A Customer Portal Doesn’t Have to be Expensive!
So you need a customer portal? And you want to explore building your portal on the
Salesforce Platform? If you’re just starting your research you’ll notice that there are a lot of different ways to accomplish this and it can be confusing. There are several different license types that you have to choose from and the names can be as confusing as the options: Gold Partner, Customer Portal Manager Custom, Customer Portal Manager Standard, Authenticated Website, High Volume Customer Portal, and a few others. Wow! That’s a lot of options and some of them can be expensive when comparing the cost of the license to the requirements of your portal.
In this article, we’re going to explore one option that can be very inexpensive: building a Salesforce Customer Portal by using a Force.com Site and the Authenticated Website User Licenses (AWU). The AWU license is sold in banks of 100 users and retails from Salesforce for only $1 per user per month. That’s right! One dollar per user per month! This is a lot less than the other license options. (Check with your Salesforce Account Manager for pricing specifics.)
Salesforce Customer Portal or Platform Portal?
Of course you’d rather pay $1 than up to $40 per user so let’s do a quick requirements check to verify that this option will meet your needs. To be more accurate, we shouldn’t call this configuration a Salesforce Customer Portal but should really call it a Salesforce Platform Portal. We’re essentially building a Force.com Site and providing named users (your customers) secure access to support information and other data. These users can have read-only access to accounts, assets, documents, ideas, and questions in the Salesforce database. Additionally, and most importantly, they can have full access to custom objects.
Hopefully this article will help you to begin exploring this inexpensive Salesforce Customer Portal option. In the coming weeks we are going to add more articles on the subject. In the meantime, you can contact a Salesforce Developer or CRM Consultant at RedPoint Solutions to have us help build a proof of concept for you or to get started building your portal right away.