November 14, 2019

When should you add a self-service customer billing portal?

Shar Darafsheh @darafsheh

Question for SaaS founders, when do you build the functionality to let customers self-service their subscriptions? Before the MVP launch? after the initial traction? after x customers?

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    This is going to be 100% based on your pricing. Selling 10k a month software to banks? You'll probably never need to add this. Just have each customers account representative handle the billing.

    Now if you are selling $7.99 a month software to consumers, this needs to be baked into the product from day 1.

    I'm guessing you're somewhere in between, so you will have to make a judgment call. For me personally I have a B2B SaaS selling directly to funeral homes at about $150-$200 a month. We have some integrations with Stripe, but for the most part we haven't bothered building this yet. It just hasn't been necessary.

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    I've been asking myself the same question but in order to make self-service subscriptions fully functional I need to add additional functionality to quite a few other aspects of the application. So instead of going down that rabbit hole - which I would very much like to do - I'm going to focus on the not scalable method of manually dealing with and being intimate with customers.

    I'll probably look at adding it once I've seen some demonstrated success and positive business feedback doing it manually, and I can set aside some time for development work. For now, getting more users on the platform is more of a priority.

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    I think it depends a bit on how confident you are that the product is going to get traction and how much time it would take to build. I'm launching payments in a few days and decided to put off self-service and plan on just being super responsive via support so I can manually change or cancel through Stripe. If people are buying I'm probably going to get self-serve in pretty quick though.

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      Thanks, @Gabe .. At what point would you say "yes, it has traction, I'm ready for a self-service portal"? and what would be the initial functionalities you'd put in place?

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        Actually I'm not sure! With a few of my past projects I skipped self-service, got no traction, so was happy I didn't bother lol. With my current one, I'd probably roll out a way for users to cancel their plan within a couple-weeks of taking payment. There's all sorts of other things, like viewing payment history, that I'd push way down the road until users actually ask for it.

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          I see... I've built a customer portal UI for Stripe Billing and want to better understand the process founders like yours are taking to build it. Would love to hear your feedback on this when you get a chance: servicebot.io/subscription-portal

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            Oh very cool! I think this is a great idea. I'm probably not your target market, as my startup (divjoy.com) is a React web app builder. So at some point I'll want to build all this stuff for myself and also include as components for my end-users to use. Although, down the road maybe we could talk about adding a servicebot component to Divjoy 🤔

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              great! well if you end up looking into it and had any feedback, I'd love to hear it. And when you get to that component, DM me and I would love to share my experience and brainstorm ideas with you.. We are working on a react component that could be helpful for you :)

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                Awesome, will keep an eye on your product and reach out a bit later. Cheers!

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