Now imagine this. To create this survey, you need to log in to the tool, dial up a customer care executive, wait in the never-ending queue, and talk to the person to understand how the survey tool will work. Further, to customize the surveys, you need to speak again to the customer care executive. 

In this world of instant gratification, this whole experience can make you feel frustrated. As a result, you will either give a low NPS score or, even worse, you will leave and never return. 

Definitely, not a very desirable outcome for any SaaS business. 

But there is a solution. You can convert your SaaS tool into a self service model. But what is a self service model and how do you switch to one? And how can it help you drive revenue? Let's dive in to understand better.

A research report forecasted that the customer self service software market is expected to register a CAGR of 20.94% between 2020 to 2025. That’s because more organizations are understanding the importance of self service software that allows instant access to information, personalization, and saving time for all. 

#1 What are the different SaaS models?

Self service saas. Models of saas

There are three types of SaaS models.

Self service model:

Self service SaaS models are common in low-cost SaaS products. The customers can self service, so you don't need dedicated customer care teams to handhold the customers during the onboarding or when the user interacts with the tool. 

The transaction sales model:

In this model, the product value is on the higher side, meaning for conversion you need a dedicated sales team. 

The enterprise model:

It has a complex and long sales cycle. You need to have a large sales team to convert the customer. 

#2 What is a self service SaaS model?

As mentioned, self service is a SaaS model where the customer can use the tool themselves without needing to hand-hold. This model helps you to scale growth as you don't need dedicated sales teams.

However, you need to segment your users into different categories and identify areas where they can do self service and where you need a transactional model. 

#3 Features of a self service SaaS model

1.  You should have a frictionless sign-up experience without interacting with the sales or customer representative in a few clicks. 

2.  Self-explanatory features usage: Features usage is explained in-product and learnt by using the product.  You don't need to speak to anyone to understand it; they are self-explanatory.

3.  Welcome screen: you get to see a personalized welcome screen without talking to a customer representative.

4.  Knowledge base: You find all the solutions to your queries on the resource/support page or interact with a live chatbot on the screen. You don't talk to anyone to solve your queries.

5.  Help center widget: Since it is located right inside the tool, you can find all the information right inside the tool. You don't need to speak to anyone or visit the website to scout for information. 

Self service saas. Features

#4 Why does the self service SaaS model work?

There are many benefits of the self service SaaS model. A few of them include:

1.  A self service model opens the funnel to a broad section of people. Many of self service SaaS use a trial or a freemium model, which means prospective users can get started with using and exploring the tool without having to engage in conversation with anyone in your team. 

2.  If you have segmented rightly, have great product features, and offer value from day one, it is likely for the users to convert and upgrade in no time. Thus a well-thought-through self service SaaS model has a fast sales cycle. 

3.  Everyone on the team directly contributes to the product's growth. Every team member ( engineer, sales representatives, and marketers) has equal responsibility in doing their part for faster product adoption. 

4. Since the self service model is not sales driven, the growth is a nonlinear curve. It works best for new SaaS products that do not have funding to invest in your sales or marketing. Moreover, the core team can focus on product development instead of worrying about sales and marketing. 

5. Self service is a time saver for all. If your target audience is dispersed globally, they can sign up or upgrade anytime. They don't need to wait or negotiate with the sales representatives. If you have self service automation, you can drive and close sales 24 x 7 as there is no human intervention or closing time. 

#5 How to start/switch to a self service SaaS model?

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started or switch to the self service SaaS model.

1. Listen to what your customers are saying

Interview your customers to identify who is using your products, your target audience, and understand their needs. Find out how your product is solving their problem. 

Do you have a wow moment in your product that delights the customer? Which is the longest phase in the product journey that needs some handholding? 

What is the adoption point which will compel your users to stay? Asking such questions can help you understand what success means for your customers using your tool. 

2.  Track your metrics

Determine how you want to measure success, and once you know that, determine the metrics you want to measure. For example, it can be the key usage metrics or time spent on a particular feature metric.

