Finding the right customer portal software can be tricky— there are a ton of options, often for slightly different use cases.
Throughout my career, I’ve had the chance of implementing and customizing a range of tools which, in turn, has made me realize that every company and customer base have different needs and objectives. There’s no way I’d use the same tool for a B2C SaaS and a B2B SaaS, for example.
Here, I'll explore the best customer portal software solutions on the market. What each tool does, the pros and cons, and specific use cases.
So, let's get into it—it's time to start hunting for the perfect customer portal software!
Zendesk provides a comprehensive customer service solution that is easy to use and can scale your business.
Use cases: Creating a branded support portal, creating a community forum, managing support tickets, and creating a knowledge base.
Integrations: Most popular tools integrate with Zendesk (e.g. Salesforce, Slack, Shopify). There’s also a Zapier integration.
Free trial: Yes, 30 days.
Pricing: The pricing plans range from €49 per agent/month to €150 per agent/month.
Zendesk's customer portal offers businesses the perfect solution for managing customer service. It provides customers with the ability to quickly find the information they need when they need it, resulting in faster response times, transparent communication, and easily accessible information. Their client portal offers a comprehensive solution comprised of many remarkable features that will cater to the needs of your customers seamlessly while reducing your workload by the minute. These features include the standard package for a client portal, such as brand customization, file management, knowledge base and billing. However, it also offers collaboration tools that enable you to create internal tickets through the client portal, real-time messaging and in-app notifications that will keep you on top of the latest changes.
Beyond these, the portal provides users with a range of features, such as automated workflows, segmentation, and customer satisfaction surveys, along with analytics and reporting tools.
It is suitable for a variety of use cases, such as customer service, customer support, and customer engagement. So whether you’re a low-touch or high-touch business model, the tool is quite flexible and will be able to cater to your needs.
The best part about Zendesk is its ability to scale with your company's needs. You can start out with basic features like live chat and email support and then add additional modules (like social media monitoring) as needed. It's also easy to use: You don't need any coding skills or technical knowledge in order to get started using the tool!
Commune is a customer communications platform that lets you build customer-facing portals for support, content/training, peer-to-peer discussions & more.
Use cases: Knowledge base, user training, peer to peer support, event management, surveys & feedback.
Integrations: Relatively limited in volume, but powerful integrations with Zapier + Salesforce, plus API. Zendesk integration is on the roadmap for 2023.
Free trial: No.
Pricing: They offer four paid plans starting at $399/month and going up to $1,499/month, scaling with number of users & features. View pricing.
Commune provides a customer portal service that helps growing Customer Success teams efficiently serve their clients. The tool optimizes the user experience by tailoring content suggestions to each user for a better experience and providing a single sign-on for a coherent brand experience.
The information gathered through the portal allows organizations to gain a complete understanding of the customer and make data-driven decisions that drive growth. They also analyze user actions and interactions to gain a detailed perspective on each user's journey and enhance the user experience, sales, and customer success strategies.
Improve customer interaction by dispatching push notifications, email notifications for fresh content, and a weekly summary from your customer portal. Commune helps you establish a shared support structure that substitutes a significant portion of customer service endeavors and fosters a feeling of community within your portal.On top of that, Commune allows businesses to build a fully customizable portal without the need for technical expertise or resources, thus reducing development time and costs.
Finally, the app offers automation features to increase efficiency, such as workflows that automate repetitive administrative tasks and APIs and integrations to analyze and leverage customer data.
The software is ideal for small to medium Customer Success teams looking to automate parts of the customer experience, such as user training, Q&A and surveys.
Planhat is a customer success platform designed to provide insights, manage workflows, and enhance customer experience.
Use cases: Customer success automation, Project management, Automation, Workflows.
Integrations: Comprehensive integrations for helpdesk tools, survey tools, data warehouses & more
Free trial: No.
Pricing: Contact the vendor for pricing.
