Digital Experience

How to Build an Engaging Customer Portal

These days in California, the rage is all about Poke, a fish salad composed of items including tuna, seaweed, and other seasonings. Everywhere you look there is a new restaurant opening up and regardless of location, there are long lines and satisfied customers out the door. The existence of this restaurant trend, similar to that of frozen yogurt several years ago, lends credence to the adage “If you build it, they will come”.

While restaurants are physical spaces built in high traffic areas, the common adage cannot be made about enterprise portals. In a noisy online world where communities are built around every single topic, it’s important that portals are built, but also maintained and expanded upon for maximum customer engagement and satisfaction.

When we build portals for our customers, we often approach with a set of best practices to guide them through the experience. Below are some of the ideas we offer in our consultations.

  1. Set Actionable Guidelines: Just as some restaurants require shoes and a shirt to enter, organizations also need to set requirements for their enterprise portal. We encourage our clients to work with their leadership to set rules around how members should conduct themselves and what qualifies as removal from the community. Above all, these guidelines should protect portal members from anything negative.
  2. Elevate the Audience: Many times, portal communities will have audience members who interact more than others and assume an unofficial thought leadership role. Raving fans are a critical part of any business and it’s important to elevate those members since people trust their peers above anything else. Elevating specifically engaged members also cuts down on some of the administrative work as well, including moderation and content creation.
  3. Create Culture: Every organization has a culture, derived from values and vision. Portal and community culture are created from the messaging provided from the administrators. A great culture will enable user retention as well as referrals from outside the community.
  4. Add Engagement Points: As with anything online these days, portals flourish best when there is a stream of content being offered to the community. One way to create engagement points is to run surveys on what the audience is looking for, and then fill that need to create maximized value.
  5. Take Relationships Offline: Ultimately, customer relationships flourish best offline. Organizations should work with their most engaged portal users through an ambassador program and set up events where other users can meet up to build relationships and offer product feedback as needed.
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In closing, communities require work and nurturing to get off the ground. While your community might not be as delicious as a Poke bowl, the experience you create for customers can be just as satisfying. Let us know what you think of these best practices below.

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Are you looking to create an engaging portal to better connect with your audience? Connect with us at sales@perficient.com to learn about our work with IBM WebSphere Portal and download our guide below to discover more portal best practices.

Learn more about our IBM practice.

Today’s organizations must be more connected to their customer than ever. As the buyer’s journey evolves, leaders must also adopt the right technologies to influence positive business outcomes. This post is a part of a series focused on helping enterprises develop the necessary strategies and best practices to better connect with their customers. Check out the other blogs in this series.  

About the Author

Albert Qian is a Marketing Manager at Perficient for our IBM PCS, DevOps, and Enterprise Solutions Partners focused on cloud computing technologies.

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