Building a robust ecosystem is only the beginning when it comes to creating a platform. Once you open it up to other developers, ongoing support and maintenance is necessary – and tedious. A new service from Hitch called ‘API Assistant’ might be able to help, though.
What Hitch offers here is simple: it’s a chatbot that lets customers find the APIs they need without having to dig through search results or bother busy humans. Customers can even ask the bot how to use the API, and get more info on what limitations your terms-of-service might have.
Because it’s in chatbot form, the Hitch API Assistant is endlessly scalable. As long as you take the time to write an API’s details into the chatbot code for discoverability, users can turn to it rather than search or email-based customer support.
To that, Hitch says it allows you to “keep your support team focused on high value interactions and leave it to Hitch API Assistant to cover the rest.” Hitch also notes the bot can help with engagement on day one, “which is key to great onboarding and overall experience with your product.”
Hitch’s chatbot makes a home in Slack, where so many teams already exist. It’s also a useful platform for managing customers: only those who’ve been invited to a Slack channel can interact with the bot, which can also be helpful for slower rollouts or testing an open API platform.
Hitch cautions that, while handy, a chatbot isn’t the only support solution you’ll need. A dedicated Twitter account, email and ticket system (such as Zendesk) are all encouraged as secondary options for customers. Similarly, an accessible knowledge base (where the API is pulling information from, anyway) is suggested.
Hitch is rolling Assistant out slowly, but offers a waiting list for those interested in giving it a shot. Given the relatively low threshold for chatbot development and niche this fills for API discoverability and support, it might be just what your API needs.