Onboarding – a day to day challenge in API Management
September 26th, 2014
Head of API Design at Paypal, Jason Harmon says
That’s because, as you onboard customers, it takes time and money for the support teams to answer the same questions all the time.
Customers and developers working with APIs expect good technical support. Documentation is great, but developers don’t always have the patience to wade through it. Better to allow developers to troubleshoot the problems in situ – like they do with IDEs – by providing them with meaningful responses to the API requests they send in. If they can get the answers fast, as they work with the APIs – they won’t need to contact the support team.
A simple process is better for all parties.
The KISS Principle
KISS – keep it simple stupid – is an important well-known principle, but simplicity is deceptively hard to achieve. Some things to consider for onboarding:
- Design simple APIs;
- Make registration simple;
- Make it simple to try out an API;
- Make it simple to troubleshoot the API.
Troubleshooting with documentation is often hard
Troubleshooting problems with documentation takes time. Big, comprehensive manuals look great – but it can be hard to find the nugget of information you are looking for in them.
Here are some examples of the type of documentation you can expect for APIs.
TMForum, the telco industry body, publish a range of digital service APIs, for ordering products, for troubleticketing, for billing and settlement etc. You can view the documentation, and access reference implementations, on their API Zone.
Smooth the onboarding process, through self-service technical support
If developers are spending too much time working through documentation, they turn to the support team.
Support teams spend a lot of time investigating and responding to queries. If you can capture their knowledge in a self-service system that automatically analyses API requests and provides immediate, useful responses to developers, you reduce the cost of onboarding customers.
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