Client Portal for Your Business: How to Create a Portal?

Published on November 21, 2021

For many decades already, the client portal is a synonym phrase for security and convenience in the business world. 


If you want to organize the data exchange with your customers smoother and provide them with personalized access to the information they need, building a customer portal is your best choice to go with.




What is a client portal?


Client or customer portal is a separate web application, where all the relevant information of the company’s customers is stored. To enter a portal, one needs personalized access permission, usually login credentials. 


Once your customers log in to a customer portal, they can have access to their personal information. For example, limited partners (LPs) can enter a client portal of the fund, and track funds investment history. 


In addition, a secure client portal also solves the issues that might arise during the communication of the business and its customers. 


In practice, there is often a need to exchange different documents or share data with the customers, where the traditional ways of communication become outdated. For example, it might not be convenient to send a large amount of data via email. Also, email and other communication platforms can be sensitive to cyber-attacks and arise significant threats of data leakage. 


By creating a customer portal, each customer can sign in, access, and update their data as well as upload or download any file, where the security level will be times higher. 


To put it short, client portals provide several benefits both for a business and its customers, including saving time and money, scaling operations, treating each customer separately, and many more. 



Related Article: What is a Client Portal and Why Your Company Needs One



In the meantime, we are going to provide you with one of the fastest and easiest ways of building your client portal. 




What are the must-have characteristics of a good client portal?


You might encounter the term “PISA” on the net, which is an abbreviation for four main characteristics that a good client portal has. 



Practical


Client portals are designed to make things convenient, that’s why practical design is one of the first components you should focus your attention on. Besides, they are mostly designed to be used by your customers, who want to access the information interesting for them in a few minutes and without much hassle.


Therefore, try to keep the design as minimalistic as possible. Include only features and sections that correspond to the user’s needs. 


Take the Untapped Capital as an example. It’s a venture capital firm, which designed a client portal for its limited partners, where the portfolios for different companies are presented in a separate practical way.

Client portal Untapped Capital landing page

Interactive


No website can succeed nowadays without interactivity elements. Even though you can put effort to build a convenient and user-friendly UI for your customer portal, many clients can still get stuck after logging in and waiting for additional help to find what they need. 


That’s why on many websites we receive a guided tour for the main offered features. Another example is the support chatbots that appear and ask if they can help with something if the user does not take an action for some minutes after appearing in the client portal. 


For example, the Mission Investment Fund’s client portal offers you to have a tool that will read the page content for you and help you better navigate through it.

Mission Investment Fund's client portal

Secure


Do we need to expand the topic of security further?


Imagine the high volumes of financial losses, data leakage, spoiled reputation, customer churn, and hundreds of other unfavorable circumstances that would happen if you can’t manage to keep your customer’s data private. That would be a failure point that is impossible to recover for many companies. 


Therefore, careful development of the customer portal is essential. The access should be given only to authorized users, and each flow of users should have access to only their portion of information. 


All customer portals pay specific attention to the aspect of security, and the customer portal of Skill It, a platform that helps their clients automate their businesses and increase efficiency, is one of the examples. 

Softr sign up/in block for client portals

Accessible


By accessibility, we mean your customers should be able to access the portal anytime they need it. Also, if there arise any system errors, such as not being able to log in to the system, or use certain functions inside the portal, it’s highly recommended to have 24/7 available customer support. 


Imagine how urgent will be your need for the bank’s customer support if you need to make an urgent payment with your online banking client portal, and there arises some technical issue that you are not able to solve. 



Regardless of the way you will customize the design for your customer portal, keep in mind the above-mentioned 4 points, as they are essential keys to success for a well-designed website. Now, let’s move on to what probably interests you most. 




How to create a portal?


There are various options to do so. Basically, any method that will allow you to create a secure website with organized data and well-designed flows for different groups of users, is a customer portal. 


However, we recommend the shortest way to create your own client portal, for which you will not need the help of any developer. 


Softr is a no-code platform, where you can build a client portal powered by Airtable data. You can organize a beautiful front-end design for your Airtable and create a customized client-facing app from it. 

Services of Softr and Airtable for client portals

You do not need to code anything. Use the pre-built functionality of Softr for all the necessary elements of your client portal:


  • User accounts
  • Roles and permissions
  • List conditional filters
  • Member-only content
  • Custom form builder, etc. 



List Conditional Filters


List Conditional Filters is one of Softr’s features which you will find very useful when designing client portals. Particularly, it helps to filter the list of content for separate users based on certain conditions. 


To edit the access of each user, you should choose the group of users [ all or any ] who should fall under a certain condition. Later, you can choose the condition, and if the users do not correspond to the certain condition, they can not access a certain block. 

Softr's conditional filters for client portals

Edit Permissions


By using Softr’s edit permissions, you can set which users can access the specific records from your Airtable account. Later, those users have the “edit” function available in the specified lists, list details, or tables. 


Read how you can add permission rules in a few simple steps.


Once you do it, you can further use the Edit functionality, with the help of which you can allow certain users with access to edit the information coming from Airtable. Press “Edit” on the right upper corner of the created list, then “Allow edit user” and add users for which you want to enable this function. 

softr's edit functionality for client portals

After that, your selected group of users will see the Edit icon on the blocks to which they have access.


So, depending on the way you want to organize the portal, Softr memberships functionality allows for a high level of flexibility. Your client portal can be a general list with all the entries (e.g. each entry is a project for a client) and using conditional filtering, each client will see only his/her projects. Or it can be a separate page for each project (the page can in turn contain a List layout with data from Airtable). 

About Softr


Softr is an easy-to-use no-code platform that turns Airtable bases into powerful web apps and client portals. Softr offers a way for you to authenticate your end-users, control access to your content and data based on conditional rules like roles, logged-in status, subscription plans etc. If you're using Airtable as a product catalog you can use a Softr template to build your e-commerce website. Or maybe you'd like to build a custom website for your travel journal, there's a template for that too!