This is a guest post by Gaetan Gachet, Head of Business Development at Algolia.
Algolia is a software editor that provides an instant search API, optimized for database search and navigation. Algolia removes the technical hassle of implementing and configuring meaningful and performant search as you type on web and mobile apps. They are the guys behind Hacker News’ search.
The bottom right “Chat with us” button checks if Algolia employees are online and then creates a public guest room for real-time support
Algolia’s first steps with HipChat
As a young company, iterations happen so often and have such a strong impact that we need to make sure everyone, from the developers to the sales guys, has the same level of information at any given time. HipChat lets us do that.
Our first extension of HipChat was to implement public chat rooms to track notifications from our GitHub repository to know what is happening on our website. We see notifications for every GitHub commit, deployment and various bugs on our website. We then began tracking deal flow as well. Now the whole company gets notified whenever a new user signs in or converts.
This has been tremendous for the daily life of our team. Nobody gets left behind and everyone can share his input, even on topics he is not directly involved in.
How one specific need pushed us to think out of the box!
As we matured we realized that the technical nature of our product, a simplified API for real-time search, required greater customer support. We feared losing potential customers along their journey because we weren’t answering their immediate questions or recognizing unidentified friction.
To overcome this, we needed an outstanding live support process to assist existing customers and first-time visitors on our website. The obvious choice was to go with a live support solution but we wanted a solution that could integrate with HipChat.
“Specifically, we did not want to separate our customer support from our internal communication and notification processes. We didn’t find any solution that would do that, so we built it, using HipChat’s API!”
Also, public chat rooms are not limited to a single user. This is very helpful on our end for multi-level/multi-topic support. For instance, we can have our CTO and Business Dev team members answering questions in the same chat room.
This is also true on our customers’ end. As long as they are logged in their Algolia account, anyone on their side can access the chat room. It makes live support a lot easier and allows us to efficiently tackle all the problems in one conversation.
HipChat is particularly well suited for our developer-focused support. We can easily share screenshots and code examples. These developers often use HipChat in their own work environment and they are very comfortable using it.
How Algolia’s HipChat based live support works…
See the code here
Whenever a user hits this button, we use HipChat’s API to check if anyone on our team is available.
If none of Algolia’s employees are online, the raised popup just invites the user to send us an email
If one of us is online, we create a chat room using the API and display it for the user directly on the website.
On our end, every time a user wants to start a conversation, we use HipChat’s API to notify our team (the admin) that someone wants to chat. We only select “Available” accounts connected from the desktop HipChat client.
Everyone who is available gets notified like this:
Algolia’s available team members are @mentioned by name in a new chat room
We also offer a “full-screen” mode so that the user can keep chatting with us while using our website. We just split the page in two parts using HTML iframes.
Algolia customers can chat in real-time via HipChat even when they are logged into their Algolia account
Finally, we have set up a daily job that deletes temporary rooms created during the day. This job also backs up the conversations on Dropbox for later usage.
Oh one more thing: because Guest Access is free, it costs us nothing more than our existing HipChat plan!