How we use Slack for our SaaS
We all know Slack is a great chat platform but Slack can also be so much more if you want it to be. We use slack is our central monitoring platform for everything around ForwardMX
When you run a SaaS application you want everything to work properly. But as it usually does it can be easy to oversee issues coming up. Also you want to see how it grows so first you keep checking your internal stats but later it gets boring you and check it less and less. We at ForwardMX solved both problems with a popular solution. Slack!
Often when we talk to other people we notice they do not yet fully see the potential of Slack. So we decided to publish our use case and how we make the most out of it!
Error Logging & Reporting
Nothing worse than unknown bugs. Surely we dont want them to be unknown for long so we use a error logging solution. Namely Rollbar. Not only is Rollbar super easy to install in a Rails application and comes with a generious free package but also comes with a Slack integration built in:
So we not only get nagged with emails when something goes wrong, but also see a little dot lighting up in the corner of our browser and know something happened in our Slack.
Application & Server Monitoring
We are big fans from New Relic ever since their infamous "Free T-Shirt" ad campaign. (Btw i never got my T-Shirt!!). But even if we never got the T-Shirt the service they provide is just awesome. Not only can we install it in our applications but also on our servers. It lets us define custom points to define how a healthy application looks like (like response times, etc) and sends us notifications directly into Slack. Again directly built in.
New Relic does not only run within our application through their APM monitor but als we also use their server monitor. On the application server as well as mx1 an mx2.
Stripe mirrors all events into Slack and presents them in a Slack friendly way. It uses the same mechanic (webhooks) that is used to pass these events back to your web application. Not only is it helpful that you can see what is going on, but you can also easily notice missing events or special cases within Slack so you can add them to the Webapplication.
But we do not only monitor the general things, we also take a closer look to what is going on in the application. When someone creates a new user, or deletes his account we also trigger custom events into our Slack channel.
We love the fact that we can set custom icons and even names so we can guess the type of the event with a single glimpse. As Stripe and User management is slightly decoupled it tells us a lot of hour our users get onboarded and how many of them decide to remove the account again once they realise they need add credit card details for the 30 days free trail. It also helps us to find possible issues with the Stripe hooks.
We also monitor the usage of coupons. We currently do not give out coupons actively (because we think we are really affordable anyway) but when they get used we want to know without checking the Stripe backend all the time.
We use slack-notifier for this within our Rails application
Social Media Mentions
We dont want to miss anyone talking about our product. So we use Karmalert which monitores the for us most relevant networks (Hacker News, Reddit, Product Hunt, Twitter) to find social mentions ASAP and notify us with Slack. Again Slack is directly build into the Application, all we have to do is creating our search phrase and adding a Slack Webhook.
People usually seem to appreciate when we are there when they ask questions or even just recommend our product. It makes us seem more human and gives extra trust points. Even thought it is slightly creepy that we always know when someone mentions us.
Many more things
We also run regularly health tests, as in sending emails and tracking how long they take and if they arrive properly. The results get put into the Slack as well. We are thinking about adding a live chat, also here we would obviously count on a Slack based solution. Managing our Team is rather simple as it is mostly me plus some other people doing only very specific tasks and keeping a eye on the Slack when i am asleep. But if we would need more management Slack also would provide us with a huge amount of interesting Integrations to make this task simpler.
Slack really is a tool we dont want to miss anymore these days, it integrates so simple into whatever i want to achieve. It works on all of my devices and therefore allows push notifications wherever i currently am. If you do not use it yet, think about how it could help your business workflow.
Disclaimer: We are not associated with Slack