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Buy or Build? Which Customer Engagement Portal is Right for You?
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Buy or Build? Which Customer Engagement Portal is Right for You?

Ready to attract loyal, long-term users? It's time to get a customer engagement portal. Let’s take a look at how..
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As user experience tops the priority lists for leaders across industries, many are turning to customer engagement portals to get the job done. But once you’ve decided it’s time to enhance the way your customers interact with your business, the next step is to decide how that’s going to happen. There are a few different ways companies can implement customer engagement portals into their tech stacks. Before your organization can start digging into the details of its modern customer experience strategy, you’ll have to make an important first decision — should I buy or build?

 

In this article we’ll explore this common question by looking at the pros and cons of both buying and building a customer engagement portal. We’ll break down the process to ultimately help you decide which strategy is best for your company, and whether a mixture of both could be the solution.

Why is a Customer Engagement Portal Important? 

Before diving into the advantages and challenges of whether to buy or build your customer portal, it’s important to get a clear understanding of exactly why a customer engagement platform is so critical today. 

Customer engagement entails different touchpoints that affect how a user interacts with your brand. It refers to the quality of those experiences and how customers choose to engage. While customer engagement includes customer service aspects and support, it can also include things like purchasing a product, signing up for a service, subscribing to a newsletter, or sharing your content.

Customer engagement is now considered one of the most important factors in an organization's growth and success. According to ImpacX, a customer that is fully engaged with a company can generate 23% more revenue compared to a user that is less engaged. Gartner suggests that the goal of customer engagement is to build loyalty and collect valuable user information throughout the purchase journey. The process also helps to:

  • Enhance brand experience.

  • Increase customer trust.

  • Meet customer expectations.

  • Improve customer satisfaction.

  • Facilitate user feedback and thoughts.

  • Boost sales.

Building vs. Buying a Customer Engagement Portal 

A customer engagement portal provides a secure platform where clients can receive content, personalized recommendations, educational material, and relevant information in a single place. It serves as a one-stop shop for a business to interact with their users and drive sales, all while providing value to them. 

The first step in implementing a customer engagement portal is to decide whether to build or buy the platform. While it can feel like a large undertaking, a few basic questions can help make the right decision more clear. Let’s take a look at the most important aspects to consider when choosing to buy or build.

Consider the Costs 

At first glance, building your own engagement stack may appear to be the most feasible option. However, that isn’t always the case, making it critical to take a deeper look into what both buying and building a portal will look like as an investment.

Costs involved in buying a customer engagement portal include:

  • The cost of the platform.

  • Licensing fees.

  • Added services.

  • Price changes based on user count, security, and support usage.

Costs involved when building your own customer engagement portal include:

  • Man-hours needed to build the platform.

  • Infrastructure.

  • Maintenance.

  • Training new developers or IT teams.

Account for Risks Involved 

There are risks associated with both buying a customer engagement center and building one from scratch. The main risk to consider with buying is that you will likely have less control over things like the software itself, updates, workflow, and bugs. While it can be a great relief to have a third party take care of these aspects, it’s important to make sure your team has a clear understanding of your access and platform support before making the purchase.

The main risks that come with building your own portal are found in your development’s team ability to both deliver and manage the platform. This can lead to a lot of unexpected expenses and prolonged timelines to get the portal up and running. Additionally, the risks don’t necessarily stop after development — your team will need to perform maintenance tasks and keep the system working properly overtime.

Examine Your Resources Available 

To help determine which option is more suitable, take a good look at what resources your company has available. Your resources can include how much budget or investment you have available for new software, the abilities of your development team, and how much time is available. For example, if a company has a large budget set aside for customer experience but an understaffed development team, their resources would suggest buying would be the best option. Similarly, if a company has a short timeline due to a lack of  customer experience strategies, they likely don’t have the time or resources to delay by building a customer portal from scratch.

Improving Customer Engagement with Liferay 

As a summary of the building vs. buying decision process, here are the pros of both customer portal implementations:

Key Building Considerations:

  • Lower upfront costs and payment since you will not need to purchase a subscription fee.

  • Potential for an extended time-to-market depending on your team’s abilities.

  • Hidden expenses in the long run due to integration, infrastructure needs, and ongoing maintenance.

Key Buying Considerations:

  • Higher upfront costs. 

  • Trial periods and demos.

  • Faster time-to-market. 

  • IT support provided by vendors. 

Liferay offers customer portal solutions that provide the best of both buying and building an engagement portal. With Liferay DXP, you get a flexible platform that works seamlessly with your organization’s existing systems and processes. Request a demo today and start creating a customized solution that fits your unique needs and builds customer loyalty.

Originally published
13 June 2022
 last updated
21 June 2022
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