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When you manage your client info in an Airtable base (such as their orders, statuses, and refunds), sharing specific info with your clients can be a problem. For example, say you run a real estate business and manage your client profiles, properties, and payments on Airtable.
Now, if a client wants to get some info on their deals, you have to:
- Share the entire Airtable database with them, which isn’t really an option because you are risking the confidential data of other clients.
- Find the specific information they need, then copy and paste that information into an email. Not only is this a waste of time, but there's a greater chance of you making a mistake (like sending the wrong data to a client).
Both these actions can be frustrating and time-consuming and can be avoided. How? By building a client portal where clients can login and access relevant information without having to get in touch with you.
Plus, you don’t even have to do any design or development work to make the portal — you can create a client portal within minutes with a no-code tool.
In this article, we’ll cover how you can use Stacker to design and build client portals without writing a single line of code. Throughout the post, we’ll also share examples of how our clients have used Stacker to easily make portals from their Airtable data.
Sign up for our 30-day free trial and explore how Stacker lets you build secure and robust client portals from your Airtable data within minutes.
How to Create an Airtable Client Portal with Stacker
With Stacker, you can build client portals where customers can sign in with their credentials and access helpful information. You can send and receive business data without clients having to email or contact you.
For example, a property management company might use a customer portal to share data with the tenants who live in the company’s properties.
Here are a few types of portals our customers have been able to create with Stacker:
Table Investments Designed an Investment Tracker
Table Investments is a real estate consultancy that helps its clients invest in and manage real estate in Oklahoma City.
Alyssa Dyer (owner of Table Investments) was managing work orders, properties, and payments with Airtable. But they weren’t able to easily share this information with their clients.
To simplify this process, Alyssa built a Stacker portal with their Airtable data.
Instead of giving access to the entire Airtable database, clients could now login and track their portfolios’ statuses, weekly updates, and other essential tasks with the portal.
University of Central Arkansas Created an Applicant Tracker
An additional use case of Airtable portals is to let any external user access a part of the Airtable info (mostly their profile info or status updates) while restricting access to other info. So when we say ‘clients’, it can be any external user: from clients of a marketing agency to university students. This takes us to our next example.
Dr. Gary Bunn, a director at the office of candidate services at the University of Central Arkansas, uses Airtable to store, monitor, and manage student applications for jobs. Dr. Bunn wanted to share the application statuses of students and their personal info on the next steps of their application without sharing the entire Airtable database that contained every student’s info. He also wanted an easier way for students to update their contact information and other details.
With Stacker, Dr. Bunn created an applicant tracker. Now students can easily log in, view relevant information, and update information where needed. Dr. Bunn still houses data on Airtable while sharing only the information that an applicant is supposed to see.
Firestarter Entertainment Agency Built a Talent Agency Portal
Firestarter Entertainment is a talent agency in Los Angeles run by Nicole Pryor. Before Stacker, Nicole was answering hundreds of emails a day, constantly exchanging info on scripts, upcoming auditions, and available jobs with clients and managers. They’d have to first refer to the Airtable database (that they used to manage all the data) and then send replies.
With Stacker, Nicole created a client portal so clients can log into the portal and send booking updates and audition availability to Nicole.
Clients can also see recent updates on the portal, like details for an upcoming audition, payment info, and deadlines.
We’ve just listed three examples, but you can find more on our client stories page. And you can build all kinds of portals for external users, like:
- Vendor portal — Vendors can login and update their order data.
- Partner portal — You can share data securely with your partners and collaborate on the portal itself without relying on email threads.
- Student portal — Students can login and check on their application progress, yearly grades, upload assignments, etc.
- Real estate portal — Tenants can access their property data, recent investments, etc.
- Event management tracker — Customers can check on their event’s progress and other communication.
- Employee portal — Employees can login and access info that’s relevant to them like policy documents, team directories, etc.
- And more.
Here’s how you, too, can create professional-looking customer portals from your Airtable data in three simple steps:
1. Bring in your Airtable data to Stacker.
2. Create permission rules to limit what data each user can see.
3. Customize how your data is displayed.
In the next sections, let’s look at each of these steps in detail.
Bring in Your Airtable Data to Stacker
The first step is to sign up for a new account on Stacker and type in your Airtable API key.
Here’s where you can find it:
Once you enter your key, Stacker instantly starts syncing with your Airtable data. While syncing, Stacker also brings in any pre-built relationships, formulas, and linked records from your Airtable base.
Stacker also connects to multiple Airtable databases if you store information for different stakeholders on different bases.
For example, one of our clients, the Complete DJ Group, owns a DJ service in Australia. They store all client data in one Airtable database while all the contractor data is in another — both connected to Stacker. They have created a portal where their clients can get information about their events. And a different portal where contractors can see details about their upcoming events.
Once your Airtable info is connected, Stacker comes with two-way sync functionality. Any change done on the backend will also be reflected on the front end. You don’t have to update each and every change in multiple tools.
