Meticulous planning ahead of time
A high proportion of Instart Logic customers operate e-commerce sites, which meant they braced themselves before the Thanksgiving week, preparing to meet the tidal wave of web traffic and online transactions for the holiday shopping season. Here at Instart Logic we had two major responsibilities: ensure the readiness of the Web Application Streaming Network for the jump in traffic, and keep our customers’ traffic fast every single second of their most important revenue season of the year, and to have our support teams at the ready around the clock.
On our side, meticulous planning began months in advance. Part of our preparation was to carefully interview each of our customers about their anticipated peak-period levels. That helped us establish our baseline forecast demand.
While our customers’ predictions of their traffic are indispensable to our capacity planning, they often confront surprises over Thanksgiving, such as radically more visitors and transactions than they expected, so we added significant extra capacity above our forecasts. We take no chances; that means an extra cushion is part of being ready.
We fully expect our customers to scrutinize our holiday performance from three perspectives:
- Did our service perform under high stress conditions?
- Did we deliver faster and better user experiences than the CDN they used before switching to Web Application Streaming?
- What was the quality of our support when they needed us?
Peak traffic handled flawlessly
Our total traffic increased dramatically, as expected, and the Web Application Streaming Network performed perfectly. This enabled our customers’ websites and apps to respond very quickly for their holiday shoppers – including their mobile traffic. So Instart Logic played its part in contributing to the $1.2 billion of online sales on Black Friday and $766 million the day before. Those figures represent increases of 15% and 21% respectively over last year, according to comScore press releases. Our customers were very pleased with the fast performance for the first part of the shopping season from Black Friday to Cyber Monday to Green Monday.
What about customer support? Did Instart Logic come through and solve customer problems as promised? Happily, the answer is… yes – but only three times. The service worked too well, and we received a grand total of three calls.
Our entire support team was at work and at the ready 24/7. An additional backup team was on alert. And, as Director of Customer Success, I had provided every customer with my personal cell phone number, in the event they needed to reach me directly.
We’ve already mentioned proactive problem resolution. Two-thirds of our support calls over the recent holiday week were about issues that did not originate with Instart Logic; we were able to quickly identify this and this guided the customers to the root cause in their infrastructure, getting them back to peak performance with minimal delay. The other third – totaling a single call, since only three in total came during the peak period – was at 1:30am and was answered immediately. The issues were not disruptive to the customer’s service and were resolved quickly. Why the speed? We have level 3-type Support from the very first time our customers call us. We dive in and get to the root cause immediately. You’re not going to hear “let’s do a trouble ticket for you and then Level I will call you back” on Thanksgiving or any other day of the year. That is our normal support program – you do not pay anything additional for this support model.
The reaction of a new customer:
“We signed up with Instart Logic on October 30. We saw a notable improvement in content delivery time on the west coast (our hosting facility is east coast). The transition was painless. I am very impressed with both their technology and their support teams. I had a few occasions to request support and their teams were extremely knowledgeable and responsive in working out my issues even though these issues did not necessarily originate with Instart Logic.”
For us, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Green Monday reaffirmed the value of planning ahead and being prepared for the unknown. Our customers have seen that Web Application Streaming works – even under the highest stress conditions of the year. They also know we are here to back them up throughout the holiday season and beyond.