- What to consider in a client facing project management software
- Best client facing project management tools in 2022
- Summing things up
If you’re running an agency, effective client communication and collaboration is key.
Think about the following scenario: When you’re working on a creative project and need some input from your client, where does that exchange usually happen? Via email? On a messy Google doc? In a thousand different places that are hard to keep track of?
A project management software with a client portal can save you from the headache of having to search around your inbox for that vital missing piece of information.
But not only that, it’s also a much more professional way to approach your relationship with your clients. It makes communicating easier than ever as well, which improves client retention and ultimately grow your revenue.
If you can nail your client communication, you set yourself up for success — and loyal customers. Client portals are one important piece of that puzzle.
What to consider in a client facing project management software
There are some important criteria and key features to consider when choosing the right client facing project management software for your business.
- Ease of use: You want software that is easy to use and understand, both for you and your clients. Specifically, focus on a tool that helps clients communicate seamlessly with your team.
- Business objectives As an agency owner you may have several goals: Get a better overview of client work, let client submit requests, or simply improve client retention. Start by laying down your business objectives with the tool so that you can choose the tools that helps you best do that.
- Compatibility: Not all software will work with all types of businesses. If you’re a creative agency, for example, you’ll want to go with one with features that caters to your industry.
- User Interface (UI): One of the greatest draws of using client facing software is that it’s attractive, clean, and professional looking. Don’t overlook its UI.
- Integration possibilities: What other tools does the software integrate with? Can they integrate with your existing tools directly or do they have a Zapier integration so that you can connect these tools together? (Related: 3 things you can automate with Zapier on ManyRequests)
- Cost: How big is your team? Does the software charge per team seat or per client? Is there unlimited storage?
- Support: How is the support of the company? Do they offer a migration service or can you reach out to them easily if issues arise?
- Customization and branding: Going with a fully customizable client facing portal is your best bet. There are some options out there that will allow you to use your own domain, logo, and colors. When you take things one step further and cater your portal to your client’s brand, that attention to detail is sure to impress them.
- Client onboarding and management: How will you onboard new clients? Is there a sign up feature or do they need to be added manually bu your team? Finally, is there a built in CRM or client list where you can track client activities and data?
- Support: Are clients able to submit support tickets?
- Delegation: If you have a team, how easy is it to delegate client requests and oversee their work?
- Collaboration: The whole idea behind using software like this is to be able to share, communicate, and collaborate more easily with your clients. You want a tool that makes sharing files, documents, images, and the like easy and straightforward.
- Automations: This type of software is also meant to make your lives easier, so automations are a very important key feature. You’ll want one that gives you the opportunity to create automated workflows and that notifies responsible parties when they need to complete a specific task.
- Safety: Security, data protection, and safety are paramount in a client facing project management tool. You need to protect your clients as well as yourselves. Cloud-based software that can be accessed anywhere must be able to securely store your data.
Now that you know exactly what to look for, let’s explore some of the best client facing project management tool options out there.
Best client facing project management tools in 2022
ManyRequests is a client portal software specifically built for agencies such as creative agencies, SEO and marketing agencies, as well as content writing services.
With the software, you can access can easily access files, reports, invoices, and project details, as well as communicate with your team and clients. We created the client portal to help you delegate client work, impress your clients, improve retention, and ultimately scale your agency (Related: How to grow an agency from $100k to $1m ARR)
Our portals are completely customizable — your clients will get the feeling that they’re working with an app that your business created. That level of professionalism is certainly hard to beat. From your perspective, you’ll be able to manage all of your clients in one convenient place. You’ll even be able to share and send invoices and embed dashboards and reports. The aim of our portal is to make communicating and completing projects with clients a breeze.
