Best Client Portal Software for All Businesses [2022]

Mariam Ispiryan • Oct 04, 2022 • 13 min read

If you and your team members are looking for a project management tool to help you communicate and collaborate with your clients, then client portal software is the way to go.


There are a wide array of customer portal solutions out there, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and forget exactly why you even needed it in the first place.


In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to make a choice that’ll benefit your business, as well as chisel down the endless list of solutions to the five best client portal software options.



Table of Contents

  1. How to choose the right customer portal for your business
  2. What features should client portal software have?
  3. 5 best client portal software
  4. The benefits of client portal software

Softr gives you the freedom to make the client portal of your choice.

You choose the best bits. No filler, all killer.

How to choose the right customer portal for your business


Think of a customer portal as a private, protected website. It’s like an intranet for businesses where instead of sharing and exchanging sensitive information with your employees, you’re sharing it with your customers. 


A customer portal may take the form of a stand-alone product for consolidated communication or be part of a full-blown helpdesk system. But choosing the right customer portal ultimately comes down to your business size, requirements, and resources. 


When looking at customer portals, consider the following:


  • Security. Find the right balance between customer accessibility and security, depending on your business needs.
  • Integrations. It’s likely you’ve already invested in one or two communication apps, so check whether your preferred customer portal integrates with them or not.
  • Language support. Does your organization work with clients who speak different languages? If so, be sure your chosen customer portal supports them.
  • Your technical knowledge. Most solutions come pre-made, but if your business needs are specific, you might want to create your own client portal. Some are no-code, like Softr, but others are low-code, so consider how much you know about coding before delving in.
  • Additional needs. Some platforms offer dedicated client portal solutions, while others are more customizable, and you can build for a variety of use cases.


What features should client portal software have?


Beyond general considerations, there are a variety of specific features and qualities you’ll want to look out for when choosing the perfect client portal software.



Interface that’s easy to navigate and customize


Your clients shouldn’t need a map to navigate your portal, and a confusing layout could turn them off immediately. Likewise, you shouldn’t need a Ph.D. in web design to find your way around your own app. So look for a customer portal solution that’s user-friendly, attractive, and makes sense to you. 


You’ll also want to control what customers see when they visit your portal, so your software should be fully customizable and a white label portal. That means clients won’t see the logo or branding of the portal software, but instead your chosen colors, logo, and domain on both internal and login pages. 



Roles and permissions


Controlling who can view and interact with your portal’s information is crucial—you don’t want a free-for-all, so make sure the customer portal you’re looking at has functionality for specific roles and permissions. 


Your content, and what users can do with that content, should have access rights. Ideally, you should be able to easily adjust permissions at the folder, subfolder, and file level and ensure that users only see what they need to see. 


Being able to assign user roles also means you can easily categorize them with the same permissions and put them into groups, making them easy to organize and understand at a glance.



Collaboration tools


The whole point of customer portals is to communicate and collaborate with your clients, and there’s a multitude of ways to do that. That’s why the best client portals allow for:


  • Calendar sharing
  • Instant messaging
  • Project and task management
  • File sharing
  • Document synchronization
  • Cloud storage


Work out what type of collaboration tools are a priority for your team, and make sure they’re included in a customer portal software’s list of features before committing to it.



Payment processing


Many organizations want customers to be able to pay for products or services within their client portal, so a self-service payment processing feature is a must. Above all, payment processing systems should be secure and easy to use with minimal instructions or “teaching.” 


Keep an eye out for extra functionality such as the ability to:


  • Customize the frequency of payments i.e. one-time or recurring
  • Easily apply trials and coupons at checkout
  • Connect payment integrations like PayPal and Stripe
  • Easily access billing history
  • Update credit card details at the customer end



Robust security


When organizing, processing, and exchanging sensitive client data, selecting a client portal with watertight security measures is essential.

 

So all client portals should have the following robust security features:


  • User privileges
  • Authentication functions
  • Encryption
  • Authorization mechanisms


Making sure your client portal has those types of security measures will reduce the risk of data leaks, data breaches, and hacking incidents, all of which can result in thousands or even millions of dollars in damages.

