Self-service portals are a great asset for manufacturers, engineering companies and alike for improving their customer service and thus increasing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Typically, portals are used for providing a dedicated online channel for customers to access documentation and product information, as well as directly contact the supplier’s customer support.
But there are even more ways that portals can help improving companies’ business. Tuning up portal content so that it encourages users to buy additional or completely new products and services from a supplier is one.
Here are a few tips for tuning up portal content with product and service promotion in mind.
Link to product information in relevant documentation
Does your product have features that need add-ons to enable or boost their performance? Are there additional services you can offer? Or are there spare parts that your users may need to fix a certain issue? In either situation, it certainly makes sense to ensure that such information is in place in any related documentation.
And why not add direct links to your product catalog, too? Or create wikis that bring together links to many sources quite naturally?
Remember, your customers are most likely to buy a product or service when they need it most urgently. When we turn to documentation, that tends to be the case – especially, considering the inherent reluctance that many of us share to open a manual unless it is not absolutely necessary.
Emphasize information on relevant products in portal search results
As we have discussed before, search has become the central functionality in many a self-service portal. And what matters in the search application itself is that the search settings and results listing criteria can be adjusted so that users’ needs are met in the context they use the portal – like in the Documill Discovery application.
So, why not consider adjusting the results listing of your search so that it information on relevant products and services is added – even suitably emphasized – in the results listing? Those products can be, for example, the newest ones or, obviously, spare parts related to the search topic.
Place information on new products on the portal’s front page
We have a natural interest in about things new – often even when they do not have immediate relevance to us. Thus, quick access to information about anything new you offer has a good chance to be appreciated by your customers.
Users are used to promotions on new products or special offers on consumer portals, and the same thing can also work on a professional self-service portal. You can place teasers on your new products and services on the front page of your portal. You can also dedicate a specific section for them. Either way, there is a chance for you to generate a nice increase in the sales.
Just ensure that the product promotions won’t get in the way of your customers when they come to visit the portal looking for an answer to a specific, burning issue.
Just don’t overdo it!
Finally, one thing to remember is that your portal must be, above all, a trusted source of accurate and valuable information to your customers, as well as a reliable communication channel. Too heavy product push may undermine the trust they place in it.
So keep in mind the needs of your users also when tuning up your portal for product push. Respect their desire to get relevant information that is neutral enough.