Communicating with your Customers is a key part of running a successful business – but some Customers are more demanding than others, and talking to Customers is also a drain on your own resources. Spending time on the phone that you could be spending finding new loads or managing your Dispatches can be as frustrating as it is necessary.
By setting up a Customer portal, you can provide your regular Customers with access to information about their accounts, Shipments, and Invoices – on their time, rather than yours. Customers can also use the portal to request Quotes or even place Orders directly – saving the time you would have spent entering those Quotes or Orders yourself.
Setting Up Customer Logins
In order to allow your Customers access to their Customer Portal, you will need to assign a login and password to a specific Contact in their Customer record.
To do so, navigate to the Customer record in question via the Customer list in the left navigation. Once you have located the Customer in question, click on the blue ‘Open’ icon to bring up the record.
Next, click on the ‘Contacts’ tab to bring up the list of your contacts at that Customer. If you haven’t yet added a Contact record for the Customer, you will need to do so now.
Once you have opened the Contact record you want to provide access to the portal (by clicking the ‘Open’ icon next to their name), click the ‘Edit Record’ button at the top of the page to enter edit mode.
Use the ‘Portal Login’ and ‘Portal Password’ fields to assign a unique login and password for the Customer. (Your customers will not be able to change their password, so take care in choosing something that is not easily guessed.) Click the ‘Save’ button to confirm the changes.
Once a Contact has a Portal login, Portal password and E-mail address set, an ‘Email Portal Credentials’ button will appear on the Contact record.
Clicking this button will send an e-mail to the Contact that includes their login and password information. This e-mail will be sent to whatever e-mail has been set for the Contact, so this may also be a good time to double-check that the email in question is still correct! The email will also include a basic description of the portal and a link to an article about how to use the Customer Portal.
Multiple Customer Logins
Currently, all the accounts you create for your Customer Portal will see the same information; eventually, Tailwind will allow you to customize the information seen by each login, allowing you to limit certain logins to certain views. For example, you could allow certain customers to see the Invoice and accounting information, while limiting others to only the Quotes and Orders.
Therefore, we recommend creating a login for each Contact who will be using the portal, even though for now they will only see the same thing. Alternately, if there are a large number of people likely to be using the portal, you could simply assign a single login/password to a main Contact, and suggest that everyone at that company share the login.
Customer Requests – Quotes and Orders
In addition to tracking the status of current Orders and viewing Invoices, your customers can also use the Customer Portal to request a Quote, or even place an Order directly. In both these cases, when the customer completes the action, the corresponding record – a Quote or an Order – will appear directly in your Tailwind database. You can then treat it just like a regular Quote or Order – with the added bonus that you didn’t have to enter any of the information yourself!
In addition, Tailwind will send an e-mail notification to the Account and/or Sales Rep set on the Customer account in question, letting them know that a new Quote or Order has been submitted.
Your customers can also use their portal to add Notes directly to existing Quotes or Orders. This can be useful for communicating additional details about a Shipment, or even negotiating details of a particular Quote.
If you are setting up logins for your Customers, you should probably also familiarize yourself with how to use the Customer Portal from their side. This article is a useful reference for both yourself and your customers.