5 best client portal software


There are too many customer portal providers out there to count, each with its own unique features and ideal use cases. We’ve narrowed the list down for you, landing on five top contenders.



1. Softr


Softr is a no-code custom app builder that specializes in transforming Airtable and Google Sheets data into client portals, partner portals, and internal tools.


Unlike some of the other options on this list, Softr’s client portal isn’t rigid, out-of-the-box software—you build it from the ground up to perfectly suit your business needs. The scope of the software also means you can start with a client portal and then take advantage of other solutions as you grow, like a sales CRM portal or online marketplace.

Softr allows you to create custom web apps with ready-to-use templates

Softr has a variety of handy client portal features like payment processing.



Stand-out features

  • Start from a template and customize. Softr has feature-rich templates for client portals and more, like employee intranet portals and sales CRM platforms.
  • Server-side authentication to protect your data, powered by AWS for maximum performance, scalability, and high availability.
  • Members-only content. Restrict access to specific pages or sections of a page based on conditions like user role, company, and payment rules.
  • Custom form builder. Add custom forms with a wide range of field types like hidden fields, files, or date & time. Then, seamlessly send responses to Airtable or any other platform using Zapier or Integromat.
  • Secure payments. Let your customers buy goods or services with either recurring or one-time payments, and easily apply codes or coupons at checkout.
  • Real-time data sync. Users can update any content on your app, and our native integration with Airtable ensures your data is instantly synced both ways, without lag.
  • Self-service access & data updates. Let your customers and employees view and manage their content, update their project status, track orders, upload invoices, and carry out any other actions specific to your business.
  • Customer support. Draw on Softr’s guides, articles, videos, and seven-days-a-week live chat support to help you tackle your toughest challenges.



Pricing

Softr is the only client portal software on this list that has a free plan, which is ideal for getting started. If you’re looking for a little more bang for your buck, consider the following options:


  • Starter. Designed for individuals and startups building data-driven apps, $24 a month (billed annually).
  • Professional. Designed for companies that need custom apps with advanced features, $65 a month (billed annually).
  • Business. Designed for teams and companies that need powerful portals and internal tools, $165 a month (billed annually).


Best use case

Softr is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses who already use Airtable or Google Sheets and want to build a bespoke client portal solution that perfectly suits their needs.

Softr gives you the freedom to make the client portal of your choice.

You choose the best bits. No filler, all killer.

2. SuiteDash


SuiteDash’s platform is both a client portal and CRM in one package. This no-code, ready-to-use software puts an emphasis on automation tools.

Easily configure automation triggers with SuiteDash.

Easily configure automation triggers with SuiteDash.



Stand-out features

  • Automation tools. One of SuiteDash’s noteworthy portal features is the ability to automate lead generation and onboarding processes.
  • Advanced customization tools. Along with the usual white label features, advanced users can also use custom CSS and other sophisticated options.
  • Robust security. SuiteDash provides free SSL for the custom domain users set up and link to their account, adding an extra layer of security.
  • Email and drip marketing tool. Users can create and schedule email campaigns for a particular date and time. They can also set up Autoresponders/Drips to send messages on an automatic schedule to any new email address they add to their ‘Audiences’ list.



Pricing

SuiteDash offers a 14-day, full-featured trial. Otherwise, their paid plans are:


  • Start. Designed for smaller businesses starting out and includes their core features, $19 per month.
  • Thrive. Meant for growing businesses that want enhanced features from the ‘Start’ plan and exclusive functionality, $49 per month.
  • Pinnacle. Perfect for bigger organizations with more complex needs. Includes SuiteDash’s full range of features, $99 per month.



Best use case

SuiteDash is ideal for companies looking for an all-in-one solution that includes a CRM and is quick and easy to get started with.

3. Zoho Creator


Zoho Creator is a low-code application development platform that helps users design, develop, and run business software, including customer portals.

Zoho Creator makes it easy to organize client data and adjust their permissions.

Zoho Creator makes it easy to organize client data and adjust their permissions.



