Wednesday, July 12, 2017

StatusHub: Feature Updates July 2017

After our recent addition of new features to StatusHub, this latest batch is focused on improvements to existing features, most of which were requested by customers. Please keep sharing any feedback you have so we can continue to improve StatusHub.

SMS subscribers limit

Each StatusHub plan has a limit on the number of SMS available each month.  To help you manage your usage we have introduced a new feature that will allow you to set limits on the number of subscribers who can receive updates via SMS. Please note this limits the number of recipients and not the number of SMS messages sent. 

How to article

Disabled SMS subscribers

To unsubscribe from SMS updates from your hub a recipient (subscriber) can opt-out simply by replying to any SMS update with any of the following STOP, STOPALL, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL, END or QUIT.
Previously, when this happened, there was no way for the hub owner to know this subscriber had cancelled their subscription and might have led to confusion if they had forgotten that they cancelled the subscription.

 To help you quickly identify subscribers who have cancelled their SMS subscription they will be highlighted in red.

Reducing the number of incident updates for subscribers

When an incident occurs, it is common for multiple updates to be communicated during the incident depending on the time and severity of the issue. StatusHub allows you to easily keep sharing updates to share the progress you are making on resolving the issue.
Some customers informed us they had certain subscribers who are only interested in receiving updates when an incident is identified and when it is resolved and don't need to see the progress updates.
To solve this your StatusHub subscribers can now select an option in their settings. When selected they will just receive the first and last incident update.

How to enable less verbose incidents.

Improved subscribers CSV import tool

Our previous CSV import tool for subscribers was insufficient: The tool only allowed email and subscribers had to be imported to one hub at a time.

The improvements to the CSV import mechanism include making it a multi-step process. This includes a validation step which allows you to preview what will be imported and see any potential errors.

Importing Subscribers via CSV.
https://support.statushub.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004170209

Subscribers API

As the start of a series of updates we are making to the API we have introduced a new subscribers section. The API allows you to list/view/create/update and delete subscribers.
These new API elements are documented at https://app.statushub.io/api#api-subscriber


Please let us know if you have any questions on any of these new additions and please get in contact if you have other suggestions or feedback to help us to keep improving StatusHub.
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Thursday, May 25, 2017

StatusHub: Feature Updates May 2017



We have been busy with some company changes over the last few months. We recently launched our new branding and website. As a result, we were overdue a product update on StatusHub.

The following are recent changes and we'll be posting more regular updates here going forward. 

Incident and Maintenance Templates

When your site or service is experiencing downtime, and you're updating your StatusHub, you don't want to be held up by what to name an incident and what the message should say. You can now create incident templates and maintenance templates to use as a starting point.

Generic Webhook

StatusHub currently offers integrations for Pingdom, PagerDuty, New Relic, VictorOps, and UptimeRobot. Like most SaaS company's we would love to be able to integrate with every external service that can improve your experience with StatusHub.

But this is not feasible, so we have introduced a generic webhook.

With this new webhook, any product/service that supports sending POST requests with JSON payload can be integrated with Statushub. E.G. Products like Nagios and services like SolarWinds.

ATOM feed

We have made some updates to our RSS/ATOM feed.  By adding the following parameters you now have more control over the content displayed on your feed.

parameters:

  • days_before
    • Limit how many days in the past to look for
      • default: 90
      • min: 1
      • max: 180
  • days_after
    • Limit how many days in future to look for
      • default: 10
      • min: 0
      • max: 90
  • limit
    • Total amount of events
      • default: 100
      • min: 1
      • max: 200
https://your_hub.statushub.io/atom/maintenances?limit=10&days_after=1&days_before=7

Would show a feed with maintenance's that occurred over the 7 days and any that will happen tomorrow but don't show more than 10 maintenance events.

This allows your feed to act as a timeline of changes allowing subscribers to your feed to see updates to your page even after an incident/ maintenance has been resolved.

Hubs Switcher

Managing multiple StatusHub's from your dashboard has always been easy. But if you wanted to share these multiple hubs internally with your colleagues it meant having to share individual links for each hub.