3. What does the customer journey look like?

Determine the lifecycle of your product and map it with the customer journey. Break them into different segments and how the user interacts in each stage. Determine the conversion goal for each segment and tag it to a designated email campaign that triggers the user to hop on that segment.

For example, if the goal for a particular segment is to join the Freemium, then a targeted email is triggered. A particular metric measures this. The user then moves on to the next segment and so on. 

4.  Set up automation

Now that you know what delights your customers, set up an automation process to help them move faster from one stage to another. 

For example, if you want to set up email automation, choose an automation tool. 

Pick the user behavior when you want to target your messaging and automate the process. This means when a user reaches a particular segment, an automation email is triggered. 

5. Set up an efficient customer support

Support your automation process with a helpdesk tool so that if a user reaches out for more information, the helpdesk tool does its job. This eliminates the need for checking manually with each user. 

6. What is the wow moment?

Your customers are coming to your tool to solve a particular tool. The earlier you solve the problem, the better the chances of retention because they will be coming back to you for more. 

So once you identify the different user segments, identify the one task the user needs to solve. Focus on that.

Educate your audience with content. Remember, your ultimate goal is to wow them at every stage. 

#6 The different parts of a self service SaaS model

1. Versatility in signing up

Your customers want versatility and flexibility when signing up and logging in to the tool. This critical stage may cause unexpected churn if their demand is not met. 

For example, some customers may prefer a single sign-on, while few may prefer multi-factor authentication for signing up, depending on their geographies. 

You need to manage such expectations while scaling your business constantly.

2. Onboarding

If you are building your first SaaS product, know that your SaaS users won't prefer to wait to get on a call with the customer care representative for their onboarding. 

So you need to introduce a self service model during user onboarding along with tooltips and popups that can guide the user throughout the onboarding process. 

3. Support

Customer support is another important aspect where users prefer self service for basic actions like managing profiles, adding more team members, access to the audit logs for compliance, managing permissions, roles, etc.

Integrating live chat support in this process can be a good idea where the user can be guided in real-time. Remember, your ultimate goal is to remove friction and increase customer engagement with the tool.

4. Documentation

Documentation is important to converting your users and growing your businesses. Create an online knowledge base for your users, create interactive chatbots, and make it easy for your users to interact with the tool. 

This will help the user to self-educate and find all the information on the go without writing an email or calling your customer service team. 

#7 Examples of self service saas businesses

 1. MarbleFlows: self service and lead generation tool

MarbleFlows is a great example of a self service and lead generation tool. The signup is super simple. You just need to provide your email. No other details! Once in the tool, you can browse the templates and create your Flows. 

Self service saas. MarbleFlows

2. MailChimp: Self service email marketing tool

One great example of self service email marketing tool is MailChimp. To get started you can create a free sign-up, provide your email details, give an username and you are good to get started and explore the tool. If you like it, you can upgrade to any of the plans. 

Self service saas. Mailchimp

3. Freshbooks: self service accounting tool

Freshbooks is a self service accounting tool for busy business owners and accountants. The tool offers invoices, managing expenses, payments, reporting, time tracking, and more to help you manage your books. 

The tool has a versatile login option like email, sign in through Google and sign in through Apple. 

Self service saas. Freshbooks

4. KEKA: Self service HR tool

KEKA is an example of a self service HR tool that lets you automate all the people processes, keep them engaged at work, and help you drive a people-centric culture. You can get a basic trial of the tool by incorporating your name, email, and contact number. 

Self service saas. Keka

Key takeaway 

Self service software is a popular SaaS model ideal for any new SaaS business because it aims to remove friction in different user segments and wow the customers.

Since human interaction is minimal, it offers instant gratification to the customer, which improves retention and reduces churn. If you are planning to switch to the self service model or looking to start your self service SaaS, this article can help you get started. 

Written by Chayanika Sen.