For years, the tailored customer experience and customer portals have become the new normal for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) industries and has allowed companies who employ it to gain a competitive edge. While Business-to-Business (B2B) merchants have yet to leverage the customer experience the way B2C does, they are quickly recognizing that doing so can make their business more lucrative and provide them with an advantage over their opposition.
By 2020, Forrester Research expects the U.S. B2B eCommerce market to be worth $1.1 trillion, or twice the size of the U.S. B2C market. While B2B companies aren’t typically using online shopping carts with their customers, they do provide a secure customer portal that reflects the B2C idea of making interactions personal.
This year alone, 70% of B2B merchants will offer personalized features for customers and Gartner predicts B2B companies with effective customization will outsell competitors by 30%.
Customer Portals & Implementation
For B2B companies, thinking like a B2C marketer can help drive growth. And although it seems like a daunting task, implementing customer portals can set up a business for long-term success. There are many partners that specialize in helping companies build an effective customer portal. One such company, Bill & Pay, has been working in the B2B arena for years and has seen firsthand the need for portal implementation and the success that comes when corporations include this element into their client relationship.
“Merchants have been telling us for years, that using a customer portal has been a game changer. The portal speeds up payments, boosts cash flow and improves their image in their customers’ eyes,” says Pam Medvec, President at Bill & Pay. “Now merchants have more time to focus on running their business and spend less time answering customer calls about their invoices and payments.”
Merchants are not the only ones who see advantages by utilizing the customer portal. “Giving customers access to account history and the ability to pay online – anywhere, anytime – is not only common, but it’s becoming an expectation. We know merchants are proud of the goods and services they sell, and that level of service should be reflected throughout the payment process with a customer portal,” states Medvec.
Customer Portals Benefit Everyone Involved
The importance of customer portals are essential for both merchants and clients alike. Here’s how a customer portal helps both parties:
- Save time with no more calling for statements, resending invoices or verifying payments
- Sync to customer accounting software to provide real-time data
- Tech-savvy, white-labeled portal improves the customer experience
- Meet PCI compliance standards by employing a customer portal
- Improve retention and lead generation though portal marketing messages
- View account history – invoices, payments and credit memos – in real time, 24/7
- Make easy and timely online payments
- Pay more than one invoice at a time
- Set up recurring payments within the portal
- Easy accessibility to the portal – via an email, mailed invoice or website
- Control of your account information for both security and validation of activity
Find Out How You Can Start Building Your Customer Portal Today!
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