Stand-out features

  • Multiplatform portals. Users and team members alike can access Zoho Creator portals on computers or mobile devices, and you can keep customers connected with web, email, and mobile push notifications.
  • Efficient user management. You can add portal users individually or import them in bulk and group them based on approval status. You can also add users dynamically using scripts.
  • Strong authentication mechanisms. In addition to Zoho’s log-in page, you can also choose between two different authentication mechanisms—single sign-on (SSO) using a third-party identity provider or federated logins (Google, Facebook).
  • Customizable notification preferences. Set up personalized email notifications to communicate with your users more effectively.



Pricing

Zoho Creator offers a 15-day free trial, but beyond that, there are two main plans:


  • Professional. Designed for companies that have multiple software and functionality needs with a five-app limit and flexible user count, $25 a month (billed annually).
  • Ultimate. Suitable for large organizations with complex software needs and includes unlimited apps and records, $400 a month (billed annually).



Best use case

Zoho Creator is ideal for users looking for comprehensive low-code app development software that caters to the needs of businesses of all sizes.

4. Huddle


Huddle is a client portal solution that has the usual portal functionality you’d expect, but puts a strong emphasis on security.

If cybersecurity is a high priority for you and your clients, Huddle has you covered.

If cybersecurity is a high priority for you and your clients, Huddle has you covered.



Stand-out features

  • Enhanced security. Huddle was the first SaaS collaboration vendor to achieve FedRAMP ATO in the United States and SAS 70 Type II and SSAE 16 data center accreditation.
  • Strong authentication. Huddle supports multi-factor authentication and enterprise-grade SSO across mobile and desktop applications. MDM / MAM / EMM support adds further protection for mobile devices.
  • Track user activity. A timestamped summary of all content and user activity makes checking whether an important report has been read easy.
  • Comment streams. Every document in Huddle has its own comment stream, and you can @mention individuals or entire teams to keep conversations connected with content.



Pricing

Huddle doesn’t offer a free trial, but its paid plans include:


  • Essential. Ideal for content collaboration and project management for small teams, $15 per month.
  • Plus. Designed to add enhanced security, customization, and admin controls for intra-company and external collaboration, $30 per month.
  • Team starter. Meant for teams of up to ten users with more complex business needs, $150 per month.
  • Premier. Great for large enterprises who want highly personalized plans, contact Huddle for a quote.



Best use case

Due to its focus on high-end cyber security features, Huddle is perfect for organizations dealing with sensitive data like accountants, consultancies, or government bodies.

5. HappyFox


HappyFox is a help desk and customer support software solution that stands out due to its support ticket system, self-service knowledge base, and community forums.

HappyFox has robust ticketing and help desk features to help you stay on top of client requests.

HappyFox has robust ticketing and help desk features to help you stay on top of client requests.



Stand-out features

  • Unified ticketing system. Manage email, phone, chat, and web requests by converting them into tickets.
  • Smart help desk software. Automate redundant and complex workflows with the help of a powerful smart rules engine, which automatically marks tickets as closed or re-opened when they meet certain criteria.
  • Help desk analytics. With a ticketing system that crunches your support process data, you can analyze help desk metrics and take solid actions.
  • Customizable support ticket system. Personalize the customer experience by creating custom fields and workflows.



Pricing

HappyFox has two tiers of pricing plans, one for single-agent use and another for unlimited agents. Here, we detail the single-agent plans:


  • Mighty. Meant for users who only need the basics covered, $29 a month (billed annually).
  • Fantastic. Designed for bigger teams with features like a multi-brand helpdesk and SLA breach notification, $49 a month (billed annually).
  • Enterprise. Best for larger organizations with more demanding needs, $69 a month (billed annually).
  • Enterprise Plus. Perfect for bigger businesses with added features like agent scripting and 2TB attachment storage, $89 a month (billed annually).



Best use case

HappyFox’s client portal places a strong emphasis on its help desk and ticketing systems, making it ideal for organizations with large volumes of customer queries.

The benefits of client portal software


With all that said, what are the actual benefits of client portal software? Below we run you through the key advantages of investing in this kind of technology. 



Improve customer relationships


While ‘Contact Us’ forms and helplines are the equivalents of putting up a sign on your door, client portals are more like welcoming your customers inside for a coffee. It breaks down the barriers between you and your client and streamlines all your communications.