Planhat is an all-in-one customer success platform, which is well-liked for it's customer portal feature. If you're looking for a complete solution for predicting churn, identifying expansion opportunities, managing surveys, tracking customer health scores (etc.) -- then it may be worthwhile. That said, if you only want a customer portal software, then Planhat is totally overkill.
The portal feature includes transparent onboarding, collaborative project management, and sharing dashboards to show usage and return on investment. Planhat’s portal solution enables you to measure milestones, and provide curated, branded content at scale to your customers. You can also use the client portal to share playbooks, which I find quite cool!
Via the client portal, you can highlight accountability for every workstream and its interdependencies while devising tailored metrics that enable customers to evaluate progress and comprehend their own rate of adoption.
Finally, their most impressive feature is the “Presentations layer” which combines the ease and narrative capabilities of slides with the analytical strength of a BI tool and allows for easy sharing with customers through the portal.
It is designed to deliver modern high-touch companies a world-class customer success platform to streamline onboarding, maximize customer success and increase retention through data-driven reporting.
Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer service and support platform offering customer service, customer engagement, and help desk solutions.
Use cases: Team inbox, Knowledge base, AI-powered ticket management, Multi-channel support communication.
Integrations: Popular apps, such as Salesforce, Slack, and Shopify.
Free trial: Yes, 21 days. No credit card required.
Pricing: There’s a free plan for up to 10 agents along with some basic support features. By upgrading you unlock more features and seats. Paid plans range from €15 per agent/month, billed annually to €79. View pricing.
Freshdesk's client portal software provides strong collaborative ticket management. It offers AI-powered recommendations that suggest ticket fields, routing, and knowledge base articles to respond to frequently asked questions.
One of the features that render Freshdesk’s client portal solution different to the rest is the fact that you can manage multiple portals for different products, services, or brands from one centralized location. Each portal can be customized with unique branding, sections, and behavior.
Customers can import and manage up to 10 custom themes for each portal. To prevent conflicts, collision detection is in place to prevent multiple admins from editing portal customizations simultaneously in the code editor.
Freshdesk’s unified and intelligent support platform offers a range of key features and advantages that make it perfect for customer service. It provides a single platform for customer service teams to manage all customer interactions, from emails and chats to calls and social media. It also offers a range of automation tools to help streamline customer service processes, such as automated ticket routing, automated responses, and self-service options. It can also be used to manage customer service operations across multiple channels, such as email, chat, phone, and social media.
Additionally, Freshworks' platform offers a range of analytics and reporting tools to help customer service teams measure and improve their performance.
The platform is ideal for businesses of all sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises. It can be used to manage customer service operations for a single product or service, or across multiple products and services. So whether you’re a low-touch or high-touch business model, the tool is quite flexible and will be able to cater to your needs.
5. Zoho Creator
Zoho Creator is a cloud-based customer service and support platform that offers customer engagement, helpdesk solutions, and more.
Use cases: File management, Collaboration tools, Billing, Self-service client portal.
Integrations: 600+ integrations with other tools, such as Pipedrive, Asana, and Stripe.
Free trial: Yes, 14 days.
Pricing: There’s a free plan for 1 user and an integrated app. The paid plans are two, the Professional starting at €25/user/month and the Ultimate starting at €400/month, billed annually. View pricing.
It is especially suitable for small to medium businesses looking for customizable solutions that will help them establish efficient workflows without much coding effort.
It's customizable for any business and can be used to manage all aspects of the customers' experience with your brand. Their client portal feature will provide customers, vendors, and partners with a single point of access to your company's products, services, and information.
Some of the client features worth highlighting are:
- The bulk import feature when you need to add your customer base to the tool.
- The admin can also use a custom domain to host the customer portal instead of the default Zoho Creator domain.
- You can decide to set custom user permissions depending on the level of access you wish third-parties to have.
- The portal type can be set to Public, Private, or Restricted to determine the level of access granted to users.
Additionally, there’s an array of features designed to make it easy for you to engage customers in real-time, such as:
- chatbots that can answer basic questions
- surveys that allow customers to provide feedback on their experience
- live chat sessions with agents who are available 24/7
- social media integration so you can monitor mentions of your brand across multiple platforms at once.