For example, if you use Stacker as a project management tool and store all the information on Airtable, changing the status of a project from “in progress” to “completed” on Stacker will automatically change the status in your Airtable database.
We also have integrations with 60+ data connectors (available only on Enterprise plans), so if you use tools like Dropbox, Asana, Zendesk, etc., you can bring in data from there, too.
You can completely move all your data out of Airtable and store it in Stacker tables. You don’t need Airtable as a backend and Stacker as a front end (Stacker will be both). That way, you’ll be able to cut down on the number of tools you have to handle and make Stacker your single source of truth.
Note: If you also house your data in Excel spreadsheets or Google Sheets along with Airtable, you can pull data from those sources, too. You can read more on how you can create web applications and front ends with Stacker from multiple data sources.
Create Permission Rules to Limit What Data Each User Can See and Ensure Security
There are four types of workspace collaborators/users in an Airtable base:
Airtable gives each of the above-mentioned users different permissions, which allow or restrict them from taking certain actions. For example, an editor can modify or add new records, but a commenter can only comment on a record.
Plus, collaborators can be added only at the workspace or base level. That’s why you can’t share a portion of your base (for example, a single table) with others.
While useful, these collaborators can only be added at the workspace or base level. As a result, there’s no way to share only a portion of your base (like a single table) with the users. Users can access the complete base they’re invited to — so if you want to limit the view of a specific table, record, or field, it’s challenging.
Stacker, on the other hand, lets you create custom and granular permissions.
You can create permissions for your users on the portal and choose who can perform what action.
For example, if you run an Airtable CRM from Stacker, you can let a sales rep see and edit only the information about their opportunities; but you can let sales managers see opportunities of everyone in the team so they can keep track of what’s happening in the entire sales pipeline.
This wouldn’t be possible in Airtable because Airtable doesn’t allow you to set permissions on table, record, and field levels.
However, with Stacker, you can limit actions at each level: table, record, and field. This has two benefits:
- As a business, you can control which users can see what information. This lets you keep client data private and secure (because you aren’t opening up the entire Airtable database for others to see).
- For a user, the interface is clean and clutter-free because they can see only the information that concerns them and nothing else. This also results in better usability and enhances the customer experience.
Note: To give portal access to your users, you can add user emails in Stacker or connect a user table from your Airtable database. Once done, your users will be able to access the portal with their login credentials.
If you’d like to know more about creating Airtable permissions, you can read our in-depth post: How to Set Custom Airtable Permissions (Tables, Records, Fields)
Customize How Your Data is Displayed
Data on an Airtable database looks static — you can only limit the look of the layout to rows and columns (for example, you can’t add branding elements). Here’s an example of how an Airtable sales CRM portal looks:
Though it’s workable, the interface has a lot of data that can overwhelm a user. Plus, you can’t set permissions to let only some users edit the information relevant to them.
In contrast, here’s how the same data looks on a Stacker portal:
In this Stacker example, you get a neat view of all accounts grouped together. Reps can easily find an account or drill down into specific industry info. Once they click on the account, they can see all the account’s relevant details without having to laboriously go through numerous rows and columns.
With Stacker, you can customize the portal layout without hiring a design agency or a development team. Our drag-and-drop builder is easy to navigate — beginners can also start building a portal even if they don’t have any design experience with pixels, font styling, color choices, etc.
Once your Airtable data is synced, Stacker will create a workable app for you based on the structure of your data.
You can then customize the layout further and add:
- Additional rows, columns, and tables to organize data the way you want.
- Your company logo and brand colors to align the portal to your brand.
- Nested views for pages and tables to allow you to create filtered views of your data.
- Embeds like YouTube videos or Google Maps (for example, a real estate portal can have Google Maps embeds to store directions of every property they manage).
- Custom fields, filters, and widgets to customize how data is presented to the users.
- Action buttons to make common changes. For example, a student application portal can have buttons that let them edit their profile info or attach important docs.
- Zapier integrations to easily create and automate repetitive workflows. (For example, you can trigger a workflow where if a user clicks on an action button on Stacker, ClickUp will automatically create a new folder.)
Once the design is complete, you can preview the portal as a user. Previewing lets you see if everything is in the right order so you can correct issues or mistakes before the portal goes live.
Want more details on building client portals with Stacker? Read through this step-by-step tutorial.
Sign Up for Stacker’s Free Trial & Create a Client Portal From Your Airtable Data
Stacker’s no-code solution has helped 20,000+ startups, large investment firms, enterprises, and more create web apps and portals for their clients, team members, and external users. You can also create a client portal within a few clicks. Just connect Stacker to your Airtable database, set permissions to decide how users will interact with your data, and modify the look and feel of the client portal to represent your brand.
You can learn more about Stacker’s features, pricing, and client stories by clicking here.
Test our client portal features by signing up for a 30-day free trial.