Zoho, a renowned cloud-based software suite, offers a plethora of applications designed to streamline your business processes. However, one size doesn’t fit all, and this is where customization becomes crucial. Customizing Zoho to meet your unique needs can transform the way you work and make your operations more efficient.

Case Study – Putting the Custom in Customer Portal:

At Hero, we often set up Zoho systems solely for internal operations, but Zoho offers a customer portal as well. With the customer portal, you can put a front-end on your system. Your customers can log in and access, create, and update their own data.

Zoho handles a lot of customer operations that you might take for granted, such as a login system or user security mechanisms. Consider how you, as a website visitor, can read this blog post, but our site admin can read it, update it, or delete it. This isn’t something the average user thinks about, but it’s necessary for everything to function properly. Just like Zoho streamlines everyday business operations, it also facilitates these must-have customer operations. As a developer, this is huge because it means I spend more time developing custom solutions for clients, instead of a login system for the 100th time. This also saves the need to create a custom integration between a third-party site where all your customer data is input and Zoho, where all the data will eventually end up.

The Customer Portal looks good out of the box. It has a clean and intuitive user interface with a subtle bit of flare. And this look makes sense when appealing to a wide market of businesses. When this doesn’t always make sense, however, is when your business has a strong sense of brand identity that you want to convey to your customers. The default look doesn’t always work for everyone.

Zoho understands this and provides you with the options to use a custom domain, update your portal title and logo, and even offers a built-in editor for the user authentication screens and emails. But it doesn’t have to stop there: with a bit of custom development, Zoho provides you with a variety of tools to completely overhaul the front-end if that is what you’re looking for.


The Challenge:

One of our clients works in the packaging industry. They provide events & seminars to their members with a focus on sustainable yet stylish packaging. As a result, they wanted their member portal to convey the same look and feel as their website. Chunky 70’s inspired fonts, Angular geometric borders and accents, and lots of color. Hero worked closely with them and their design firm to get the exact look they wanted.

The landing page featured a banner carousel with members of the month, a dynamic list of events and courses, and also a preview of their networking space. It’s features had to be able to be managed from within the Zoho App. Just like with a WordPress site, for example, it needed to be easy to manage the page content without any development experience required. Not only did we overhaul the Zoho front-end, but we turned the back-end into a full-blown content management system for both the client and their customers.

Site admins could add course and event listing information into a form and, using a custom Zoho Creator page (similar to an HTML template), it could be displayed nicely as a standalone web page. Similarly, VIP Portal members could edit a business profile page that would be featured on the home page. They could embed image and video content to advertise their latest products and packaging innovations, link to their website, and list their key personnel and contact information to network with other members.


The Outcome:

They had a successful rollout of their portal to about 500-ish members, and we have worked with them since the initial launch to make updates to allow for metrics tracking. In addition to updating and maintaining their member portal, they now have reporting insights on visitor/click-through metrics made by individual members.



Customizing Zoho can be a game-changer for your business. By tailoring Zoho modules, automating workflows, creating custom reports, integrating with other tools, controlling access, and even writing custom scripts, you can transform Zoho into a powerhouse that meets your unique needs.

Remember that customization should be an ongoing process. As your business evolves, your Zoho setup should evolve with it. Regularly review and fine-tune your customizations to ensure that Zoho remains a valuable asset for your organization. Embrace the power of customization, and unlock the full potential of Zoho to drive efficiency, productivity, and growth in your business.


Peter Babb