Is your C.U.P. (Customer Utility Portal) helping you?

Think of an app or a web portal you use on nearly a daily basis (if not hourly). Or, better yet, open it while you're reading this article. But before you get into the flow of using the portal, start thinking about the portal. What has brought you there? Why do you engage with it so often? What about the user experience makes it easy to use? And finally, what does that app or portal say about the company that has built it for you?

Here's an example. My home internet provider has an app that lets me test my connection and restart the network if I need to, set profiles for myself and my kids (and restrict their connectivity time), and find weak Wi-Fi spots in the home. I use it a few times a week in the frequent negotiations with one of my teenage sons on his gaming hours. It's simple and intuitive. The one thing I wish were easier is identifying which connected devices are which and to whom they belong.

What does the experience say about this company? They've figured out that a lot of the calls they must have received can be solved using a phone; and they know that I'm focused on security, reliability, and device management. But I don't know anything about the company itself. Another provider with a comparable app could get my business, and I have no loyalty to the company short of the hassle factor of changing.

Now go to your own utility customer portal. No, really, I mean it. Go there.