Alerts & Automations

Beyond Zapier: Automatically identify and solve business issues with Locale

Aditi Sinha

December 28, 2023

6 min read

Multiple alerts and automations workflows possible through Zapier

It is rightly said something in the operations world breaks every day and operations teams are constantly in the firefighting mode. The job of the operations team is to do whatever it takes to solve an issue before it reaches the customer. Instead of being reactive and solving issues when customers complain, what if there was a way for the operations teams to preempt issues using data and solve them before they reach the customer? The new era of proactive customer support involves solving customer issues even before they reach the customers, which is the job of the operations teams.

Why are Issue Identification and Automation Not Enough for Issue Resolution?

Issue identification and automation are valuable tools in managing operations, but they are not sufficient on their own. Tracking what's happening with issues is equally essential for several reasons:

  1. Visibility: Tracking allows you to maintain a clear and real-time view of the status and progress of identified issues. Without tracking, you may lose sight of issues, leading to delays in resolution or overlooked problems.
  2. Accountability: Tracking assigns responsibility for each issue, ensuring that the right individuals or teams are aware of their role in resolution. This accountability helps prevent issues from falling through the cracks.
  3. Monitoring Progress: It provides insights into the progress made in resolving issues. You can gauge whether actions are effective, identify bottlenecks, and make necessary adjustments to expedite the resolution process.
  4. Historical Data: Tracking creates a historical record of issues and their resolutions. This data can be valuable for analyzing patterns, identifying recurring problems, and making informed decisions to prevent future issues.
  5. Communication: Effective tracking facilitates communication among team members and stakeholders. It ensures that everyone involved is on the same page regarding issue status, updates, and any changes in resolution strategies.
  6. Prioritization: With tracking, you can prioritize issues based on their impact and urgency. This enables you to allocate resources more efficiently and address critical problems first.
  7. Customer Experience: Tracking ensures that you can keep customers informed about the status of their reported issues. This transparency enhances customer trust and satisfaction.

In essence, while issue identification and automation help in the initial stages of problem-solving, tracking adds the necessary layer of visibility, accountability, and data-driven decision-making that is crucial for efficient and effective issue management in business operations. To manage the complexity and uncertainties of business operations effectively, you need human expertise and a way to track whether issues are being solved on time or not. Below is the process where we walk you through a step-by-step framework on what happens once an issue goes through the process of resolution, starting from monitoring.

Step-by-Step Process of Identifying and Resolving Business Operations Issues

Steps to identify and resolve issues quickly and efficiently

While issue identification and automation can boost operational efficiency, they are just part of the picture. The journey of a business operations issue is a dynamic process that involves several key stages, each with its unique role and significance.

Step 1: Monitoring

This stage involves the continuous tracking and observation of various processes, systems, or data points to identify any irregularities, anomalies, or potential issues.

Step 2: Identification

During this phase, any abnormalities or problems detected through monitoring are pinpointed and categorized, allowing for a clear understanding of the nature and scope of the issue.

Step 3: Alerting

When an issue is identified, automated or manual alerts are generated to notify relevant individuals or teams, ensuring that they are promptly made aware of the situation.

Step 4: Escalation

In cases where the issue cannot be resolved at the initial level, escalation comes into play. It involves elevating the problem to higher levels of authority or expertise for further investigation and decision-making.

Step 5: Collaboration

Effective issue resolution often requires collaboration among cross-functional teams, bringing together diverse skill sets and perspectives to collectively analyze, diagnose, and develop a solution to the problem.

Step 6: Resolution

Once a solution is agreed upon and implemented, the issue is considered resolved. This stage may involve not only fixing the immediate problem but also putting measures in place to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.

Step 7: Documentation

Throughout the entire process, it is crucial to document each stage, including the issue's identification, steps taken for resolution, and any lessons learned. This documentation helps in analyzing past issues and improving processes over time.

How Zapier Helps in Automating Issue Identification but not Solving Those Issues End-to-End

Most companies today use several automation/alerting tools like Zapier, or Zapier competitors (Make, n8n) to identify issues at the right time. Zapier is a powerful automation tool that allows you to connect various web applications and automate workflows between them. While it can be extremely helpful in automating the process of issue identification and notification, it has limitations when it comes to solving issues, especially without the use of specialized tools like Zendesk.

Image showcasing where zapier can help in issue resolution and where not

Zapier helps automate issue identification but may not be sufficient for issue resolution

1. Data Integration and Notification

Zapier can connect to multiple apps and services, enabling you to create Zaps (automated workflows) that trigger when specific conditions are met. For example, you can set up Zaps to monitor emails, social media mentions, or form submissions for keywords or phrases related to potential issues. When it detects such keywords or phrases, Zapier can send notifications or create tasks in other apps, alerting relevant team members about the issue.

2. Data Gathering

Zapier can collect and centralize data from various sources, making it easier to identify patterns and potential issues. For instance, you can use Zapier to gather data from customer feedback forms, online reviews, and support tickets into a central spreadsheet or database. This aggregation helps in analyzing and identifying recurring problems.

3. Automated Issue Triage

With Zapier, you can automate the initial triage of issues. For example, you can set up rules that classify incoming issues based on their severity or type and route them to the appropriate teams or individuals for further investigation. This accelerates the identification process.

However, Zapier's limitations in issue resolution become apparent for:

1. Complex Issue Resolution

Many issues require in-depth analysis, troubleshooting, and decision-making that go beyond simple automation. Solving complex problems often requires the expertise of human agents who can understand the context, assess multiple factors, and make informed decisions.

