It’s 2018, so you’ve probably signed something electronically by this point – maybe with HelloSign, maybe not. Or maybe you’re not even sure! That’s part of the power of HelloSign’s API – you can white label the signer page to replace HelloSign's electric blue logo with your company's own.
To support all that great functionality, we’re proud to offer not only a developer-friendly API, but a team of API Support Engineers along with it.
Since API Support is such an integral part of our company, we wanted to share a bit about why we value API Support and how we’ve measured its success here at HelloSign.
Why We Invested in API Support
We’ve seen – and you might have experienced – that developer support isn’t always a priority at some companies. We wanted to change that landscape by providing developers with the proper support they deserve. So we built out an API Support team!
You might hear “API Support” called different names like “Developer Support,” “Success Engineering,” or “Support Engineering,” but it all boils down to one thing: helping our customers.
The API Support Team’s job is to ensure that integrating the HelloSign API is as seamless as possible so developers can, in turn, create awesome products. We work with everyone from end users to system integrators, and developers to CTOs. We also work with business decision makers who aren’t familiar with APIs or web development.
We maintain a unique skill set that helps us to identify and adapt to various audiences so we can best support them. So aside from getting full reports on our customers’ final products, exactly how do we support our customers?
At HelloSign, we have a few ideas:
1. Fast Response Times
In API Support, we empathize with the urgency of developer requests. This is especially true when it directly relates to a company’s uptime and revenue. Response time is critical in these situations, as it assures customers that we are working on a resolution as quickly as possible. We do this by maintaining open communication between affected customers and our Web Development and DevOps teams.
How quickly will we respond to you? At the time of this article, the average first reply time was 6.55 hours within the last 30 days. Since developer support tickets often involve extensive testing in various backend and frontend languages, the bulk of this research is done before the first response. That way we’re able to provide an answer rather than ask for more information.
2. Test Applications and Internal Knowledge Base
Part of API Support is to identify if the customer issue relates to the code, SDK, or API as a whole. HelloSign has six official Software Developer Kits (SDKs):
On any given day, we could get tickets in every language that would require testing. It’s critical for the team to have test applications ready in all of these languages. Having a test application ready allows us to narrow down the possibilities as quickly as possible.
Success in this area means we’re ready for any of these languages at a moment’s notice. The team should have some knowledge of a wide breadth of languages and the ability to recognize what’s being used and if the customer is using an SDK or raw HTTP requests; as well as a multitude of potential MV* frontend frameworks like Angular or React.
Along the same vein, we maintain an internal knowledge base of articles that team members can access as a quick reference. For example, we have an option for placing signer fields on a document called form_fields_for_document, which includes x-y coordinates. One article contains code examples for all six languages that can be sent quickly to a customer who is trying to implement this feature. We use these articles internally to help our customers. We also have a robust Help Center, where FAQs are posted and customers can get their answers immediately.
3. SDK Maintenance
The HelloSign API official libraries are public and open source, which allow our customers to submit issues and pull requests directly on the GitHub repositories. Of course, many minds are better than one!
Ensuring our libraries are up-to-date allows our customers to use all the features, endpoints, and parameters that our API supports. The API Support Team manages these GitHub repositories so that our customers can benefit from the correct information! We’re then able to make quick fixes when a customer writes in that will get them up and running faster.
For example, a customer recently alerted API Support that the Ruby SDK wasn’t displaying the error messages or the affected Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) so he was unable to identify the root cause of the error or how to resolve it. We were able to identify, fix, and update the SDK within two days.
This turnaround time set our customer up for success as he didn’t have to wait for this fix to be prioritized in a scheduled sprint and release. With API Support maintaining the SDKs, the Web Development team is able to focus on adding cool new features like what you saw in a recent blog post!
4. Side Projects
API Support Engineers are still software engineers – just with a different spin.
You can imagine us as a fire department – there’s not always a fire to put out, but you need to be ready for the next fire. But instead of bench presses and deadlifts, we API Support Engineers work on side projects to sharpen our coding skills.
When customers write in with errors in certain frameworks and languages, there’s a greater chance we’ve experienced something similar if we’re exploring and building projects on our own as well. More experience diving into our own projects and codebases enables us to give more accurate and efficient troubleshooting tips.
For this reason, team members set goals of mastering other languages for their own benefit, in turn benefiting potential customers.
5. Feature Requests
Along with Customer Success Managers, API Support Engineers are the liaison between customers and the Product team. We understand the pain point that the customers are experiencing when implementing the API and can advocate for improvements.
By listening to customer feedback, HelloSign is able to create a product our customers will use and recommend to those in their networks.
We’re Here for You!
Overall, API Support focuses on improving systems that make us more efficient and effective for our customers. When are our customers are able to integrate our API successfully, that means we’ve succeeded as well.
We’re able to witness our customers’ successes firsthand during scheduled app approval appointments. During this appointment, we get to see how customers are taking advantage of our API’s flexibility to integrate seamlessly within their products. It’s pretty amazing to see how companies are using the product!
Helping customers move to a paperless signature process and ensuring they are successful when launching their product is a main focus here at HelloSign. The API Support Engineers are successful when HelloSign’s customers are successful and we can’t wait to see what you build and sign next!