What do non-profit and community-based organizations, local businesses, and e-commerce businesses all have in common? They can all benefit from creating a branded membership website. While non-profit and other community-based organizations are more commonly associated with having membership websites or web portals, there are a number of reasons why any business might choose to create one.
Benefits of Customer Portal Websites
Keep Customers Engaged
While there are many things you can do to keep customers engaged on a “regular” website and across your online presence, a customer experience portal can increase engagement even further. By creating interactive experiences for users, organizations can keep them more fully engaged, and for longer.
Personalize User Experiences
Because a portal membership typically requires specific login information for access, it should provide a relatively personalized user experience by default. A customer portal should be further customizable for each user, at least to some degree, allowing the user to make their experience even more personal.
Instead of sending news, reminders, updates, etc. through the many online platforms your organization may use (or in addition to), a customer experience portal helps to streamline communication across the organization and its members. Your customers can rest assured that they are receiving the latest and most accurate information when they access your web portal.
A customer portal allows users to store and access secure data related to their involvement in the organization in a centralized and secure location. If there are required monthly dues, payments can often be made through a secure portal, and set up to occur automatically for an added convenience.
These types of membership portals can easily be integrated with many of the popular social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. This allows your customers to see what is happening throughout the entire member community with regards to the organization, as well as providing opportunities to connect with other members.
Key Features of a Customer Portal
For a customer portal to be as efficient and engaging as possible, the following features are recommended:
- Access to interactive forums, discussion boards and news feeds.
- User role permissions and restrictions.
- Ability to create group-based content.
- Built on a flexible/customizable CMS.
- Secure access to and storage of data.
Creating Experience-Driven Web Portals
At CommonPlaces, Interactive we use open source technology to build robust and socially interactive portal platforms that help organizations accomplish their membership goals. We work with nonprofits, groups, associations, and social networks to help them grow their membership by creating highly customizable membership. We believe that when done well, digital portal development effectively empowers users to harness the potential of content and data, helping them to better connect people, processes, and information.
As an example, we recently built a custom online customer experience application for the Cool Block program. The membership portal solution was built in Drupal using an Agile Development methodology, and allows block members to communicate and collaborate more efficiently to achieve a greater livability on their block. The application is also mobile-friendly, making the web portal easy to access from anywhere, at any time.
Working with a Digital Agency
As with every web development project at CommonPlaces, the Cool Block program application was fully customized from beginning to end. As a digital agency, we specialize in providing unique and efficient solutions to our clients at all times.
We focus on building custom solutions for clients using a variety of Content Management Systems (CMS) to get the job done.
As far as interactive experiences go, we strive to keep users engaged through the use of forums and comments boards. We can also provide restricted role and group-based content using a number of different access restriction methods.