It might not be ideal for you if you’re not comfortable using proprietary scripting language for app customization and automation. Also, if your customers or product are more mobile-oriented, Zoho’s mobile app development and pre-built template selection have a long way to go compared to other tools in this list.
Flowlu’s is a project management platform, enabling teams and clients to collaborate on projects, manage invoicing and share important information thanks to its intuitive interface.
Use cases: Team collaboration, Project management, File sharing, Payments.
Integrations: No third-party applications at this point, apart from Slack.
Free trial: Yes, 14 days. No credit card required.
Pricing: Flowlu has a free plan for 2 user seats and 1GB of space along with its core features. The paid plans start at $29/month and up to $199/month (billed annually) depending on number of users, cloud storage and customization features. View pricing.
Flowlu’s client portal offers flexibility in terms of managing user permissions and this way your sensitive data is always available to the right people. Logging into the client portal, your customers can view ongoing tasks, check project progress and get an expenses and payments history for each project.
The platform also offers a knowledge base feature and a messenger app which help customers get the help that they need, while your team has the ability to streamline their workflow with automation tools.
Flowlu has been designed to be easy to use with an intuitive interface that allows you to get started right away without having to spend hours learning how it works. This makes it ideal for small businesses that may not have the time or resources available for extensive training sessions on new software systems before they can begin using them effectively in their daily operations. The software is customizable for any business that wishes to keep track of projects and provide transparency to internal and external stakeholders.
However, like all products, there are some limitations associated with Flowlu such as the lack of integration with other tools such as Salesforce or Zendesk.
Accelo is a cloud-based customer service platform offering client portal, billing, ticketing and project management solutions.
Use cases: Ticket management, Customer billing and invoicing, Project management
Advanced reports, Secure file sharing.
Integrations: Integrations with world-class tools, such as Hubspot, Zapier, and Jira.
Free trial: Yes, 7 days.
Pricing: There’s the Plus plan at $24 per product/user/month & Premium at $39 per product/user/month, billed annually. View pricing.
Accelo’s high-quality client portal feature encourages your customers to become self-sufficient. Inviting clients to your portal and granting them online access to all of their records and data, including account information, requests, quotes and invoices is made intuitive and seamless.
Providing on-demand access to critical information, clients and other stakeholders are able to track projects in real-time, submit requests, and review documents. The tool offers custom permissions, online invoicing and a sign-off module that will make project management as easy as ABC.
Accelo sends you email notifications about any interaction your clients make, including sign offs or approvals, and project feedback.
Huddle is both a client portal and a task management tool and a part of the Ideagen suite of tools.
Use cases: Online file collaboration and sharing, Task & Workflow management.
Integrations: Limited integrations with such as Salesforce, Microsoft Outlook and Google Workspace.
Free trial: Yes, 30 days.
Pricing: Their pricing is not publicly available but you can contact the sales team to get a custom quote. Get Custom Quote.
Huddle’s main concept for their client portal is built around “Workspaces,” where you can organize shared files, confidential information, and any kind of content related to projects and business documentation. Security tops their priority list along with seamless collaboration features that will make sure all of your stakeholders are on top anytime, from any device type.
The tool mainly caters to the needs of heavily regulated businesses such as law, audit and healthcare organizations. Since it’s designed more like a document and task management tool, it’s not as well suited for customer service teams that need a ticketing solution.
SuiteDash is an all-in-one solution that offers a wide range of functionalities such as CRM, client portal, learning management, project management and more!
Use cases: File management, Time Tracking, Project management, CRM, e-signature.
Integrations: Limited individual integrations, like Twilio, Google Calendar and Quickbooks.
Free trial: Yes, 14 days. No credit card required.
Pricing: SuiteDash has three paid plans that range from $180 to $960, billed annually. View pricing.