Until Now, introducing Hub Switcher. With this new feature, you can add a dropdown to each hub and allow users to switch between multiple hubs.

Subscriber Updates

We have made some updates to the subscriber's feature, in the first step towards offering your subscribers a portal where they can manage their subscription across a variety of channels.

Allow Hub Owners to update/manage subscriptions on behalf of their subscribers.

As the owner of a hub you can see, how many subscribers you have, what services they have chosen to receive updates from and how they want to receive them. We have now added the ability for you as the hub owner to edit these subscriptions. 



In the Actions column of the subscriber's table, you will notice a blue link. From here you can edit, the services a subscriber has signed up to receive alerts from.

Added global "All/None" in service selector for subscribers

We have added an all/none selector to make it easier for your subscribers to select the groups and services they wish to be kept up to date about.




Search functionality in subscribers.

As your subscriber list grows, it can be difficult to find and edit or remove their subscription quickly. So we have added a search function that will allow you to quickly and easily find who you are looking for.



Please let us know if you have any questions on any of these new additions and please get in contact if you have other suggestions or feedback to help us to keep improving StatusHub.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

What is a StatusHub

Simply put it is the best way of letting people know when something works, is broken, getting fixed or updated.


Shit happens. Everybody knows it, but nobody likes to be kept in the dark when it does. Running websites software tools and mobile applications is tough. If you have ever been involved with a web project, you know it takes a lot of time, talent and resources just to get them finished, let alone keeping them live. All this before the inevitable bugs rise to the top, just like proverbial cream.

Much like the straw that broke the camels back. These bugs can cause problems for you. Not before long customers get annoyed and start looking at switching to your competitors. Before you have the chance to say sorry, the company's bottom line has taken a beaten only the likes one of Rocky's opponents have seen. Now your palms are sweaty, and knees are weak as you sit in the hot seat trying to figure out what happened.

Cows moo, sites crash, ducks quack and Things break. Everyone knows and understands that. However, what really winds them up is not know what happened, why it happened and what you are doing to fix it. This lack of communication makes the feel like you don't want them to know or even care if they know.

With a StatusHub, you have an always up crisis communications tool so if every piece of tech you own breaks, you will have access to a flexible tool to let both your employees and customers know what is happening. This method of open communication creates a beneficial environment for everyone involved.

With the added benefit of your hub sending emails, SMS and updates via webhooks your customers always have some assurance that you are working on fixing the issue.  This, in turn, makes them feel more valued and respected because you are keeping them in the loop. Your employees also benefit because instead of pouring through endless emails and calls, time has now been freed up so they can actually fix the problem at hand. 

With a StatusHub in place, it prevents a technology problem from becoming a people problem. But simply having a StatusHub is not enough. You must ensure it is well-run this involves three essential elements: your Hub, your control panel, and your subscribers

StatusHub

Your StatusHub is where you show people the status of your site and services. As we host your hub outside of your environment,  if your whole site and services were to fail, your hub will be up and running. This is where you will direct people so they can see the status or your service. The hub will also inform them about any current incidents and scheduled maintenance.

If this hub should only be seen internally, then we can offer you a number of options to make your page private allowing only those you want to see the hub and any updates posted to it.

Control Panel

To update and configure your hub, you and your authorised team members have access to the managed portal You can access and update from your manage portal anywhere you have a web connection, from any device with a web browser.

Here is where you post incidents and maintenance. Incidents can be created manually, via the control panel or they can be generated automatically, by integrating with your monitoring tools. From the control panel, you will also be able to customise your hub.

Subscribers

Much like a blog needs subscribers to get any traction so does your StatusHub.  By having your customers and employees subscribe to your StatusHub, you can empower them, so they get immediate notifications the moment you update your hub.

