Subscription management

Choosing a Self-Service Customer Billing Portal

January 22, 2024
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Need a way for your customers to manage their subscriptions and need it fast? A hosted customer billing portal may be just the solution.

When you’re building and launching a new product, probably the last thing on your mind is dealing with customer billing changes and cancellations. But every subscription-based business has customers that need to update their credit card, change their billing address, track down an invoice or stop service.

Example of self-service subscription management in Audible

Teams are often faced with the choice of building self-service billing management options that divert focus and resources from higher priority work, or letting the burden fall to support staff, who must handle these cases manually. Neither is ideal. That’s where a hosted customer billing portal comes in.

A hosted billing portal is a no-code alternative to a custom-built solution. This type of portal works seamlessly on top of your subscription platform (such as Stripe) to provide your customers with typical subscription management features. Integration takes almost no time, and branding options make the portal feel just like an extension of your site.

You may already have access to a free portal with the basics offered by your subscription billing platform, but it’s worth your time considering third-party options with advanced features like the free ProsperStack Customer Portal.

What is a customer billing portal?

A customer billing portal is a self-service website that allows customers to view and manage payment details, change or cancel subscriptions, view invoices and perform other billing-related tasks.

A self-service billing portal is a must-have for most subscription-based businesses, including SaaS, media & entertainment, telecom & utilities, and box subscriptions. Internet-savvy customers expect it, while more and more regulations require it, not to mention it reduces support tickets for repetitive and trivial billing needs.

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A hosted portal provides the same subscription management features, but without the development work. Integration is about as simple as adding Google Analytics to your website. Better yet, most are free.

Homegrown vs. hosted

It’s a question teams face frequently: build or buy?

Or in this case: build or free?

While a custom-built solution is always going to give you the most flexibility, building your own billing management features requires significant effort for minimal payoff. Is it worth taking your team’s time and focus off your core offering? Your billing portal won’t make or break sales.

A hosted customer portal can be up and running in an hour instead of days or weeks. Plus, most hosted options are free, making the choice a no-brainer, especially for small teams building an MVP.

Is the portal offered by my subscription provider good enough?

A basic customer portal option is becoming standard for subscription platforms, but these “bare bones” offerings may lack important features, such as customizable cancellation flows and retention offers to incentivize customers to stay. ProsperStack's free Customer Portal has those and more.

Key features of a customer billing portal

Hosted solutions come in different sizes and shapes, but most offer these basic features.

  • No- and low-code integrations - Ease of integration is a primary benefit of a hosted portal. Simply copy and paste the portal URL into your site and you’re done. Or you have the option to embed the portal into a page on your site for an even more seamless end-user experience.

  • Integrated with your subscription billing platform - The secret sauce of hosted portals. Connecting your subscription billing platform, such as Stripe, Chargebee and Recurly, makes it possible to display your customers’ billing information and modify it at their request.

  • Customizable to match your brand - Some level of visual customization is usually supported, such as uploading your logo, choosing colors, or custom CSS.

  • View and download invoices - Allow customers to view and download past invoices.

  • Update payment method - Update credit card or other payment methods, change billing and shipping addresses.

  • Change plan - Offer options to upgrade or downgrade the customer’s plan.

  • Cancel subscription - You’ll find this option in all hosted portals, but not all do it right. A well-designed cancellation experience can be both a powerful customer success tool by generating valuable insights from exit surveys, and also a key retention strategy utilizing discounts or other offers to incentivize customers to stay. We should know, we’re the cancellation flow experts. Our free Customer Portal can help you save up to 30% of customers that go to cancel.

2 Questions to Ask in Every Customer Exit Survey

Choosing a hosted portal

Your subscription platform may offer a customer billing portal as part of its feature set. This is becoming more and more a must-have for customers. But the default solution may lack certain features. It’s worth considering a third-party option, like ProsperStack’s retention-focused Customer Portal.

ProsperStack’s free customer billing portal

The Customer Portal from ProsperStack is a free, retention-optimized customer billing portal that provides essential self-service subscription management features for your website. Low- and no-code options make it easy to get set up.

The cherry on top is the ProsperStack cancellation flow. Collect feedback to understand why customers leave and entice more to stay with discounts and other offers. You may be able to save up to 30% of customers.

It works automatically with your subscription platform. We support Stripe, Chargebee, Maxio, Recurly, and Braintree.

The free Customer Portal is coming soon from ProsperStack, the cancellation flow experts.

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