Two blog posts in a row…not bad! Perhaps my previous about Consistency and Simplicity will work out after all. I’m still picking fairly random topics to discuss, and today I am inspired to discuss the new ConnectWise Manage Customer Portal.
This the portal that your end users would go to to submit tickets to you (for example). For years our clients, and us, have been complaining how hideous the existing customer portal is. It has very few options aside from selecting a Type of issue, emergency or not, and pre-populating some static text based on the Type. And it looks like a 2 decades old form (actually I think the design now qualifies as decades old). On the plus side, it gave users the ability to elect those types, see existing tickets, and even check on invoices and projects (rudimentarily so).
Having voiced my concerns in person, in forums, peer groups, and in pilot sessions, I was super stoked when I heard a rewrite was coming soon (this was in late 2018). Oddly, I accidently discovered a while later, that it was already released and I wondered where the fanfare was. Then I figured out it was not to give this release any fanfare. The new Customer portal had LESS features than before, but it did look a little prettier. It also required logging into a seemingly 3rd party portal to configure it. Great. One more ConnectWise login. I informed all my clients who were waiting for it, to keep waiting.
One thing I’ve learned consulting numerous clients about ConnectWise, is never just answer “ConnectWise doesn’t do that.” I’ve learned to say, “Last I checked it didn’t do that, let me check again.” So upon a recent request, I checked out the portal one last time. I was pleased to find there is now a forms designer available when creating new Service Type requests as well as the ability to link your payment portal. It’s still missing a lot, like projects and invoices, but this may be just the functionality several clients were waiting for.
As to the question of is the new ConnectWise Manage Customer Portal finally ready, like a good consultant, the answer is, “it depends” (just added that to the “SH!t that Allen says” channel in our Microsoft Teams). If you are just using/needing the customer portal to submit and look up tickets, then I would go for it. The UI and form designer is worth the switch. If you depend on the other features of the current portal, then you shouldn’t switch yet. The switch itself is not terribly complex. Just follow the instructions in your University documentation. It involved an admin portal to create/configure, changing two settings in your ConnectWise Manage instance, and you’re done!
I would like to add that as I was writing about how quickly things can change, I logged in again just now to look at that portal and note that they just added ConnectWise SSO to the list of ways to authenticate to the administrative side of the new portal (weird to be the number three option, right?). Also, I have first hand knowledge that ConnectWise is hard at work on centralizing all of their logins/portals. Not just the authentication part, but one login to put everything at your fingertips. I really hope they have some success here (and early signs are that they will succeed)!
If you need any assistance with the setup or want the grand tour inside of my ConnectWise portal, just hit me up by clicking the Free Consultation link at the bottom right.