Thinking of turning your old customer portal into to a Community? These days, Communities are the only available option from Salesforce. If you already own an old-school portal from way-back-when, Salesforce will kindly allow you to keep it alive. But before you get too excited by that, you might want to see what a new Community can do instead.
So, let’s get stuck into Salesforce customer portals vs. Communities…
What’s a Salesforce customer portal?
A customer portal acts as an online support channel for all your customers. This helps them resolve any inquiries without contacting a customer service rep. They could be customised with Visualforce to have great user interfaces for your customers.
Generally, they were geared towards allowing your customers to see the information that relates only to their account with you — so, for example, their account and contact info, or maybe the contracts they have on file with you and their assets.
What’s a Salesforce Community?
These are newer, more branded online spaces for your employees, customers, and partners to connect in. You can customise and create Communities to suit your needs and the needs of those most important to your business.
What can you do with Communities?
- Communicate with prospective customers
- Provide self-service support via a knowledge base and FAQs
- Allow customer service to talk with customers and resolve their questions and support cases
- Share knowledge and best practices with partners
- Collaborate with partners and employees on leads and deals
- Create custom modules with Lightning
- Add pretty much any object page; there’s no restriction to the standard features
- Quickly change the colourways, logos and fonts of your Community without the need for any code.
So what’s the difference?
Communities offer the functionality available in portals, but with loads of added features. They offer Lightning experience and are more easily customised with drag-and-drop, point-and-click CMS functionality. But the main difference is the view. Communities are more open in the way that Customers, for example, can find the answers to their questions by looking through knowledge articles and chatting to each other.
Portals, on the other hand, only allow the portal user to view their own account information. They’re great for their ability to serve up and receive content, but they lack a sense of community — members can’t collaborate and socialise with each other.
There’s nothing you can’t do in a Community that you could previously do in portals. However, there’s so much more Communities can offer you that portals can’t. So if you’ve got an old-school portal, now’s the time to consider migrating to a Community. You can learn more about this from Salesforce.
If you need any guidance or hands-on help with setting up your Community, get in touch! We’re pretty good at that kind of thing.