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Before we start with the Salesforce customer portal, let’s explore all the types of Salesforce portals, their differences, and their use case.

Types of Salesforce Portals

Salesforce offers three types of portals that have different use cases:
- Partner Portal
- Self-service Portal
- Customer Portal
It is crucial that you pick one based on your requirement and which entities you want to manage. If it’s partners, then the partner portal should be your choice. Similarly, to manage customers you can either go with self-service portal or customer portal.
Let’s look at the difference between them.

Difference between Customer and Partner Portal

The key difference here is that a partner portal is useful for when you want to share business-level insights with your partners. Each partner can get only the required data without being able to access all of your organization’s private data.
Compared to this, a customer portal works as a platform for your customers to approach your business, and get support on their own from the portal.
In this blog, we are going to explore multiple aspects of the Salesforce customer portal.

What is Salesforce Customer Portal?

Customer Portal is a unified platform that provides self-service support, a user interface and online support channels for customers.

How to Enable Salesforce Customer Portal?

You can follow the steps given below to enable the Salesforce Customer Portal.
1) From Setup, enter Customer Portal Settings in the Quick Find box. Then selectCustomer Portal Settings or In Build, click customize, select customer portal, then click on Customer Portal Settings.
2) Click Edit.
Enable Salesforce customer portal
3) Select Enable Customer Portal.
4) Click Save.
save the changes
5) This is the view of Customer Portal after enabling the same. From there, you can create a new portal by clicking on ‘New’ or edit an existing portal.
create new portal
6) You can change portal fonts, color with the option Change Portal Fonts and Colors button, and use the Edit button to change the header, footer, etc. Click on Edit and change it.
change portal fonts
Note: This feature available only in Salesforce Classic.

How to Enable Customer Portal for Contacts

1) From a contact detail page, click Manage External User, and then select Enable Customer User.
Enable customer portal
2) Verify the general information and locale settings, and enter any missing information. The customer’s Username defaults to the customer’s email.
3) Select a portal user license. The user license that you choose determines the permission sets, user profile type, and role hierarchy options which you can select for the user. See Customer Portal User Licenses.
see customer portal license
4) Click on save to save the settings it.
5) Go back to the Contact Detail page and click Manage External User and select login to Portal as User.
Login to portal as user
After performing all the steps, this is how the Salesforce Customer Portal will look like.
salesforce customer portal

Salesforce Customer Portal Features

- User interface
- Salesforce CRM content
- Custom objects and Tabs
- Multiple User profile and Record types
- Account Role hierarchy and sharing
- Branding and style configuration
1) User interface
In the salesforce customer portal, there are user interface features like search, quick solution identification, creating cases, reports, etc.
2) Salesforce CRM content
Through this Salesforce CRM content feature, your customers can access any product document and you can share relevant content with customers as well. It also has features like sharing, subscription and commenting.
3) Custom objects and tabs
You can create custom objects and tabs in the customer portal and share the same with your customers. These objects and tabs help you implement your business logic throughout the portal.
4) Multiple user profiles & record types
A feature to create multiple user-profiles and record types to help you provide some customized experience to your customers.
5) Account role hierarchy and sharing
You can use three-level role hierarchy and sharing with your customers.
6) Branding and style configuration
Customizations in the home page, header, footer, colors, and fonts enables you to match the portal with your brand, therefore creating a synergy.

Limitations of Salesforce Customer Portal:

The Salesforce customer portal is expensive if you put it at $1 per user, per month. It increases your customer retention cost.
Apart from cost, there is also a certain limitation when it comes to the number of accounts. You cannot have over a certain number of accounts, depending on the Salesforce edition you use.
But there are third-party solutions that you can use that to allow you to scale your customer base at a much more reasonable price point.

About CRMJetty:

CRMJetty is a hub of innovative customer relationship solutions. You can connect, collaborate, and engage with your customers smartly using our ready to integrate portal solutions for SuiteCRM, Sugar CRM, Salesforce, and Dynamics CRM.
Gear up your business with our portals to drive new customer relationship intelligence!

This Blog is Originally posted here; https://www.crmjetty.com/blog/salesforce-customer-portal/ 

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