When most people start looking at ERP solutions, they begin by looking for accounting solutions. As they learn more about the functionality available and the benefits of the Cloud, they start thinking about things like integrating their ERP and CRM, integrating operational systems, and anywhere, anytime access to information they need to run their business. Usually, it isn’t until they have their arms around all this that they begin to think about extending their ERP to external parties and how that can add value to customer and vendor relationships. Let’s think about how giving access to your Cloud ERP to customers through a customer portal can improve the customer experience.
First—you can provide self-service access to your customers to information they need. No waiting in queues, no need for someone to email the customer information, no need for them to contact you between 8:00am and 4:00pm Monday through Friday. Your customers can check on the status of an order or a payment or look up a payment due date on their own through self-service access to your Cloud ERP. They can look at their order history. Depending on what information you collect and give them access to, they could look up project completion status, product availability, or customer service tickets. Or they can search a knowledge base for answers to questions they may have. They can get the information they need, when they need it.
Second—you can provide customer facing, value-added analytics. You could provide industry benchmarks, averages, and trends across the company or across the industry. For example, if your company provides insurance, your homeowners insurance customers could log in to see a dashboard that shows their monthly premium compared to the average monthly premium for customers in the same geographic region with similar home prices along with discounts that other customers take advantage of. Customers who look at this might be tempted to call their agent and ask for more or different services so they could qualify for discounts. Perhaps the same dashboards shows trends in payout values, numbers of catastrophic storms in the customers’ region, and even competitive prices. Think of the value customers would get from this information as well as the added services and better customer relationships you could rack up.
Third—you can use your Cloud ERP to collaborate with your customers. If you notice that a customer is ordering very often, you may want to suggest a larger, more economical order quantity. You may want to inform your customer of additional value-added services linked to its purchase history, suggest a process improvement, or work out a payment plan. You can share documents such as marketing material, educational material, or FAQs. Your customer portal gives you a direct line to your customers and, if used correctly, they will look at it as a valuable communications and workflow channel.
Providing a customer portal is just one way to monetize your ERP and the data you collect in the course of your business. That monetization will drop to the bottom line in the form of more satisfied customers, up-sell and cross-sell opportunties, and greater efficiencies. To drive adoption, you’ll need to provide customer-driven information—not just some data you happen to have—in a secure environment. You’ll need to identify what that data is by talking to your sales force, customer service reps, and your customers themselves.
Acumatica is a Cloud-based ERP that will fit your needs and those of your customers and partners. The customer portal comes as part of the Customer Management Suite and is complete with sales, marketing, service, and reporting tools to manage the complete customer experience through your portal.
For more information about how an enterprise resource planning system can help your business, call NexVue at 203.327.0800 or email us at [email protected] or simply click here for a Contact Us form.
Click here to see a short video about Acumatica Cloud-based ERP.