How a Dashboard Can Help Connect You and Your Customers

Robert HoldemanWebsite Tips, Website Tools, Website Trends

Odds are, if your business is like ours, your customers don’t realize everything you do for them.  It’s certainly true for some of the little things you do every day, but it can sometimes even be true when you go above and beyond the call of duty, when you go the extra mile.

So, just how do you forge that bond between vendor and customer that says “hey, we’re looking out for you!”, without making a pest of yourself?  Putting it another way, how do you support your customer’s perception that you’ve got them covered – in the right way?  After all, it is about what you’ve done for them.

A well-thought-out online dashboard could be the answer you’re looking for, delivering valuable information to your customers in a more subtle way, keeping them connected to you.  It can be as simple as a checklist of the tasks planned and completed on a single page or as complicated as a multi-page collection of information about customer history, projects, timelines, status of tasks, etc.  The common factor among all such approaches is that the customer’s dashboard is hosted on a website with a robust content management system (CMS) that you control and that it is only accessible to your client and you via secure login.

And yes, it must also serve a useful purpose so that it gets used by your customers.

The customer dashboard model is a great way to deliver pointed communications about customer-specific topics, such as product documentation for their eyes only, announcements, offers or even suggestions to a certain customer or group of customers.  It can be done in a serious and very professional way or it can take a more playful approach.  The content, style and tone of a dashboard is something you want to discuss with your website developer and your marketing staff, but maybe not in that order.

Once you decide to pursue this approach and have some idea of the tone you want to take, you’ll need to further decide how to implement this great thing you envision.  Some of the related questions I’ll attempt to answer in my next post include:

  • Use a separate domain or a sub-domain?
  • Develop custom dashboard or find existing solution – or somewhere in between?
  • Can a customer Dashboard serve more than one purpose?

While an online dashboard isn’t meant to replace the personal touch of a phone call or email, it can be a helpful backdrop, painting the big picture of what you do that can otherwise be forgotten or taken for granted.