When you manage key information like customer orders, applications, or project updates you will often run into an annoying problem — you can’t easily share that information with your clients, customers, and applicants (or any other external party).
For example, if a customer wants to know the status of their order, they’ll need to reach out to you. Then, you’ll have to log into your spreadsheet (or wherever you store your information), find the customer’s order, and update them on the status.
This just creates a lot of back and forth that is as frustrating as it is unnecessary.
That’s because there’s a simpler way to share information with external users: Creating a client portal where users can log in and access the information they need, without having to go through you.
In this post, we’ll show how Stacker, our no-code solution, can help you build client portals without having to work with a development team or a design team. We’ll also look at examples of client portals that real companies have built with Stacker.
Note: More of a learn-by-doing kind of person? Sign up for Stacker’s free 30-day trial and create your own client portal today.
Create Your Own Client Portal with Stacker: No Coding Required
With Stacker, you can create portals that your customers, clients, or any external users can access via a login page. A portal gives people easy access to their information and lets them see only what’s relevant to them.
Here are a few customer portal examples built with Stacker (with their own logo, brand colors, and navigation).
A Travel Booking Portal
If you manage travel information via email, your customer would have to email you for details on hotel reservations or travel destination schedules.
But with a customer portal, they can log in to their account and get everything they need in a simple and clean dashboard. They can see what destinations are on their wishlist, which are booked, and which are being planned — all from a single place.
A Student Portal
Here’s a student portal where students can access their work, grades, reports, and even share feedback with students directly on the portal.
Imagine sending each student’s grades and reports on email — and then students also responding through email — that’d be a time-consuming job.
Instead, a student portal keeps all personal information easily consolidated without any hassles.
An Investment Portal
You can also create a centralized dashboard to store all client documents (with a secure file-sharing system) and relevant information on their investments.
In the sections below, we’ll cover how you can easily create your own client portal with Stacker, our no-code tool. We’ll cover:
- Syncing, importing, or bringing in data to Stacker
- Setting specific permissions
- Customizing the portal’s layout
- Sharing portal with your clients
Sync, Import, or Bring in Data to Stacker
The first thing you want to do is get all of your relevant data in one place. Working with disparate tools (like Google Sheets, Excel, email, etc.) can be messy and chaotic. Not only do you have to juggle different platforms to find specific data, but every platform has its own sharing rules — which further complicates your processes.
Stacker resolves this by unifying all your data from different sources in a single location to create easy-to-use client portals.
There are three ways to bring data into Stacker:
1. You can sync Stacker with Google Sheets or Airtable base.
While syncing with Airtable bases, Stacker also syncs relationships, pre-built formulas, and links between records so that you don’t end up copy-pasting each of them manually.
Plus, you only need to update information in one location — any change in the front end gets updated in real-time on the back end. So, if you edit something in Stacker, it’s automatically updated in Airtable base or Google Sheets.
You can also bring in data from an Excel file by uploading a CSV file to Stacker.
2. You can import data from 60+ connectors that you may already be using like Asana, Dropbox, Zendesk, Mailchimp, PipeDrive, PostgreSQL, Salesforce, and many more.
With Stacker, you can have multiple datasets within one workspace. For example, you can sync your Airtable base and then import data from your QuickBooks account.
You can also set custom permissions, which we cover next, so your internal users and external users only see the info that is relevant to their role.
3. Use Stacker Tables as your default database. You can choose to completely move out of other tools and just use Stacker Tables. That way, you can build all your processes within Stacker (no need to switch between tools) and also save on subscription costs.
Set Custom Permissions So Users Can Only See Relevant Data
The problem with trying to share an Excel spreadsheet, Airtable base, or even adding a user to a platform like Salesforce is two-fold.
- You’re limited in what you can and can’t share. For example, if you add someone to a spreadsheet, the user can see the entire spreadsheet. But the spreadsheet may also have rows of info that you don’t want them to see. To work around this, you need to create duplicate spreadsheets and then share them, which just gets messy.
- Adding users can get expensive. Some platforms charge by how many users you have. To save money, you might have your team take data out of a platform and put it into a spreadsheet. That creates double work, doesn’t solve the permission problem, and you risk working with outdated data.
But with Stacker, you can set highly custom and granular permissions — and you’re not limited in how many users can access a portal.
