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How to Make Your Team Chat Room a Notification Command Center

By Danny Schreiber · December 17, 2013

What’s better than promptly resolving and closing a support ticket submitted by a customer? Identifying the issue immediately, fixing it and notifying the customer before they find it themselves. That’s just about as good as it gets.

"If a site fails or something goes down, HipChat alerts us before our client usually even knows," Andre Bodnar said about one of his company’s uses of notifications in their group chat app.

After his team resolves the issue, Andre calls up the client, lets them know what happened and tells them it’s already been fixed. It’s a call that leaves the customer quite impressed.

Andre, the founder of Toronto-based companies artifakt Communications and Open Universe Hosting, keeps on top of his responsibilities, his team’s progress on client work and whatever surprises the day brings, such as crashing sites, in HipChat. But, of course, it’s not HipChat offering all that functionality—it does quite a bit, but site monitoring isn’t one of them! To create this control center, Andre utilizes app integration platform Zapier to bring notifications from six different web services into HipChat.

The site monitoring service that saved Open Universe’s day is StatusCake. Here’s what it looks like when Open Universe uses Zapier to trigger a new comment in HipChat for a StatusCake alert:

StatusCake Notification

For Andre and his four-person team at Artifakt, logging into HipChat is like walking in the office to start the work day. The team is remote—four are in Canada and one is in South Africa—so the group chat app serves as their virtual office.

"We all work in the cloud," Andre said, "so it’s pretty essential to us that we have tools that help us communicate better and I feel like Zapier makes it possible that our team can communicate better."

Here are three more ways Artifakt and Open Universe bring notifications into its group chat tool plus a dozen more command center set-ups achieved using Zapier. The examples mainly focus on HipChat, but each of these notifications could be added to another group communication tool, such as Campfire, Yammer, Hall or Flowdock.

1. Keep Track of Basecamp Progress


Before HipChat notifications, artifakt team members were expected to regularly visit the Basecamp progress page to keep on top of project progress. "But I found that most of the people on our team just wouldn’t bother checking it, so because everybody has HipChat open they’re sort of forced to in this case," Andre said. "Nobody can say, ‘Oh didn’t see that or I didn’t know that happened.’ Everybody knows what’s happening because Zapier makes that so."

Forward feedback when it comes into

Forward feedback when it comes into
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2. Subscribe to FreshBooks Activity

Freshbooks activity

Open Universe keeps everyone on the same page for client invoices and payments by feeding all FreshBooks activity into HipChat. "(This lets) us know when a client has done something with FreshBooks—they have a pretty simple RSS feed that they have set up, so we have that RSS feed notifying us in Hipchat, as well," Andre said.

3. Share New Evernote Notes

Evernote share

Teammates share articles with each other and its no different at artifakt, where they use Evernote to share such items. To make sure everyone’s aware of the latest content saved in Evernote, artifakt employs a new note notification in HipChat.

4. Celebrate a Sale Recorded in


The Krossover sales team sends won deals, created opportunities and more activity from to Hipchat so the whole team can see "who is crushing it." It also notifies an individual rep when a deal of theirs closes. "There is a valuable element of team culture that automatically congratulates the sales team on their success by passing won deals from our CRM ( to HipChat," said Nick Persico, the company's sales operations manager.

5. Pull Your Tweets into HipChat


"Twitter to HipChat notifications have played a great role in streamlining sales and marketing communication," said Nick. "Marketing will launch a campaign, write a cool blog post, or communicate with a customer—and it’s awesome that those conversations are pushed forward automatically into our chat room for everyone to see. The sales team can immediately incorporate that content into their sales pitches without marketing having to brief everyone on every detail."

6. Announce Upcoming and Sent MailChimp Campaigns


With departments focused on their own responsibility, Krossover makes sure all know about their email marketing by updating HipChat when a MailChimp campaign is scheduled or sent.

7. Keep Sales Competitive with SugarCRM Updates


BillCutterz integrates SugarCRM and HipChat to keep everyone updated on how much they’re saving customers. When a team member enters the money saved into SugarCRM, Zapier sends that data to HipChat. "Getting instant notifications of money we've saved for our customers is invaluable to us," said BillCutterz vice president Sydney Alcala. "Our Savings Experts are competitive, and this is one way they keep each other on their toes. It's a great feeling to hear a little boop and know that means Veronica just saved one happy customer over $50 per month on a bill."

8. Track Stripe Charges

Poptip, the maker of Twitter analytics tool Zipline, keeps an eye on money coming in the door with a notification for each new Stripe charge.