SuiteDash has a file management system that includes shared folders, file requests, and integrations for onboarding. The interface of the client portal is user-friendly and suitable for less tech-savvy clients. You can securely send large files to anyone without requiring them to log in. On top of that, you can add a password, and expiration date, or limit the number of downloads to the files you share. The 'Magic Link' login system allows users to sign in using only their email address.
The highly organized structure of the client portal allows you to provide every client with a Sharing Folder that is exclusively theirs, and they can have multiple folders. Each Project has its own Sharing Folder, which contains subfolders for every Task so project management is seamless. Suitdash also offers dynamic data dashboards so your clients have an overview of pending items and procedures.
Your clients and staff members can access your portal through a custom URL and personalized login screen. Alternatively, they can download your white-label mobile app on their phone or tablet to stay connected even while on the move. The portal can be set up on your URL, and the login page and email notifications can be fully branded and white-labeled.
Two of the best features in my opinion are related to security, as SuitDash offers Two-factor authentication and reCAPTCHA. File sharing is not only streamlined but as secure as possible!
Due to the fact that the software is quite flexible in features and pricing, it can cater to the needs of any business. Especially suited for small to medium businesses looking to scale and optimize their internal processes with as less hassle as possible.
However, if you need to connect it with multiple 3rd party apps you might come to a dead end as it provides a limited number of integrations. Thankfully, the Zapier one opens an entire world of possibilities.
HappyFox is a highly regarded helpdesk software that provides popular features for enterprise customer support teams through its self-service client portal.
Use cases: Ticketing, Knowledge base, Community forum, FAQ.
Integrations: Integrations from automation to surveys, such as Slack, Mailchimp and Salesforce.
Free trial: Yes, after booking a demo to identify your needs, they can provide you with a trial account.
Pricing: Happyfox has four paid plans that range from $29 Per agent/mo to $89 Per agent/mo, billed annually. View pricing.
The HappyFox Self-Service portal empowers your customers to access various features, including checking ticket status, receiving issue insights, participating in community forum discussions, and more. It will help you not only assist customers with their queries but also allow them to find solutions independently and obtain expert advice without involving support agents.
Moreover, its comprehensive ticket management system allows users and their clients to generate support tickets, view existing ticket status, and collaborate on specific support requests.
With HappyFox's self-service portal, you have access to a comprehensive knowledge base and FAQ system that does not require customers to log in. You can enhance self-service by offering knowledge base articles in multiple languages. Agents providing support in a specific language can view knowledge base articles in that language, while customers can switch between languages to find solutions to their problems in their preferred language, effortlessly.
The client portal provides a strong Community Forum that allows your customers to participate in discussions and conversations with other customers.
To add even more convenience, the features are easily accessible to your customers through any channel as they boast their omnichannel approach in providing support.
The software is suitable for a variety of industries like retail, telecom and education, especially those who require an easy-to-configure, multi-channel support solution.
SupportBee is a cloud-based customer service and support platform offering customer ticketing, online portal, and knowledge base features.
Use cases: Ticket Management, Customer Support, Workflow management.
Integrations: Integrations for project management, notifications and CRMs, such as Trello, Webhooks and ZohoCRM.
Free trial: Yes, 14 days
Pricing: they offer two paid plans -- Startup $13 /user/month and Enterprise $17 /user/month, billed annually. View pricing.
SupportBee's customer portal provides clients with a centralized view of their current and past tickets and responses. The portal's user-friendly navigation through past queries serves as an educational resource that prevents customers from encountering the same issues down the line.
You can choose the design for your client portal by customizing it with your logo and colors, which ensures that your branding is consistent across your website and portal. Additionally, you can make your client portal truly unique by using a custom domain name.
To guarantee the privacy and security of your data, the client portal is accessible over HTTPS protocol. Furthermore, we are GDPR compliant, so you can trust us to protect your customers' privacy.
The biggest strength of SupportBee is its ease of use; the interface is simple enough for anyone to pick up quickly, even if they're new to using software like this. It also offers great integration with other tools such as Slack and Trello so that you can keep track of all your communications with customers in one place and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
The platform allows users to stay on top of customer support as it provides a ticketing system that functions similarly to email, but with special routing and tagging functionalities for better visibility and prioritization.
