Is a White Label Client Portal Right for You?
Last Updated July 26, 2021 · Custom Software
When a business first starts, the problem of keeping clients informed is manageable. Typically, the amount of clients you have is small and their needs are simple. Unfortunately, as a business grows, the task of staying organized grows tougher. That’s where a client portal comes into play. Companies use client portals to offer a one-stop location for customers and clients to get the information and files they need. Most client portals are just third-party software you pay a monthly fee for. These applications usually offer a white label option. A white label client portal is one that uses your business’s branding so that clients think they are using your software and not someone else’s.
But is a white label client portal right for your business?
At Link Software, we have a lot of experience creating custom client portals for when a white label alternative doesn’t work out. So we’re familiar with the ups and downs of a white label client portal solution. Let’s walk through some of the common advantages, and disadvantages, you might encounter.
The Advantages of a White Label Client Portal for Your Business
There are a lot of reasons to power your business with a client portal. The advantages of using one with a white labeling option are many but we’ll go over the three most common reasons we hear all of the time.
Offer a Wide Feature Set to Your Clients
White label client portals often come with a whole variety of features. The bare minimum feature set for any client portal software typically includes individual customer logins, file and document storage, in-client messaging, email support, forms, and other data collection methods, and more.
When you go with a white label solution you are able to offer these features to your clients immediately. You don’t have to worry about putting together your own system. There are no concerns about maintaining servers, or databases or concerning yourself with file security. All of this is taken care of by the company providing the white label client portal to you.
Get a Working Solution for Your Business Quickly
By going with an established and regularly developed client portal system you can get up and running fast. You don’t have to waste time cobbling together your own system of support ticket software, spreadsheets, and DropBox folders. Everything you need to get started will be at your fingertips immediately after you sign up. For businesses where time is money, this kind of fast startup time can be very important.
Impress Clients with Your Own Branded Software
One of the big bonuses of any white label software is to impress your customers and clients. Most people don’t even know that white labeling exists and will think you wrote your own custom client portal. Previewing your client portal to a potential client is also a great way to try and seal a deal or close on a proposal. Potential clients and customers are always looking for ways that their vendors stand out. A client portal, branded with your company logo and colors, is a great way to do just that.
The Disadvantges of Using a White Label Client Portal
We’ve made a pretty compelling argument so far as to why you should go with an established client portal system. Of course, there are two sides to all coins and this issue is no different. Our own clients, looking for custom client portals, have typically encountered two big issues with white label client portals. Let’s talk about those next.
You’ll Be Missing Important Integrations and Features
Every one of our clients who wants a custom client portal has needed one because of missing features in the white label solutions that are available. This usually means they need integration with one of their existing vendors, or suppliers. It is also a common request when someone’s business is just so unique that generic software can’t meet their needs. We’ve written extensively on this site about the value of custom software.
The most important function of a client portal is that it should make your life easier. Once you go down the road, with bespoke and “made for everyone” software, you almost inevitably run into reasons for it to slow you down. Maybe a feature is implemented in a way you find confusing or not practical. Then you start to bring in other systems or fall back to bad habits, just to keep the whole operation running. In the end, you find yourself spending more time communicating outside of the client portal than you do in it just to work day-to-day with customers.
The Cost Isn’t Always a Huge Savings
One of the big proclaimed advantages of a white label client portal is that the cost to use it is lower than making your own. Initially, this will certainly be true. Paying a monthly or annual fee to access an existing client portal system will be cheaper than initially creating a custom one. People will look at their bottom line first before anything when making software decisions for their business. This makes sense: why take a risk with a large, possibly expensive software project when you can get your feet wet for a small amount of money.
The secret is that, over time, the cost of these white label client portal systems can get quite large. One of the largest solutions on the market claims their most popular plan is over $200 US a month. That might be a good deal. Assuming you need, and use, all of the features they provide and don’t expect or need your own customization. Once you start to get unhappy though and realize you aren’t getting 100% of your requirements met, you will start to ask yourself why you are paying so much each month. Then you will look back at how much you’ve spent since you first signed up and ask yourself: could we have gotten exactly what we wanted for this amount of money already?
And, sometimes, the answer to that question is going to be yes. A custom client portal can be an expensive and time-consuming project upfront. But, if done correctly, you will end up with your own proprietary software that does exactly what you need to keep your staff and customers happy each day.
Interested in Your Own Custom Client Portal?
At Link Software, we’ve built custom software solutions for businesses in a wide variety of industries. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’ve read this article and come to the conclusion that a custom client portal is right for you. If you are currently using a white label solution we would love to talk to you about alternatives that involve making your own system.