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vTiger Customer Portal: What it is and How to set it up

The Vtiger Customer Portal is an online add-on for Vtiger’s CRM software that allows customers to file tickets for product problems through vendors’ websites. The portal organizes the tickets and allows customer’s support to choose tickets and follow through with customers. This article will tell you how it works and set it up in your website.
vTiger Customer Portal. How its works

Working with vtiger Customer Portal comprises two parts. On the CRM side, the vtiger CRM user creates Portal Users, and customer support persons update the status of the trouble tickets. On the Customer Portal side, the customer logs in to the Customer Portal, submits the trouble tickets, and views the solutions provided by the vendor.

Let’s go step by step through the entire workflow:

Customer names are registered in vtiger CRM. Inside the Contacts’ module the user will find the following fields:

Once you allow your customer to access your customer portal, he will get an email with his username and password to sign in to the portal.

After logging in, customers will first see the Knowledge base. If the solution for the problem is not available, they will submit trouble ticket through Ticket Submission Web form. This ticket is fetched into vtiger CRM server and displayed under Trouble Tickets module.

Customer Support Person or Administrator of a particular group can pickup the trouble tickets submitted by customers and assign the ticket to a person or group. An automated E-mail will be sent to the customer about the ticket’s status.

After the Customer Support Person resolves the trouble ticket, the solution will be displayed in the ticket’s details inside the Customer Portal. After reviewing the solution, the customer has two options: either to close the ticket, or to send further details if the ticket solution has not met his expectations.

How to set up vTiger Customer Portal

Setting up vtiger customer portal is as easy as to unzip a zip file and change only two parameters inside the unzip directory.

1. The first step is to download vtiger Customer Portal files from sourceforge.netwebsite.

2. Extract the vtigercrm-customerportal-5.4.0.zip file to an appropriate location in your Website. This location should be accessible from the web. Keep in mind that this is the location where you will ask your customer to go to submit their tickets.

After extracting the file, your directory will look like: YourWebSite/customerportal/ or something similar. You can also modify the directory name as you need it.

3. Once you have extracted the files into your web directory, you need to modify the PortalConfig.php file present under YourWebDirectory/customerportal/ as given below:
Server_Path: Specify the absolute path (URL) of the vtiger CRM server. For example, if your vtiger CRM server is running at http://vtigercrm.com/demo means you need to specify the Server_Path as given below

Server_Path = “http://vtigercrm.com/demo”
Authenticate_Path: Specify the absolute path (URL) of the vtiger Customer Portal directory in your Web site. For example, if you have extracted the vtiger Customer Portal related files in to your Web site at http://yourwebsite.com/demo/portal means you need to specify the value for Authenticate_Path parameter as given below:

Authenticate_Path = “http://yourwebsite.com/demo/portal”
Now save the PortalConfig.php file.

4. The last thing is to modify the Look and Feel of the Portal pages as per your Website requirements. By default, customerportal.css file is bundled with vtiger Customer Portal. With some CSS knowledge, it is possible to make the customer portal look more like your website.
Customize vTiger customer portal

By default vTiger does not allow much customization in customer portal. From the CRM settings you are able to edit the following options in the customer portal:

You may also change the complete layout of the Portal if you have working knowledge on PHP, HTML, and CSS. You can also add terms and conditions, how to use customer portal, policy statement and other details as per your organization requirements.

Now your Customer Portal is ready for customers to post their Trouble tickets.
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