Running Salesforce, but thinking of building a custom self-service portal in-house?
Here are four things to know before you spend months on building the basics.

You are running Salesforce and your sales and/or your service teams are using it. Now it is time to bring to life a fantastic, online self-service environment. Something your customers will love, that looks great, is feature rich and easy to use. 

You think that your best bet is to use a well-known content management system and to build a custom portal from the ground up. Integrate it into Salesforce and you are done. Right?

Not so fast.

You may think that this approach will give you the ultimate flexibility and freedom in user experience. But it also has some significant drawbacks. Salesforce allows you to build your own self-service portal using Experience Cloud. There are four things you need to know before deciding which platform to use for your self-service capabilities.

4 things you should consider

  1. Re-use your existing service functionality online
  2. Enjoy the native integration between the portal and your Salesforce environment.
  3. Create a more integrated omnichannel customer experience
  4. Leverage a modern, secure and innovative web development platform


#1 Re-use your existing service functionality online

Say NO to rebuilding your functionality and business rules already available in Salesforce for your end users. The tool allows you to easily expose case management- and related features to your customer for self-service. Features such as case logging, case communication, knowledge base and easy to use screen flows can be provided to your customers without having to rebuild it. You can bring insights to your customers more easily by exposing configurable reports and dashboards directly into their portal environment. Provide the transparency to your customers they have always been craving for without putting a burden on your internal departments.

You can even use personalisation to adjust the self-service capabilities based on customer characteristics such as role or segment of the customer. This way you can differentiate the portal experience without building multiple portals. 

Your portal will be easier to maintain and it will dramatically reduce time to implement and go-live. Get your feature rich portal in the hands of your customers quicker without compromising on functionality.

#2 Enjoy the native integration between the portal and your Salesforce environment.

The Experience Cloud based portal is very tightly integrated with the rest of Salesforce. It runs 100% natively on the same platform. There is no need to rebuild the Salesforce data model in your CMS. Salesforce takes care of this, even in the most complex scenarios like screen flows that retrieve data from and place data in different Salesforce tables. You will dramatically reduce time and complexity to integrate the portal into Salesforce, save many hours of arduous development work on very basic stuff.

#3: Create a more integrated omnichannel customer experience

The Experience Cloud platform stores all conversations and interactions in relation to the customer and associated case. This provides transparency to the customer on their case interactions and it allows them to pick up the conversation again on the channel they prefer.  It doesn’t matter if they are leaving a message on the case, starting a webchat from the portal or starting a (video) call directly from the case. Customers can communicate with your organisation in any way they like and you never lose track of what the case is all about and what has been done about it before. That is not likely to be so easy with a custom content management system.

#4: Leverage a modern, secure and innovative web development platform

Experience Cloud really is fully up-to-date with modern technologies. Your developers will be truly happy with modern-day component based development to separate complex UI elements into smaller and more manageable self-contained components with their own HTML, CSS and Javascript logic. It also provides modern web standards such as web components. Combined with enhanced developer productivity features, the platform promotes code reusability, eases collaboration among developers and all together, creates an easier to maintain and more scalable portal environment.

In addition, you are provided with out of the box identity mgt. Easily authenticate customers and limit what they can see and do within the platform and with their data. But don’t worry, you can also use your own identity provider if you already have one. 

Finally, the platform is mobile responsive by default, allowing it to easily adjust to different screen sizes and orientations. This creates a better customer experience across the various devices (phones, laptops) the customer uses. The platform provides basic templates to keep the design very simple, but can also be styled to your own branding guidelines for a total branded experience.

So if you are finding yourself under pressure from your customers or internal teams to provide self-service capabilities tightly integrated into Salesforce, take into account these four things. Consider testing its inherent benefits in a proof-of-concept. And if you have to combine it with your current content management system not to throw away portal pages that are already existing, you can do that too.