Expert Opinion
4 min read

Email and Client Portals: Complementary, not Conflicting

Posted by Picture of Carole Howard Carole Howard

In recent years, a debate has sprung up between the effectiveness of two different communication platforms: email and client portals. Businesses are lobbying for the use of either one or the other, but rarely both.

Organisations are missing a golden opportunity. Instead of choosing between email and portals, why not have the best of both worlds?

You might have expected us, an email encryption company, to stand firmly within Team Email. Instead, we count ourselves as wise enough to know this isn’t always the right option. By pairing Email with client portals, we can ensure communications remain timely while taking steps to increase the famously low rate of portal uptake.

Client Portals on the Rise

As we progress through the digital era, companies are asking themselves, “what is the best way to communicate with our customers?”. A tricky question, considering businesses need to think about factors such as integrations, ease-of-use, and cost-effectiveness. On top of this, cybersecurity is a major issue. How can we ensure the data we are communicating is secure?

Email remains a popular means of client interaction for business. However, due to a lack of fine-tuning since its creation, messages sent by email remain largely unsecured. Given that the average office worker sends 40 emails a day, you can see why this is a commonly targeted link in the business communications chain. This is especially concerning when you find out that cybercrime takes place every 30 seconds.

To counter the security gap within email, the client portal was born, providing businesses with a secure digital space to connect with their clients. Portals offer a user-friendly blend of in-browser accessibility and highly personalised data, ensuring customers are presented with the most relevant information. They have become an increasingly popular investment for companies, with 88% of people expecting them to be a standard service provided to them.

Reducing Password Fatigue

The question is: are portals being used to their full potential? The answer, for now, appears to be no, as consumer adoption remains an ongoing challenge, with many businesses reporting over 60% nonengagement rates despite committing significant resources towards portal development. A study within the healthcare sector reveals that, although people are aware of and even register for multiple portals, does not mean they are frequent users, with only 30% of people regularly logging in.

A key reason for nonengagement with portals is ‘password fatigue’. People are expected to create login details for a large portion of the businesses they interact with, with research from NordPass confirming that the average person has up to 100 passwords. This leads to 25% of people forgetting a password at least once a day: a frustration that causes individuals to reuse similar passwords across different logins, leaving themselves open to being exploited. Bearing this in mind, it’s understandable why some may limit their use of portals if they are seen as just another chance to get stuck in an “I forgot my password” loop.

People will always choose the path of least resistance. In the face of password fatigue, staff and clients disengage with portals and turn to email for the immediacy it provides. This means sensitive data is still being communicated in open risk environments, leaving investment-heavy portals under-appreciated.

Pushing Inbound Engagement

What can businesses do to safely transfer client data and ensure their engagement? The solution lies in the delivery of secure email, to work alongside and support the use of client portal applications.

Combining a client portal with secure email boosts communication efficiency without compromising on data security. Not only does encrypted email showcase your business as an organisation dedicated to the protection of client’s data, but it also becomes a tool to push important information into their inboxes that then pulls them into your portal.

Leveraging people’s habitual reliance on email for urgent communications, encrypted messages can nudge clients to engage with important documents. Secure email can be used to extend and highlight the self-service capabilities of a portal, reminding clients of the fortress of personalised information to which they have 24/7 access.

Complementary, not Conflicting

Portals and email may seem like opposing sides but, when properly integrated, can complement each other’s features and expand your communication facilities. Secure email, by nature, does not remove the need for client portals, or vice versa. Instead, it’s important for businesses to recognise the capabilities that both technologies can bring to the table, with each providing different USP’s that can be used at the right time and place for the most appropriate engagement.

From our own experience of building email encryption into business’ operations, it is when portals and emails work together that communication is most seamless and efficient.

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