- Fully customizable
- Ability to create onboarding screens
- Invite clients and their teams
- Assign account managers to each client
- Clients can upload their assets
- Clients can request deliverables
- Custom request forms
- Embed Airtable
- Share Google Data Studio
- Zapier integration
- Basic: $129 per month (or $99/month if billed annually), best for smaller agencies
- Pro: $299 per month (or $249/month if billed annually), best for agencies looking to grow
- Enterprise: Custom, best for large agencies with unique needs
- Modern user interface
- The ability to use your own branding and domain name
- Can invite both clients and their team members to collaborate
- Clients can access their invoices at all times
- No webhook yet (but it’s in the pipeline) but you can use Zapier instead
Monday.com is a project management software that can also be used to manage clients. They are one of the top dogs in the industry, and you’ll likely come across them more than once when researching which tool will work best for you. The software uses the same features as their project management software (Kanban boards, Gantt charts, reminders) in their client portal.
Once you invite a client to collaborate with you in the shared workspace, they will be able to speak with your team members, give their feedback, and approve or reject tasks. It can help move a project along more quickly and efficiently, which is what having a client portal is really all about.
- Customizable dashboards
- Assign tasks to team members and clients
- Enables easy communication
- Individual: Free
- Basic: $8 per seat per month
- Standard: $10 per seat per month
- Pro: $16 per seat per month
- Enterprise: Custom
- A shareable workspace can be shared with your entire team
- Similar set up to Slack in that you can thread conversations
- Can embed links in messages and see when people have read messages
- No built-in invoicing
- Not client portal, only templates
- Can get expensive
Celoxis is a project management software with client portal capabilities. When you sign up for their most basic plan, you’ll have access to the portal without having to pay anything extra, making this one of the most accessible options on our list. You’ll be able to pick and choose exactly what you want your clients to see, which can be helpful if you want to keep an area of your project management tool private.
You’ll be able to share reports and files, have conversations, and even share your workflows. This can help keep the client in the loop as whatever you’re working on moves forward.
- Track project requests
- Plan projects with automations
- Create milestones, tasks, and projects in your dashboard
- Dynamic reports
- Customizable layouts and widgets
- Cloud: $22.50 per user per month, 5 user minimum
- On Premise: $450 per user billed once, 5 user minimum
- Optimized mobile UI
- Free 30-day trial
- Need to be careful about sharing settings as they can get complicated
- 5 user minimum for all offerings
Wrike is another well-known project management tool where you can create client facing dashbaords. It could work well with any sized team, and when you sign up for the software you’ll be able to share your workspaces with your clients at no extra cost. Wrike is all about taking email out of the picture and letting the project live and breathe within the software. The company offers customizable request forms, Gantt charts to stay organized, and dashboards, task lists, and workflows that you can custom-build.
Its UI is simple and attractive to the eye, making it a pleasure to work with. It’s also very easy to communicate within the software thanks to the commenting and @ mention feature. There are more than 400 integrations available as well.
- Ability to share files and reports directly with clients
- Automation through AI technology
- Custom request forms
- Free: Free, best for 1-5 users
- Professional: $9.80 per user per month, best for 5-200 users
- Business: $24.80 per user per month, best for 5-200 users and customization
- Enterprise: Custom, best for unlimited users
- Encourages collaboration
- Good for growing businesses that hope to scale
- Multiple portal views are available
- Need to pay more for customization
- No client portal but you can use templates to create client-facing dashboards
- Can get expensive
OneDesk is perhaps the simplest client facing project management software solution on our list. Their client portal feature works very similarly to a ticketing support system, but it offers much more than that as well. When you use their software, your clients will be able to send messages, track the status of those messages, and mark certain things as priorities.
There is also space within the portal to ask for new product features as well as share their ideas with your team. There’s also the possibility of embedding the client portal into your website as a sort of widget. This will give you clients easy access whenever they need something.
- Several integration possibilities
- Live-chat messenger for the client portal
- Web widget for your website
- Customizable knowledgebase for your clients
- Tailor-made web forms
- $11 per user per month (or $9 per user per month if paid annually)
- A transparent portal where clients can see the status of their requests
- Simple and easy to use UI
- Ability to import bulk tickets
- Limited features compared to other software
- Can feel more like a help desk instead of a client portal
- The UI can feel a little bit outdated
Client Portal for WordPress is ideal for freelancers and solopreneurs who want a more professional way of dealing with their clients. This one isn’t technically a project management software, but so many websites live on WordPress that we wanted to include it. You can use your favorite project management tool alongside the Client Portal to give your customers a better experience.
