Maintaining a customer service level that is expected as an online shop is an essential but complex task. It can become quickly overwhelming and may lead to customer dissatisfaction if not done properly.
This is where Belco comes in, Belco aims to deliver the complete tool for webshops to provide the best customer service experience to their clients in the most efficient way.
We had the opportunity to interview Michaël Van Der Veen, Lead Developer at Belco, to better understand how Belco’s providing this SaaS customer service tool that allows their users to always get in touch with their customers in the easiest way.
In this customer case, we will share with you what Belco is all about and how they use Scalingo as a PaaS.
Belco is an all-in-one tool to improve the flow of customer service. It packages several features such as messenger centralization that replies to customers on any desired channel, real-time data tracking, various CMS (Content Management System) integration, and more.
The Belco team aims to provide a 360 degrees tool for customer support and targets at improving their client's customer satisfaction. And over 750 webshops, mainly in the Netherlands and Belgium, are using their tool on a daily basis.
In 2015 Edwin Kruis, the founder of Belco, realized through his experience of running multiple webshops that customer service became a considerable part of the job and that it was not always as efficient as wanted.
This is where the idea of building a tool such as Belco was born, and after months of extensive testing, Belco finally went live in January 2016.
Belco is a 1-on-1 customer interaction platform with a variety of channels. It operates only for e-commerce companies in Europe, and its best stronghold is the connection with e-commerce CMS environments to see all the customer data within every conversation.
Michaël V. is the lead developer of the project. His main role is to roll out new features, debug, develop, and add external API integrations of messaging services (Bol.com, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram DM, Telephony, Live Chat, and E-mail) to the app. He is one of the three developers working at Belco.
11 apps, including one for staging, are hosted by Belco on the Scalingo PaaS, and each app is part of the Belco architecture.
Michaël has explained to us that, for example, one API app is used to add integration with other external apps to send messages through various messaging platforms. And within that app, 7 instances are created, with each instance having a unique role.
Another app is dedicated to Belco’s portal, where their users can read their customer's messages there. And the other apps are mainly workloads apps to manage the other tasks related to the portal.
When it comes to the framework, Belco’s team use MeteorJS for both the front and back end, and they use MongoDB for their databases.
They use 8 nodes for their backend/dashboard application, and this represents the environment where their customers are working to service their channels: from chat, and WhatsApp, to full-blown softphone calls.
Connected to their dashboard application, they run a 32GB MongoDB cluster, and between the application and the database, they use a Redis layer to speed up the flow. As for the search in conversation feature, they use our Elasticsearch cluster setup.
With 11 apps hosted on Scalingo over the 6 years of use, Michaël explains to us that he’s relieved with the Scalingo PaaS experience and the features that come with it.
From the beginning, they needed a reliable environment to host their MeteorJS app, and due to GDPR regulations, they needed to choose a European alternative.
Scalingo was their first choice, and if first started with only a few apps and a single MongoDB setup, but within 1 year they upgraded their platform to the need of their clients. Today, all of Belco’s apps, storage, and backups are hosted on Scalingo.
One of the features that Michaël enjoys the best is the Github integration allowing him to deploy their changes directly to Scalingo from Github easily.
With that feature, they deploy changes in one click with no downtime every time they push new code to a selected branch of their repository on Github.
Although it’s possible to automate this process with the auto deploy feature, Michaël chose the manual option where he can push it on his own.
Belco’s team considers that this addition is one of the biggest pros of Scalingo, on top of having no downtime at deployments.
The Belco team also uses the app notifications integration to get selected notifications for metrics directly on Slack. This allows them to get notified whenever an event occurs with their applications.
Due to the fact that their project is very API focused and that they have plenty of features, it can be quickly overwhelming to keep track of everything individually.
This is where the use of certain features such as metrics and logs tracking on Scalingo gets interesting for them, it allows them to identify the source of the problem in an easier way, and see which apps, in particular, are impacted.
Michaël explained to us that whenever a problem occurs, it can be hard to understand where the issue is coming from, and since they are dependent of other services if these services have downtime, it could directly affect Belco.
When they can’t manage to find the issue on their own, the Scalingo technical support team comes in handy for identifying the issue and pointing out a potential fix.
Having access to an reactive and competent support team is one of the biggest strengths of Scalingo for Michaël.
For over 6 years, Belco has been using Scalingo to host all the applications that are part of the Belco architecture.
Scalingo allows them to focus on developing without having to handle the server work and makes Belco’s developer's life easier every thanks to features such as: