NuoDB Case Study: Supporting Support Folks After-Hours

Tara Calihman November 24, 2014

NuoDB is a next generation distributed database company. As the Director of Customer Solutions at NuoDB, Duke Adamonis is responsible for making sure customers get a real live human response within minutes - whether it’s 1 p.m. or 1 a.m. That’s why Duke put his Technical Support team on VictorOps. We talked with him for this case study about how (and why) he did it.


**“The problem is when people forget that one special phone number you gave them for emergencies…” **

The biggest problem with after-hours customer support isn’t when people have a problem at 1 a.m. It’s when they have a problem at 1 a.m., and they forget that one special phone number you gave them for emergencies. In the heat of the moment, people are always going to forget that special number, that special PDF. They’re not going to walk around with your emergency number printed out, or stored right there in their phone. I’m a big believer in consistent communication channels for customers around-the-clock, and that’s why we implemented VictorOps.

**Supporting support folks after-hours **

At NuoDB, we partner with customers who are using our database as they build their apps and roll into production. Before we started using VictorOps, we had one or two Support people who would monitor emails after-hours as they came in. The on-call person would look at their email to see what alerts came in, and see what needed to be addressed. We could do that because we were a startup, but it wasn’t scalable and it wasn’t in real-time.

Now our Technical Support team is all on VictorOps. The thing we’re most concerned about is response time – how long does a customer have to wait to talk to a human being? When we were monitoring VictorOps during the trial period, the longest latency was 10 or 15 seconds. It was blazing fast.

We had VictorOps up and running in a day or two – it was just that quick. I love the seamless nature of how VictorOps works with Zendesk. Honestly, VictorOps’ functionality is maybe overkill for Support, but it worked great right out of the box, so I didn’t care. It works in seconds and it’s never let me down, so there’s no need to look at anything else.

When we have meetings and get status across all departments, the thing we never worry about is Support.

**On-call has to be automated and seamless **

On the customer side, I want them to be able to use the same communication channels every single time. On the Support team side, I want the system to automatically and seamlessly update whoever is on-call. It was such a pleasure to be able to tell one of our big enterprise clients that even when they have an issue, they will do everything exactly the same - no special phone number or email.

The customer was actually suspicious that it wouldn’t work. Two days after I made that commitment to them, it was 2 a.m., and they had an issue. VictorOps woke me up, and I called the customer in under five minutes. We have a huge amount of confidence that things are working well for that particular client. VictorOps is a big piece of that success.

With VictorOps, we have a holistic view of what’s going on with our most important customers. It pays for itself.

Making people management a little bit easier

From a management point of view, before VictorOps I had to worry about creating a schedule, managing a schedule, and even the logistics of forwarding different phone numbers after-hours. Now I can manage the entire team and on-call schedule within VictorOps. Most importantly, they can manage themselves without a lot of overhead from me.

As the director of the group, I’m always alerted – not just when something comes in, but also when somebody picks It up. Having that visibility in VictorOps is great. It gives me confidence that our processes are working well, and gives me the opportunity to pivot and change if we need to.

**In short… **

I recommend VictorOps wholeheartedly. When folks asked me what are we doing, I always mention that VictorOps is a huge part of our after-hours support.

About NuoDB: NuoDB is a webscale distributed database offering a rich SQL implementation and true ACID transactions.

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