We can all remember a time when we had a negative experience with a platform service. Perhaps we ran into a set of reoccurring errors or the platform was unreliable and continually crashed. The classical example of this might be the early days of Apple Maps. In any case, the common thread of these experiences is the feeling of frustration from valuable time lost, resulting in a tarnished relationship with the product.
Thankfully, in the world of APIs, customer-facing teams have taken note. Companies are now investing huge amounts of time and resources to remove platform bottlenecks to ensure that their customer experience is reliable and performant.
Yet, for a majority of these API-driven companies when it comes to understanding where their customers’ struggle and the specific types of errors that they are receiving it largely remains a reactive process. Simply put, the process relies on companies’ end-users to notify their support teams when things go awry with their APIs.
This reactive process of waiting for your customers to call in platform errors can result in detrimental outcomes, which can negatively impact both internal and external teams.
For internal teams this can create a sense of disarray, rushing from one fire drill to the next, barely keeping their heads above water. For example, when an internal team learns of a buggy endpoint that is causing their customer’s application to fail it often requires coordinating with multiple support teams, which have to move at lightning speed to make a quick fix. As you can imagine, this produces internal fatigue and prevents your customer success team from building trust and expanding your customer’s use case.
The effects of a reactive support process can certainly be felt at the customer level as well. As mentioned above, when a 3rd party API runs into a performance issue it can cause an entire service to fail. In this scenario, your customers are understandably irate, feeling as though you have not properly invested in the right technical resources to provide a reliable partnership. This could result in your customers looking elsewhere for a similar service or begin the process to build an internal version of your tool.
One of the key reasons API-driven organizations suffer from a reactive support process is that they are limited to errors happening on the server-side and not taking into account how their customer API usage is contributing to their platform’s overall reliability and performance.
In the world of APIs, errors can happen both on the server as well as on the client-side of the integration, therefore API support teams need a multi-lensed vantage point to drill into both infrastructure metrics as well as customer API usage metrics to remove platform errors. To learn more see the 15 API Metrics Every Platform Team Should Be Tracking.
For example, one of your customers could set up a faulty integration, which can unintentionally cause a spike in API usage. This can spell an availability problem that can starve the performance for the rest of your customer base and result in 503 errors. While conversely, a drop in API usage might be the canary in the coal mine of an impending technical issue with one of your endpoints that could eventually affect your entire customer base. In both cases, simply sitting and waiting for the end result won’t buy you any goodwill from your customers.
With the knowledge that errors and bugs within your API platform can result in major setbacks, customer-facing teams must look to reduce feedback loops at all costs. The best way to achieve this goal is to implement an API monitoring solution that provides you with automated alerts and tracks out every step of your customer journey, so you can take action before your customers are negatively impacted.
Let us know in the comments below what key API metrics you get alerts on or would like to see in the future.
Companies who are looking to provide a great customer experience and remove platform bottlenecks should look to Moesif to drill into exactly what their user did with your APIs and why their experience suffered, without spending hours in manual log search. In addition, Moesif empowers support teams to scale out their customer success efforts by getting timely automated alerts to prevent future fire drills.