we happen to have five tips to help with that!
- Learn about Zing
- Search sources
- Name items accurately
- Refine search keywords
- Meta tags
Remember that your search is the number one function of your Service Portal, so dive into each of the above search tips to get it right…the first time.
2. Clear Navigation
Clear navigation can make or break any website, and the Service Portal is no exception. If your users don’t know how to accomplish what they need to do (or what you want them to do) in your portal, you’ll have a serious adoption issue. People won’t use a website if the navigation is not straightforward.
Intuitively, people read pages from top to bottom, so the order of importance of your navigation follows the same rule. Pay attention to the details, in this case; the top nav, breadcrumbs, links, and footers.
3. Relatable Call-to-Action
First off, if you’re not a marketing or website design wiz, you may be asking yourself, what is a call-to-action to begin with? A call-to-action, or CTA for short, is a message, usually in the form of a button, that invites you to take action.
Think about it, how many times a day do you scroll through a website or a portal and find messages like these:
- Get Started
- Sign up for Free
- Login or Sign in
- Add to Cart
A relatable call-to-action should always bring your portal user from point A to point B, without any “surprises” in between. A CTA’s main goal is to let a user know the next step they’ll take if they click.
So, for example, if your CTA is hard to find or the language isn’t clear and descriptive, you’re hurting your portal’s chances of conversion – and even worse, making it harder for your user to get what they need.
We asked our UX and Service Portal specialists what their top ‘rules of thumb’ are, and here is what they came up with:
- Use verbs. Active words encourage users to take action. In your portal (or any website) words like “search,” “request,” or “learn more” help your user understand the action they’ll be taking next. Because the size of portals and website pages are fixed (AKA, you don’t have a lot of real estate) your CTAs need to be short, concise, and descriptive – and that’s only possible with action words!
- Location, location, location. You want your CTA to stand out and have a presence in a place that makes the most sense.
- Size and color matter. The size and color of the page elements on your portal can drastically improve your conversion rates. Sometimes web developers talk about this in terms of something called a Blink Test. Which means: When you look at your portal, where does your eye go first? To the large print text? Maybe to a brighter, contrasting colored box? When the text and color contrast with the rest of the page, it pops out to a user.
The Service Portal is an incredible tool that will modernize your offering to your end-users. It brings the look and feel of an external site, plus allows users to submit tickets on any device, with a browser of any size (such as a mobile phone), and still look as sleek as ever.
Read a recent scenario of an Acorio Service Portal client in our Service Portal eBook.
Make your Service Portal simple – but don’t mistake the idea of simplicity to mean we recommend a minimalist design… Rather, a simple design methodology takes away the unnecessary elements of your portal (elements that serve no functional purpose), not everything altogether. Instead, compose a well-ordered, intuitive site layout.
Remember: somebody is coming to your portal for something. Don’t make that something hard to find! An overabundance of ideas, content, page copy or just other “things” can easily overwhelm a user. When a page layout is instead visually calming and straightforward, it’s not only a breath of fresh air, compared to some high frictions sites, but it’s easier to understand and use!
Using these tips, tricks, and best practices will help you either start the path to building a great portal or raise your portal up to the next level. Your Service Portal can always be elevated throughout time as well, so revisit this guide, from time to time, to help refresh your knowledge. Download the entire guide now to get started.