Skip to content

6 benefits of proactive communication in customer portals

It’s essential to look at the customer experience not just in terms of the appointment itself, but as a whole. That’s where proactive customer communication comes in.

Man using phone to access customer portal

When does a field service appointment start? Some would say the answer is “when the technician arrives,” but many of the most important touchpoints happen before then. 

It’s essential to look at the customer experience not just in terms of the appointment itself, but as a whole. That’s where proactive customer communication comes in.

In short, proactive customer communication means providing information to customers without waiting for them to ask for it. Thanks to the high bar set by companies like Uber and Amazon, it’s now an expected part of delivering a positive customer experience — which means it’s necessary for field service retention. 

Here, we’ll explore what customer portals can help your business achieve, as well as which information you should proactively share with customers.


Six customer portal benefits

While there are many ways to engage with your customers before an appointment (e.g. automated notifications), client portals are a vital part of the equation. Here are six key benefits of using web portals and app-based portals to enable proactive customer communication:

  1. Self-service opportunities. Customers want ways to help themselves. In fact, 81% of customers will look to solve an issue on their own before reaching out to a customer service agent. Additionally, as very few field service call centres are open 24/7, self-service options allow customers to find answers on their own schedule.

  2. Personalisation opportunities. With a customer portal, all information from previous appointments — such as model numbers, warranties, and date of last service — can be stored in one place and used to curate a personalised customer experience.

  3. Reduced inbound call volume. When customers can easily find their appointment details and make changes on their own, they’re less likely to get in touch with the call centre. With fewer inbound calls, your agents have more time and resources to address more complex issues.

  4. Better communication. Customer portals provide opportunities for easy communication between customers and technicians, which makes for a smoother appointment experience. Rather than relying on the call centre to relay information about delays or access instructions, both parties can communicate with one another via the portal. This can reduce no-access appointments and increase first-time fix rates.

  5. Happier customers. A portal that offers visibility, transparency, and personalisation can increase customer satisfaction and help you build brand loyalty. Happy customers translate to higher customer lifetime value (CLV), not to mention positive reviews, which can win you more business.

  6. Cost savings. While setting up a portal does have some associated costs, the cost savings of fewer calls coming into the call centre, fewer no-access appointments, and improved first-time fix rates can more than compensate.

What information should you provide in a customer portal?

The more information you provide to your customers, the more supported they’ll feel — and the happier they’ll be with their overall experience. In general, field service portals should give customers easy access to the following information and features:

  • Real-time appointment confirmations scheduling, rescheduling, and cancellation. Give your customers the ability to view and make changes to their appointments. For same-day changes, ensure that the assigned technicians are notified in real time. This saves time for everyone by reducing missed/no-access appointments.

  • Appointment details. In addition to basics like date and time, include the reason for the appointment and any specific services you expect to provide. Depending on the appointment type, you may also want to provide instructions on how to prepare (e.g. clearing the area around a leaky pipe).

  • Real-time operative tracking. 4-hour appointment windows are a thing of the past — ideally, your operative tracking information should update at least every 15 minutes. Let your customers know their place in the queue and their operative’s estimated time of arrival. 

  • Operative details. Show customers their operative’s photo, licence plate number, and ID so they can verify who’s coming to their door.

  • Chat and other communication options. Allow customers to  communicate directly with their operative via two-way chat that anonymises their phone number. Provide clear instructions for contacting customer service should they need additional assistance.

  • Feedback. Housing appointment details and appointment feedback in the same portal provides a consistent brand experience for customers and makes it easier for your business to keep track of KPIs.

How can Localz help?

Customer portals bring a lot to the table for customers and operations alike, from reduced inbound call volume to higher customer satisfaction and beyond. If you’re ready to achieve the six benefits we discussed here, Localz is the partner for you

To create and customise your white-labelled customer portal, you can mix and match our out-of-the-box applications, or integrate select modules into your own customer app via software development toolkits (SDKs). No matter how you choose to build your portal, we’re here to support your success throughout the setup and integration process.

Localz customer engagement solutions for the last mile of field service