Common Practices for Using the fp. Portal
The fp. Portal enables your clients to submit work requests, approve estimates, view files, add notes, and track job statuses and progress online - anytime, from any browser or operating systems.
You can determine how much or how little each portal user can do or see, as well as arrange for these portal users to receive email or in-portal alerts regarding estimated or active work with your agency.
The fp. Portal is a flexible tool, that we see different agencies use in different ways - some using every possible bell and whistle, and others using only the basic features. Some use the portal to receive and manage work for external clients, while others use as a way to receive and manage collateral requests from internal team members on the road.
Let's review a common scenario in this article, keeping in mind that you are not tied to follow this workflow. It will be noted on each step if it is showing the portal view (what the portal user would see or do), versus the office view (what the agency user would see of do).
And be encouraged to review these other resources as well:
Create Brief Templates (office side)
Templates can be up to two pages, giving you the ability to have one page of questions open for your client to answer via the portal, with others on the second page, not visible on the portal, to be answered internally.
Questions are only limited to your imagination, and answers can be provided in a wide variety of ways - such as text, date pickers, website urls, file uploads, multi-select checkboxes, radio buttons and dropdown menus.
Adding an answer can also be made as a requirement, and answer hints (Inline Help Text) is optional to add and show.
Save questions as you go, and "Finish With This Brief Template"when done.
To learn more detailed steps for completing brief templates, please review this article: Creating Brief Templates
Give your client fp.Portal access (office side)
Any contact in your fp. system who is NOT a staff member on your team, can be granted portal access. From any Contact page, click the tab called Client Portal.
- Click Enable Login.
- Enter a User Name and Password of your choosing for this person. If you are going to be adding several portal users, you might want to consider establishing a formula for user names and passwords, to keep things simple - ie. user names are always First Name, Last Name, and passwords are always first initial, last name.
Click Submit when done.
Now you can make selections from a list of portal permissions, what this portal user should be able to see and do in the portal. Click Submit when done.
You can then share these login credentials with your portal user as you see fit.
To learn more detailed steps on adding users and permissions, please review these articles:
Portal user submits a work request (portal side)
The portal user will login to fp. just like a regular user - either via the fp. website, or via your company login page.
Portal users will see a very different version of your fp. system, but in a semi-similar layout - there is a main navigation bar that includes Requests, Active Work, Files, Discussion and Admin, and Alerts, and the logout option in the top/ top right.
Portal users will land on the Active Work tab, but can navigate easily to other tabs.
Note that the portal banner image, and colour scheme can be modified as you wish. Please review this article to learn more:
Clicking the Requests tab, will take portal users to the place they can see and fill in the brief template(s) you created. On the first page, they will complete some standard details including a Delivery Date, and a Description. Any required fields are starred in orange.
Portal users click "Save & Next" to move to the next page.
They now see the questions/ answer types from the template that you chose to display.
When ready, the portal user can "Submit Request."
Submission is received, reviewed & converted into an Estimate (office side)
The submitted brief can be found within your fp. system, in the Briefs module, or under the client Company. Click the name of the brief to go into the details, and make further changes to it as needed.
Click Edit Details.
In edit mode, the Brief is broken into 3 tabs - Basic Info, Page 1 and Page 2. Changes can be made to any of these.
On Page 2 we had created a couple of questions to be addressed internally. Click Submit to save changes.
And when you're ready to convert this brief into an estimate, click Add Estimate in the top right.
Many fields on the Add Estimate page, will have filled themselves in based on the information in the Brief. Complete any remaining required fields, any optional fields, and select the appropriate services and expenses. Required fields are marked in blue.
Remember to select any services or expenses you will need in order to get this work done, and click Submit when ready.
On the Services tab, enter hours and values, add or remove lines, and add descriptions as you see fit. Click Save when done.
Use the Notify Client option to send the Estimate off to your client for review, or just move the status to Submitted. Estimates in the Submitted status are visible on the portal.
Estimate is reviewed (portal side)
Back in the portal, our portal user can now see the Estimate created based on her earlier brief submission. The portal user can choose to View, Approve or Decline the estimate.
The Estimate will remain available in the portal for the user to review again as needed.
Job created & work proceeds (office side)
Over in the fp. system, the Estimate is immediately updated with the status change. Now just click Add Job, to convert this Estimate into live work.
From the Job, you can add more internal and client Contacts, create Tasks or a Schedule, staff can track time, and you can generate invoices.
And as you add Notes or Files to this Job, you can control what is or is not Client Visible (visible within the portal). There is no limit to the number of files you add, only an individual file size limit of 50Mb.
Client stays informed
And as you do these actions, depending upon the level of access granted to your portal user, they can stay informed on job progress, and related notes, files and reports.
Work is completed, new work is added
As work gets wrapped up, it will be removed from the Active Work tab in the portal, and new work will show as it is added. Portal users will only see Active Work for Jobs on which they are a job contact. As the fp. user, you can add or remove their portal access, or portal permissions and alerts at anytime.