You can choose who can access the portal (for example, only admins or only members).
Then, you can choose what actions they can take — whether they can create, update, edit, or delete information. You can further control each of these actions for every page, record, and field.
This feature is important because it lets customers log in to your portal to update their info or communicate with your business but it doesn’t show information linked to other clients.
Specific permissions ensure privacy and enhance the customer experience because you aren’t stuffing the interface with data that doesn’t concern your clients.
For example, let’s say you want to create an event planning portal where customers can book an event planner from your team.
With permissions, you can let customers log in, view details on each planner (like availability and pricing), and select the one they’d like to work with. You can allow customers to edit details like event date, time, and other requests. Further, clients can then keep track of whether specific tasks — like getting decorations, hiring a caterer, etc. — are being completed or not.
Note: By building an internal tool with Stacker, you can manage your team workflows and processes in an organized way.
Customize Your Portal’s Layout
Depending on where you have your data stored, you can either start designing the layout from Stacker’s templates or start from scratch.
If you use Airtable or Google Sheets as your database, Stacker creates a workable app for you. You can then customize the layout further and change elements the way you want (more on that below) and grant specific login access.
For Excel and other data sources, you can choose from the Customer Portal template.
FYI: You can skip templates by clicking “Other” and use our layout builder to create everything from a blank canvas.
To create an easy-to-navigate interface without worrying about pixel, font, and color selection, we offer customization options where you can add:
- Rows, columns, and tables that you want displayed on your navigation.
- Nested views for pages or tables to represent data in a clear way.
- Custom fields, widgets, images, and filters.
- Embeds like YouTube videos, Google Maps, and Vimeo within the layout.
- Action buttons to quickly make common changes. For example, if you have a portal where you are accepting applications for a project, you can create action buttons for applicants to edit and update their profiles. They can then tag you in the messaging section where you’ll get a notification about any changes they made.
- Your logo and brand colors to white label the portal.
After you’ve designed the layout, we recommend you preview the portal as a user to verify that everything is set up perfectly. Previewing shows you what your users will see (once your portal goes live) so that you can rectify any mistakes before publishing.
Share Portal with Your Clients
Once you have a functional app built in Stacker, the next step is to send your portal URL to the users on your list. By default, the URL for your portal will be example.stackerhq.com. But you can use your own domain name with our custom domain feature.
If you’d like to see more details on creating customer portals with Stacker, here’s a step-by-step video tutorial.
Case Studies: How Spedal and Segment Built Secure Client Portal Solutions with Stacker
Since 2019, Stacker has helped 20,000+ small businesses, large investment firms, and more build apps for their clients, partners, and external users.
Below we share two case studies, but you can read more case studies here.
Spedal is a courier bike service provider based out of London. They help homeless people build an employment record and specialize in zero-waste deliveries and collections.
Before Stacker, Spedal was using Google Sheets to record client data. Customers added orders and riders would receive details (like the name and address of the order) via text on their mobile devices. This was often a messy and chaotic process.
To streamline customer and business communication, Spedal used Stacker to create a client service portal. Now, customers can log into Spedal, place orders, track them, view payment information, or order returns within the portal.
Simultaneously, riders can log their jobs, and upload a photo to confirm and mark deliverables.
Segment offers a program for early-stage startups that are tailored around software deals, resources, and credits to help accelerate their growth.
Before Stacker, Segment had information of all 15,000 companies on a dashboard built within the Airtable database. However, they wanted to offer their users a logged-in experience.
All information in their deal book was text-based, which they also wanted to make more visual.
Now, with a self-service portal created with Stacker, startup program members can log in to access the Segment’s Resource Hub.
They can also access the deal book (which is now represented in a more visual format because of Stacker’s customization abilities) and redeem deals relevant to them.
Start Creating Your Own Customer Portal with Stacker
Stacker creates professional-looking client portals so that customers can log in and view/edit their data through a web browser or a mobile app.
With Stacker, you can:
- Sync your data or import it from different data connectors.
- Define customers’ access to your portal and gain control over their actions.
- Enhance the user experience by creating customizable layouts to fully align the portal to your brand.
Companies like Mozilla, Adobe, TED, Audible, and Samsung have used Stacker to create apps and portals for their team members and customers. Test our client portal software’s features by starting your free 30-day trial now (no credit card required).