The Client Portal lives inside your website instead of inside a separate software, which can be appealing to people who don’t want to worry about installing yet another app or having to float between several different workspaces.
- Can mark items as complete
- Receive notifications when tasks are finished
- Ability to have multiple portals and projects
- Secure virtual URLs to keep data safe
- Single site license: $199 per year for one website
- Multi-site license: $399 per year for unlimited websites
- Can set you your availability hours within the portal so clients know when you’re likely to respond
- Easy to understand overview of your client projects
- The client can review what’s being worked on in real-time
- For WordPress users only
- Not a project management tool, so it’s difficult to delegate tasks if you have a big team
Accelo is a less well-known project management software that is all about streamlining your workflows. It’s aimed at service businesses in particular. Along those lines, it’s the most self-service client portal on our list. Customers can log into the portal on their own with special credentials where they can look at files, documents, and messages. They can then approve, reject, or give feedback on tasks within the project that you’re working on.
The client portal can be linked to the customer’s billing, invoicing, and payments. This can come in handy if anyone ever has a question about whether something has been paid when it was paid, and with what type of payment.
- Integrations available
- Keeps track of billing
- Project milestones, deadlines, and tasks
- Plus: $24 per product, per user, per month, minimum 5 users
- Premium: $39 per product, per user, per month, minimum 5 users
- Can create custom workflows that your clients can follow along
- Integrations include tools that you most likely already use with your clients
- Email notifications when someone is active in the portal
- 5 user minimum for all plans
- Offerings can feel overwhelming if you’re simply looking for a client portal
Consideration #1: What size is your team?
Before you consider a client facing project management software, you need to determine the size of your team. Most of the options above have different offerings depending on how many people you need to access the software and the portal. If you have a small group working for you, you can probably get away with the most basic plans available. If your team is larger, or if you want to have the freedom to share the portal with as many people as you’d like, you should opt for a more robust plan.
Consideration #2: Do you want a project management software, or simply a client portal?
It may seem obvious from the title of this article that yes, you are looking for project management software with client portal capabilities. That said, if you’re a freelancer who simply wants to appear more professional for your clients, you may not need one. In that case (and if you have a WordPress site), you may want to go with Client Portal for WordPress. Or, you may simply want to stick with some of the freemium plans available.
Consideration #3: What’s your budget?
We’ve mentioned the importance of budget before and we’ll say it again: there’s no use in signing up for one of the options above if it’s not in your budget. There are a lot of inexpensive options out there, and most if not all of them offer some sort of free trial. We always encourage you to try before you buy, in any case.
Consideration #4: How many projects will you work on each month?
The answer to this question will determine which software will work best for your business. If you only work on a few projects per month, go with an option that is easy to understand and use — you don’t need anything fancy. If you work on multiple and varying projects per month, you should go with software that is customizable and powerful.
Consideration #5: What type of business?
Do you have a creative agency? A small business? A large corporation? Or maybe you’re a solopreneur? Not all of these businesses are run in the same way, and so they all need a different type of software to support them. If you have a small business or an agency, we recommend software like ManyRequests. If you’re a larger corporation that shows no signs of slowing down, you may want to go with something like monday. If you’re a service business, Accelo has some great options for you.
Summing things up
At the end of the day, you know your business and its needs best. Consider those needs and the criteria that we outlined at the beginning of this article as you do your research. Things like usability, cost, UI, customization, and collaboration are all essential. When you begin to weed through the many options, make sure that they line up with those key features.
Here at ManyRequests, our client portal software aims to help you manage your projects, communicate with your customers, send invoices, and collaborate on tasks with ease. The fact that it’s completely customizable gives you the ability to make your portal your own — all with your own brand colors and logo. In this way, your customers will feel like they’re working with your very own app. This level of professionalism can be a huge win for your agency.