9. Learn the Lunch Menu


"We work from a co-working space in Soma and they cook really nice food for us everyday," said Bright Funds software engineer Víctor Mier. "Now we all get noticed when the food is ready and even when it's not scheduled (they do cakes on the evening every now and then), and our remote employees can comment then too (Pedro in the screenshot works from Brazil)."

10. Stay on Top of Industry News

Meldium, a cloud app management platform with a focus on security, pipes in an RSS feed of password-related stories to HipChat. "It has helped us identify interesting folks in the press, create talking points, and add useful commentary where appropriate," said Meldium co-founder Boris Jabes. "All of this helps grow the brand of Meldium."

11. Know When a Teammate Publishes a Blog Post

Though each team member could make note of the post themselves in HipChat, Buffer makes sure everyone knows when a new blog post is published with a notification in HipChat. In Zapier, they set up an RSS to HipChat connection for each author, that way when it’s published it also lists the name of the author. "We use Zapier to set up automatic notifications in HipChat of what’s going on elsewhere, making it the central "office" of Buffer," content crafter Belle Beth Cooper wrote on the company blog.

12. Keep Track of Blog Comments

Buffer comments

The Buffer team also pipes blog comments into HipChat, keeping the editorial team—called "Content Crafters"—aware of the conversation around their work. To do this, they subscribe to their Disqus RSS feed.

12. Follow Pivotal Tracker Stories

The team at Balsamiq streams activity from Pivotal Tracker stories into HipChat. "Bringing Pivotal Tracker notifications to the appropriate Hipchat room via Zapier allows our team to always stay up-to-date on what's happening to the backlog," said Balsamiq founder Peldi Guilizzoni. "We even have a Zapier task that lets us !"

13. Stay up to Date on Trello Progress


"We have a bunch of project rooms in Hipchat, and it's where we hang out all day, so it's great to see the progress of each project," said Rian van der Merwe, the director of user experience at at Flow Interactive. "Especially if we're working on multiple projects at the same time, it helps to keep things straight in our heads. I had to play around with the settings quite a bit to make the Trello integration work for us—I only wanted crucial updates to appear in Hipchat, not all changes to a card. So we only get updates when a new card is created, or a card is moved from one column to another."

14. See Cash Come in Through Xero

"Nothing better than seeing money coming in. We're an online service, so we don't have a cash register to see money coming in. So bringing this into our HipChat is essential and motivating," said Jesse Wynants, the founder of Prezly.

15. Collaborate on Twitter and Facebook Replies


Prezly puts all Twitter and Facebook mentions into HipChat. "(This integration) helps us improve our social footprint, but react fast on things happening," Jesse said. "It’s also a good way to directly discuss with your team, how to react on a certain tweet or question."

16. Keep a Close Eye on the Status of a Service


WordPress hosting service Flywheel brings in an RSS feed of status updates from its external services, such as DigitalOcean. "As a hosting company, it's critical that we know of system outages before our customers do," said Flywheel CEO Dusty Davidson. "Keeping track of the status of all (our services) can be challenging. Since we basically spend 18 hours a day in HipChat in some form or another, it becomes a great place to alert our team of issues that may be occurring with our partners."

17. Respond to Stack Overflow Questions Quickly

Stack Overflow

Thoughtbot pulls Stack Overflow questions regarding their open source repositories into their Campfire room to make sure they "respond to them in a timely manner," said Dan Croak, the company’s chief marketing officer.

18. Get GitHub Updates Right Away


"We post a message in our team's Campfire chat room each time a new GitHub issue or pull request is created," said Startup Genome founder Shane Reiser. "This integration helps our small team save time and communicate more effectively. As CEO, I have a better feel for what my team has accomplished. As acting product manager, I'm quicker to provide feedback to our design and development teams."

19. Know an API Status

Status board

At Zapier, we stream all activity from our API Status Board into HipChat to stay ahead of any support questions that will come our way because of down services. This is implemented using an RSS feed provided on the Status Board page.

20. See Support Tickets Instantly


Watershed Publishing syndicates new support tickets into Yammer. "People who need to act further can jump in thanks to embedded hyperlinks to the originating applications or documents," said Olivier Travers, the company’s CEO. "It's easier for a supervisor or colleague to jump in and help out, say, a service representative handle a complicated customer request."

What do you use?

Notorious employs Campfire user "Notorious B.O.T." for Zapier-integrated services, such as Wufoo.

There are dozens of more integration possibilities when you look at the Zapier list of over 250 connected web services. For Andre at artifakt, HipChat notifications are so important to his business that before he uses a new web service he makes sure it integrates with his company’s group chat. "I’ll check Zapier first to see, ‘Oh, can we integrate this product?’ " Andre said.

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