Commence, a provider of customer relationship management software for small and midsized firms, this week previewed its new Customer Portal, due for release at the end of June.
The Commence Customer Portal is an extension of the company's integrated Help Desk application. The portal is designed to enable Commence users to provide their customers with personalized interactive self-service over the Web.
The portal will enable customers to receive answers to their questions, submit service tickets, and query a knowledge base any time, anywhere.
"Research shows that the customer does not want to talk to companies any more. He wants to go on the Web, set up a ticket, and get information or guidelines right from your Web site," says Larry Caretsky, president of Commence. "With Customer Portal, our goal is to have a quick, efficient, and easy way for our customers' customers to get self-service."
The Customer Portal will be available 24/7 and supports all of the major Web browsers and operating systems. The screen can automatically resize itself for use on mobile devices and has full mobile capabilities, according to Caretsky. "If you have Wi-Fi or an Internet connection, you can access the portal from any tablet, phone, laptop, or PC you have," he states.
Commence can also customize the portal with its customers' logos, color schemes, and URLs. The product even comes with security for customer access via assigned permissions. "We have made the portal to be cosmetically appealing, fun, and easy to use," Caretsky says.
"It's about raising the level and quality of service you offer to your customers," he adds.
Caretsky maintains that many CEOs today talk about providing excellent customer service but haven't delivered it yet.
With the Customer Portal, "Commence is providing the software and automation tools to deliver on this promise," he says.
The Customer Portal is geared primarily toward SMBs in the business-to-business space, according to Caretsky, but can benefit "any smaller company that is service-driven, regardless of what you sell."
"Several other enterprise CRM solutions offer this capability," says Caretsky, "but their solutions are too cumbersome and costly for small to midsized businesses." Because of this, many midsized companies have implemented stand-alone help desk solutions that often lack integration to the administrative, sales, and marketing components of their businesses," he maintains.
That's why Commence is offering a full-featured CRM solution that integrates the account management, administration, sales, and marketing departments with a help desk ticketing system and a customer portal. "I's the one-stop shopping solution people have been looking for," Caretsky says.
"Providing this level of customer self-service will enable Commence customers to significantly boost customer satisfaction and retention," he adds. "In today's competitive environment, the difference between you and your competition is often the quality of service you provide to your customers."
The Customer Portal comes just four months after Commence released version 5.5 of Commence CRM On Demand, with a new internal chat and follow system, Microsoft Word and calendar integrations, and a click-to-dial feature on mobile phones.