Through these subscriptions, they can choose whether they want to be notified via email, SMS or Webhook integration. This gives your customers and employees to stay up to date with the status of your services 24/7/365. Instead of wondering what is going on, every time you update your hub, notifications will be sent to them in a way that you can be sure they will always read them. Now your customers and employees will always know the status of your services.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sorry is Never Underrated


Early in my career, I was told in training never to use the words "I am sorry" as this implied I or the company was guilty of something.

This went against everything I was taught growing up. I had been taught to apologise whenever I had caused someone pain whether it was intentional or by accident. But merely apologising was not enough as it was far too easy to say "I'm sorry" without having any meaning behind the words. This is why I was taught to realise why I was saying sorry was I just saying it to get out of a difficult situation as quickly as possible. Or was I saying because I actually took some time to realise that my cock-up had put this person into a terrible situation I would never want to be in myself?

So when I was told that I should never say sorry to a customer I was left somewhat confused. Was this a twisted ploy to try and hold power over the customer. Was it out of fear that the customer would leave the company. Or was it out of some narcissistic belief that they could do no wrong?

Naturally, I believed that if we were to provide exceptional customer service and build relationships with our customers we had to be willing to apologise. Saying sorry wasn't  an admission of guilt but rather about taking responsibility and showing the customer our desire and passion for serving and caring for their needs.

The fact that the customer was willing to take time out of their day to complain. Showed me that while they were not happy with something they were still interested in doing business with our company. When this happened it was an opportunity for us to wow the customer, to show them that we care about them and the experience they have with us and our service. Saying sorry here was shameful or was it an admission of guilt. Rather showing empathy here was our opportunity to show the customer that we care. It was a chance to reaffirm our commitment to them. It was a chance to improve on our business and the service we provided and wow the customer even more.

Taking this approach over the last 7 years I have learnt the following:

Sorry ≠ Guilt

For example, you are attending a funeral and offering the family your condolences, or your friend tells you that they have been diagnosed with an illness your instincts tell you to say sorry. In both cases, you have said that you were sorry and it didn't mean you were guilty of something. Like many other words "sorry" is just one way of expressing empathy. l am sorry..... doesn't mean that you were the cause of it.

When a customer is upset, own it, don't back away from it

This is a moment your customers will always remember. So don't fuck it up.  If a customer ever feels you were dismissive of their issue they will be quick to leave your company but not before telling their friend sand family never to do business with you.

But if you take the opportunity to turn it into an incredible moment they will remember you and your company and how you went above and beyond for them. putting them on the road to becoming a loyal customer.

Don't take it personally

Customers can get upset for many reasons. So don't take their outburst as a personal attack. It never is.

Don't try to analyse them or whether their outburst is valid. Don't try to see who really is at fault. Don't even act impartially. Because all you will end up doing is wasting your time and theirs. Instead offer an unfiltered, unadulterated full out "WE ARE SORRY".  Follow up with a commitment to resolve their issue going all the way to them true empathy.

Have a slice of humble pie

Humiliation and humility are not the same. By being humble you can put the customer's needs ahead of your own. This is not humiliation - the emotion that drives the guilty versus sorry debate. A debate I believe to be nothing more than a waste of good oxygen. As the debate sidetracks you from the goal of keeping you customers after their expectations have not been met or when they have had a less than desirable experience with your service.

Invest in a StatusHub

When you experience an issue, your customers will complain this will leave you with two options admit the issue and apologise or deny that it exists.

Within business, issues will occur and customers have come to expect it. However, if you always wait for your customers to find them before admitting they exist saying sorry will quickly lose all meaning.

By investing in a StatusHub you can link it to your monitoring systems and inform your customers of issues as they arise. This shows your customers that you are aware of existing issues and are working to fix them. Resulting in you building trust with your customers and having to use the word sorry a lot less. So when you do say "I am Sorry" your customers will know you really mean it.

There is a lot of great companies using StatusHub including Emarsys, Emailage, Concur, the University of Wales and Citrix. If you don’t have a status page for your product, take a look an article I published last year which discusses the 3 signs you should invest in a StatusHub.

If you would like to set up your own status page. You can avail of a 14-day free trial when you sign up with StatusHub.io today.
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