How Interactive Self-Serve Guides Help You Elevate Customer Experience

How Interactive Self-Serve Guides Help You Elevate Customer Experience cover

Interactive self-serve guides are getting popular for a good reason: customer service takes a lot of effort and careful planning, so any simplified way is welcome.

To be effective with customer service, companies have to consider the product, audience, and the major channels customers like. What’s worse, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach—you’ll often find yourself needing multiple service channels.

So, having an interactive guide in your arsenal is a no-brainer because it helps to drive better user satisfaction while keeping costs low.

This article takes a deep look at interactive guides. Read on to learn what they are, the best practices for creating one, and the different engagement software you can use.


  • The self-serve approach to customer service provides users with the guidance and resources they need to learn and use the product themselves.
  • Interactive self-service guides are in-app resources that educate users on discovering and using features.
  • Different types of interactive guides include interactive walkthroughs and product demos/video tutorials.

Benefits of self-serve guides:

  • They offer self-service support with granular and contextual guides.
  • It’s a good way to reduce customer wait time.
  • Less load on your support agents—meaning the customer service team will have time to focus on more important tasks.

How to create interactive self-service guides:

  • Define your user persona: Create detailed personas highlighting your customers’ pain points, motivations, frustrations, etc. The information will help you decide on the content of your guide.
  • Find out your customers’ jobs to be done: They signed up because your product promises to help them hit their personal or professional goals. You can’t build contextual guides if you don’t know those goals.
  • Create interactive walkthroughs to showcase the features users need to complete their goals.
  • Trigger your guides to specific user segments: Segment users based on their goals on your app. Then trigger guides suitable for each segment.
  • Embed your guides inside a resource center to make it readily accessible.
  • Collect feedback and improve: short in-app surveys are great for this.

Best practices when creating customer self-service portals:

  1. Show different modules based on the user journey in your resource center.
  2. Localize your guides to drive more engagement.
  3. Analyze interactions with self-serve guides to uncover friction. This analysis will also show you what’s working so you can double down on that.
  4. Use customer self-service software for automation and speed.

Best customer self-service tools to consider:

  • Userpilot – best for building interactive self-service guides without coding.
  • Tolstoy- best for building interactive videos.

What is customer self-service?

The self-serve approach to customer service provides users with the guidance and resources they need to learn and use your product themselves.

The crux of self-service is to make customers more in control of their experiences. With this approach, your users can avoid contacting customer service representatives when they encounter problems. And more importantly, they can resolve issues at their convenience.

What are interactive self-serve guides?

Interactive self-serve guides are in-app resources that educate users on how to discover and use features.

These guides are created for different portions of the product, helping users transition smoothly as they move through the customer journey.

The traditional self-service solution is to build a knowledge base users can access when confused. That works until you have hundreds or thousands of articles. Even with a search feature, huge knowledge bases can frustrate users in two ways:

  • It takes time to get the right information.
  • You’d have to read several help guides if you needed more than one article to answer your question.

Interactive guides are a perfect solution to these problems.

Types of interactive self-serve guides

Interactive guides are typically in the form of walkthroughs or product demos containing simple steps to mastering the product. Let’s discuss them:

Interactive walkthroughs

An interactive walkthrough is a step-by-step product guide that helps users reach activation quickly.

It consists of pop-ups triggered contextually by user actions. The fact that users learn by taking action is an added advantage. Their experience with the product is enhanced after each interaction, and they will be ready to use the product by the time the onboarding is over.

Interactive walkthroughs work well for both primary and secondary onboarding.

Interactive walkthrough example from Rocketbots.

Product demos and video tutorials

These are aimed at educating prospects and new users on how to use a SaaS product. They generally consist of a screencast animation and step-by-step directions.

Demos/video tutorials and interactive walkthroughs effectively get new users up to speed with your tool. However, they have their uniqueness, so the one you choose depends on your goal.

An interactive walkthrough is better if you want new users to be actively involved in the onboarding process. They won’t see the next steps until they’ve taken the required actions in the present step.

Product demos and special video tutorials work best if you want something that doubles as a sales tool for converting more prospects.

Loom’s self-serve video tutorials.

What are the benefits of self-serve guides?

Interactive self-serve guides are a win-win for both businesses and customers.

Below are some of the most obvious benefits:

Offer self-service support with granular and contextual guides

Self-service support meets customers where they are. It’s triggered contextually and offers specific info when needed.

This improves the user experience because solutions are proactively provided before customer service issues pop up.

Reduce customer wait time

Self-service means customer wait time is reduced to zero.

Users can easily access self-serve guides from the app and solve any problems they have. There will be just a few exceptional cases where the customer will have to contact support.

Better engaged customer support teams

Your customer support team wouldn’t receive frequent queries because users are now helping themselves.

This free time will be used to work on complex and more important issues that will further enhance customer satisfaction.

How to create interactive self-service guides?

Now that you’ve seen the benefits, it’s time to show you how to create self-serve guides that customers will love.

Follow these steps:

Define your user persona

Creating interactive guides out of the blue will be ineffective. The first step is to understand your users and use that information to guide you every step of the way.

Create a detailed user persona capturing your customer’s pain points, challenges, motivations, etc. Doing this helps you to build guides that resonate and solve customer problems.

Your persona should be data-inspired—dig into your existing customer data. You can also conduct user surveys involving open-ended questions to find more information.

User persona template.