2. Interactive Support

Issue resolution often involves interactions with customers or users to gather additional information, provide solutions, or offer assistance. Zapier is not designed for real-time customer interactions and cannot replace tools like Zendesk that offer ticketing, chat, and customer support functionalities.

3. Integrated Workflows

While Zapier can automate data transfer and notifications, it may not fully integrate with the specific tools and processes used for issue resolution within your organization. Customized workflows, scripting, and specialized features are often required to effectively address issues, which might be beyond Zapier's capabilities.

4. Operations Workflow

Operations teams need a lot of specific things for example, the ability to convert notifications into tickets, track for resolution, add SOPs, escalations, notifications on different channels, insights on team performance, etc which are customized to their workflow and what they need to do their job effectively and are not built on Zapier.

In summary, Zapier is an excellent tool for automating the identification and initial handling of issues by streamlining data collection, notifications, and basic triage. However, it is not a comprehensive issue-resolution tool on its own. To solve issues, especially complex or customer-facing ones, you may need specialized tools like Zendesk or Freshdesk or a combination of tools and human intervention to provide effective resolutions and support.

How Locale.ai’s alerting and issue resolution helps close the loop when it comes to business ops issues

Locale.ai empowers your operations teams by giving them the power to create their own alerts, track anomalies and build a system of accountability. All the steps in setting up alerts and workflows, and performing quick RCA and incident management are just a few clicks away with Locale!

Zapier vs Locale for issue resolution

1. Convert Notifications on Tickets for Resolution

Locale converts every notification to a valid ticket that gets assigned to someone in the team.  You can track each ticket for resolution and if it doesn’t get resolved by a particular time, the ticket gets escalated up the hierarchy chain. Hence, Locale is a one-stop solution for alerting stakeholders on various incidents, gathering updates, tracking all activities, and eventually resolving them within the dedicated SLAs. Zapier on the other hand would need the help of a separate ticketing tool to match what Locale does. This involves the complexity of setting up two different products and having to deal with two subscriptions. Locale does the work of two, for the price of one!

Alert Incidents on Locale

2. Automatic Resolution of Incidents

Locale offers the ability to automatically resolve incidents if they aren’t present in the database. The queries are systematically run on the database in a manner that if the incidents are resolved on the ground, they are automatically resolved on Locale, to make it easier for the stakeholders to focus on the open incidents. This also reduces the emphasis on the stakeholder to manually resolve incidents, which removes human error in the process.

Enable auto-resolve incidents on Locale
Alert flow and resolution with Locale

3. One-stop shop for all information

Locale allows team members to respond from different channels on the issue. All of this gets synced in one place which gives you complete visibility on what’s happening on the issue.

Track and collaborate on each issue. Auto escalate issues if required.

4. Insights on operations health

Locale also syncs data of resolution, SLA, and escalation on Zendesk to give you insights into the performance of your operations team and operations health. You can then download the data in a CSV or get notified via email.

Incident analy

5. Dynamic assignment based on rules

Locale also can dynamically assign tickets to the right people based on a data field or parameter such as city, vertical, or role. For example, city X issues go to John, and city Y issues go to Mark.

6. Playbooks and SOPs

Want to not only alert stakeholders but also ensure that they have a clear understanding of what steps need to be taken to resolve issues? Playbooks are your way out! Set up standard operating procedures for your teams by clearly defining expectations, listing down the tasks that need to be completed, and setting up a repeatable process for teams to resolve incidents faster!

SOP and Playbook

How to set up an alert on Locale.ai in under 5 minutes?

Step 1: Connect a Data Source [Database, Google Sheets or SaaS Tools]

1.1 Connecting a Database: Locale helps connect with the major databases and data warehouses present today, and integrations are as easy as filling out a few fields and whitelisting Locale’s IP!

1.2 Connecting a Google Sheet: A recently launched feature is the ability to integrate with Google Sheets. GSheets are a major source of data in any organization and all it takes to connect is to specify the GSheet URL.1.3 Connecting to a SaaS tool via API Integration: Locale also connects with SaaS applications supporting an Open API and this helps assimilate data from the various tools that businesses use daily.

Connect your datasource with Locale

Step 2: Set up Alert Configurations

In this step, we set rules to monitor the data. This starts with a SQL query or adding filters. Once you do this, you’ll be able to receive the results of the query or filter at a set frequency.

Playbooks can be set to ensure faster resolution, and automatic resolution can be enabled to ensure incidents on Locale are resolved with zero manual intervention, once they move out of the queue on your data source! Dynamic stakeholder assignments are possible for larger teams. Incidents can be configured to have labels, escalations, and playbooks to ensure adherence.

Setup Alert Configurations on Locale

Step 3: Notify Stakeholders

Connect with your preferred notification streams to ensure that your stakeholders receive all updates on time! Group your notifications to ensure end users don’t get spammed and yet receive all the incidents that they need to prioritize and work on.

Setup Notification for stakeholders

You’re good to go! Once the alert is set, incidents will start flowing in when there are new rows identified in your datasource!

Conclusion

To summarize, Zapier is really good for teams to build generic workflow automation that helps with your team’s productivity. Locale, on the other hand,  is a Control tower for Ops observability & actionability which empowers operations and business teams to leverage their data and set up a complete one-stop solution for monitoring your data, proactively identifying incidents, and alerting the right stakeholders to follow up with actions oriented towards incident resolution. With real-time Incident Reporting, Dynamic Playbooks, Escalations that are tailored to your industry, Locale is here to simplify your operations like never before. Don’t take our word for it, see what our customers are saying—

Testimonials Locale

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