The main downside is that while it's scalable enough for small businesses, there aren't many options when it comes time to scale up past 10 employees--and if you're looking at more than 30 employees then this might not be right for you. It also lacks a Knowledge base functionality.
SupportBee is a low-cost platform designed to assist small teams with managing client communication effectively. The software is customizable for any business industry and can be used in conjunction with other tools.
MangoApps serves as a digital hub for communication and collaboration, enabling employees to access the necessary information to complete projects and offer exceptional client support.
Use cases: LMS, Custom workflows, Surveys, Employee intranet.
Integrations: Popular third-party applications, such as Slack, Tableaux and Zapier.
Free trial: No.
Pricing: They offer customized plans as Low as $1/user/month. View pricing.
Mangoapps is easily customizable with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface that allows you to create your own branded portal in minutes. Its portal is rich in features and can be tailored to include a knowledge base, document collaboration, and secure file transfers.
On top of that, it offers a built-in messaging system that resembles popular social media platforms, making cross-team communication more convenient. If you're seeking a collaboration platform that functions like an instant messaging system rather than email, MangoApps is the perfect solution. Finally, it provides visibility on projects and team interactions through a company feed, rather than an inbox
Bonus features include unified reporting and analytics -- businesses can track and monitor activity to gain complete visibility into how the platform is being used both internally and externally.
MangoApps is an ideal platform for large enterprises that prioritize company-wide collaboration and communication.
AzureDesk is a comprehensive software solution for help desk management, providing features such as self-service customer portals, ticket routing, knowledge base management, and email-to-ticket conversion.
Use cases: Ticketing system, Email management, Knowledge base, Community forum.
Integrations: Most popular apps such as ChargeDesk, Jira and Freshbooks.
Free trial: Yes, 14 days.
Pricing: Their Self Service portal, Ticket Management, workflow and reporting features belong to the Plus Plan for $33/user/month, billed annually. View pricing.
AzureDesk’s client portal has a user-friendly interface that is more suitable for customers who are familiar with various software systems than other platforms on this list.
Upon registration with AzureDesk, users gain access to an admin portal where they can add frequently asked questions, knowledge base articles, and other resources to enhance their customer support portal. The client portal consolidates common support features for businesses, such as the capability to transform emails into support tickets, classify tickets, and provide the versatility to handle an unlimited number of email addresses.
Customers can easily search for information and submit new requests through the customizable AzureDesk portal, which can be tailored to reflect the brand's identity.
In addition to its existing ticket and email management strengths, AzureDesk's integrations with popular tools such as Slack, Jira, Asana, and Freshbooks offer significant value to users.
Choosing the right client portal for your business
Client portals are an important way to communicate with customers and manage your business relations. With so many options available, it can be hard to know which one is right for your business. Selecting the appropriate support portal for your business is crucial as various options are available. Professional service companies will require different features compared to e-commerce or B2B tech providers, for example.
Here are some important things to consider when choosing a client portal:
2. Ease of use
While security is critical, it's no good if customers have trouble using your portal — it defeats the purpose! Make sure that your chosen client portal has an easy-to-use interface that doesn't require extensive training for users or support from IT staff members who may not have time for additional work. Also, ensure that there's no extra layer of complexity due to poor integration with other apps or systems within your company (which is especially common with third-party solutions).
3. Reliability and uptime.
The client portal must always be available when users need it — no matter what time of day or night it is or where they're located in the world (within reason). It should also allow for seamless integration with other systems, such as your CRM or accounting software.
Make sure the portal offers secure access from any device or location. You want your clients to feel comfortable using it no matter where they are — at home or on the go — so they don't hesitate when they need help immediately (like if they're travelling abroad).
5. Implementation effort
Consider how much training your staff will need before implementing the new system. Some platforms require extensive training while others come with built-in tutorials that walk users through each step of the process. Less time spent on training means more time spent on customer care!