Find out your customers’ jobs to be done

The average SaaS company has many use cases. If yours falls into that category, then creating a general guide won’t cut it.

Instead, segment users based on their jobs to be done and tailor each guide to their needs.

It’s easy to find your user’s JTBD: use a welcome survey to ask targeted questions about their goals and what they want to achieve with your tool.

Keep your welcome survey simple and personalized like this.

Create interactive walkthroughs to showcase the features users need to complete their goals

Your interactive walkthroughs should combine tooltips that contextually guide users through your product and the features they need to complete their goal.

Of course, to do this well, you need to have created your user personas and know what each user group will be looking for on the app.

How to supercharge your walkthroughs for better engagement:

  • Use warm and inviting microcopy.
  • Focus on driving activation.
  • Ensure the interactive walkthrough a user sees depends on their objectives for using your platform.
Interactive walkthrough for user onboarding.

Trigger your guides to specific user segments

Revisit the data collected about your users’ JTBD. Use it to segment users based on their goals, and trigger specific guides that highlight the features they need.

You can’t do this manually. So, use tools like Userpilot to segment users and roll out interactive self-serve guides with ease.

User segmentation in action on Userpilot.

Embed your guides inside a resource center as part of a customer self-service strategy

It’s good to position your guides at critical touchpoints in the user journey. But what happens when a user needs to revisit the guide to remember something important?

They won’t know how to find it, and that can be frustrating. Solve this problem by embedding your guides in a resource center. Don’t forget to let customers know they can always go there when needed.

You can host this support portal outside your app—many people do. But it’s best to have it in-app, so users don’t have to leave the platform or open another tab to get information.

Example of an effective resource center.

Collect feedback and improve

You may not get it right on the first try, and that’s normal.

Use in-app surveys to gather feedback on your users’ experience with the guides. These surveys are preferably triggered immediately after the user interacts with your guide. The experience will be fresh in their minds, so you’ll get a more accurate answer.

You want to ensure your surveys get as much engagement as possible. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use concise microcopy.
  • Be specific about what you’re asking customers.
  • Keep the survey as short as it can be.

The most common tactic is to have emoticons users can select to describe their feelings, followed by a form to collect qualitative feedback. Not every user will take the time to type out their feedback. But those who do will provide context and show you what to work on/keep doing.


Create in-app surveys with Userpilot.

Always ensure to act on the feedback and improve; don’t just gather feedback for the sake of it.

Best practices when creating a customer self-service portal

Keep the following practices in mind to ensure your interactive self-serve guides and support portal are super effective:

Show different modules based on the user journey in your resource center

Split the documentation into modules to help customers find the resources they need without much effort.

You can split modules based on the user journey:

  • Getting Started module
  • Tutorial Videos (on separate features)
  • Case Studies
  • etc.

Userpilot can help you create a resource center with different modules and content formats. Try it.

Building a resource center from scratch.

Localize your guides

SaaS products are global by nature, so don’t limit yourself.

Localize your guides to make the product accessible to users in foreign markets with different languages and cultures.

This is also something we can help with. Get in touch if you need help localizing your in-app experiences.

If you already know how to localize, check this expert advice from Anna Iokhimovich on developing a solid localization strategy.

Content localization with Userpilot.

Analyze interactions with self-serve guides

Like feedback surveys, analyzing in-app activity allows you to see how your self-serve guides perform.

You’ll identify friction points and address them quickly before many users notice.

You can also see which user segments engaged with your guides the most. That way, you can explore further to know why others didn’t engage. Maybe the guides aren’t simple enough, aren’t personalized to that segment, etc.

Analyze in-app user activity with Userpilot.

Use a customer self-service software

You can build self-service guides in-house, but it’s time-consuming. It may take months to get everything up.

Why go through all that when you can use drag-and-drop customer self-service software?

Your support portal will be ready in a few hours or days, depending on the platform you use. And most customer self-service software has analytics to help you track results and improve, so it’s totally worth it.

The next section shows you two of the best software in the market.

Best customer self-service tools for improved customer experience

There are many customer self-service tools, each with its uniqueness. But you can’t go wrong choosing Userpilot or Tolstoy.

Let’s go over what each product can help you achieve:

Userpilot – best for building interactive self-serve guides without coding

Userpilot is a robust platform with all the features you need to improve customer experience through self-service.

Our software can help you:

  • Create in-app surveys and analyze the results with ease.
  • Use welcome screens and other methods to collect user data and segment them for personalized experiences.
  • Directly embed a video into your resource center, a tooltip, or a modal.
  • Create interactive guides and flows customized to your brand identity. You can also set the guides to be triggered for specific user segments.

Userpilot is a no-code tool, so everything mentioned above is 100% code-free.

Userpilot allows for easy video embedding.

Tolstoy – best for building interactive videos

Interactive videos engage users by letting them choose what they want to see next. Tolstoy is great for this.

The platform allows you to use a human face to personalize your guides. And you can have different interactive videos on different subjects in one place.

Tolstoy demonstrates the app’s value by spicing up its onboarding process with different types of onboarding videos on every page inside the app.

Tolstoy’s video tutorials.


Interactive guides improve the user experience because they’re contextual and available when users need them.

These self-service tools also mean less load on your support team. Every SaaS company should implement interactive guides to save time and win the affection of customers.

Ready to build interactive self-serve guides? Book a demo to discuss your situation and see how Userpilot can help.

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