This creates customer loyalty via:


  • Accessibility. Client portals provide clients with relevant, real-time information such as FAQ answers, troubleshooting tips, and company and product details.
  • Self-authentication. Customers self-authenticate their emails, enabling them to log in and contact you right away. Because authentication will have taken place up front, it now only takes a successful login for a customer to be able to contact you, breaking down the barriers to communication that can negatively impact customer service.
  • Quicker response times. Automated instant messaging and self-service features mean that customers can conduct transactions and find the information they need outside of normal business hours without any restrictions.
  • Empowering customers. Using a customer portal gives customers a voice and enables them to share opinions with others in order to improve your products and services.



Save time and resources


So many customer queries, so little time. Communicating and collaborating with customers and clients can eat up hours of your day, especially when they’re spread across multiple workspaces. 


Customer portals cut down on endless notifications and streamline customer support by:


  • Offering an all-in-one solution. By combining features that are traditionally served by individual apps (say, Slack for instant messaging), you kill two birds with one stone and save both time and money.  
  • Prioritizing self-service. Not only do self-service features improve customer relationships, but they also dramatically reduce your workload.
  • Increasing productivity. With client portals, both customers and internal staff can access important data like contracts, estimates, and project plans. You’ll also end up sending fewer emails and tracking progress more easily.
  • Boosting accuracy. By centralizing company information and having everything connected and in sync, users will always be able to access the latest versions of documents with correct branding and signatories, vastly reducing the chance of errors.



Better security


Having multiple copies of spreadsheets and documents across several platforms means your data is less secure. With customer portal software, you can securely share sensitive data from one centralized location.


Security is also heightened in client portals via:


  • Firewalls
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Malware and virus protection
  • Secure HTTPS/SSL connections
  • Data back-up on individual servers


Again, this is a win-win as you’re protecting your own privacy but also that of your customers. Ensuring client information is secure will also build further trust in your business and spread more positive word of mouth. 



Stay organized


Keeping up with client requests, task approvals, and document management can become messy quickly. Using a customer portal can help you stay organized and improve your workflow in the following ways:


  • Information consolidation. Group and file all relevant information in one place, so your support team knows where to find all the key details they need when dealing with a client.
  • Centralized communication. With all communication channels funneled into your customer portal, it’s much harder to lose track of emails or messages.  
  • Progress tracking. When all your tasks are consolidated in one single place, you’ll have a full overview of job status, anticipated deadlines, delivery, and costs at a glance.
  • Analytics. Get important insights into both how customers are using your portal and team efficiency to stay on top of usage and gather insights to further refine your setup.


To choose the best client portal, choose what’s best for your organization


Client portals can offer a wealth of benefits for your business, and there’s a wide range of different solutions out there. The key to choosing the right one is to analyze your specific business needs and see which one best fits your feature requirements, budget, and desired customization level. 


With that said, we’d ultimately recommend either Softr if you’re looking for a more flexible, bespoke solution, or SuiteDash if you’re looking for a powerful pre-built option.


Whatever you choose, make sure it’s the right solution for your company’s needs and goals when it comes to the client experience.

Softr gives you the freedom to make the client portal of your choice.

You choose the best bits. No filler, all killer.

Frequently asked questions about the best client portals

The best client portal software depends on your specific needs as an organization, but we recommend Softr if you’re looking for a more flexible, bespoke solution, or SuiteDash if you’re looking for a powerful pre-built option.

Yes, client portals are safe. They deal with a large volume of sensitive client data, so they integrate robust cybersecurity and safety measures into all of their software and its functionalities.

You can make a free client portal with Softr, the only platform on our list that provides a completely free paid plan and the ability to custom-build software in a no-code environment.

A secure client portal is a client portal that allows for the safe provision of services or information exchange with measures like: - Authentication - User privileges - Encryption - Authorization mechanisms

You can make a basic client portal for free with Softr, but you might want to consider plan plans which, depending on the service provider and your specific business needs, can cost between $15 and $400 a month (billed annually).

All the best client portals have the following features: - Interface that’s easy to navigate and customize - Roles and permissions - Collaboration tools - Payment processing - Robust security

Some of the top benefits of client portals include: - Improved customer relationships - Time and resources saved - Better security - Increased organization

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