The contemporary business landscape is witnessing a significant shift towards using Slack and Microsoft Teams for customer support. Companies harness the power of Slack Connect for a direct communication line with each customer via individual Slack channels, while internal Slack channels help streamline customer escalations.
As discussed in this guide on providing customer support on Slack, the rationale behind the preference for persistent chat channels is manifold - they offer rapid access and communication, facilitate company-wide collaboration, integrate with enterprise systems, and provide a suite of cohesive tools for efficient collaboration.
Customer support professionals can leverage a variety of Slack's features that enhance their workflows, and Slack has introduced several novel features recently that are both delightful and useful. Let's delve into some of these fantastic Slack features that can supercharge your customer support process.
Initiating Quick Conversations with Slack Huddles
Slack Huddles, a simple audio-first method for starting live conversations, mimics the short, informal interactions you'd have at work directly inside Slack. In any DM or Slack channel, you can convene a meeting with the appropriate product expert or stakeholder if you require assistance addressing a customer support ticket. In the channels you use to communicate with partners outside of your business, you can also initiate a huddle.
You can quickly transition from an asynchronous conversation to a live audio discussion from an external Slack Connect channel or an internal escalation, or swarm channel. Bring the relevant individuals together at the right moment for a single huddle, and you can even share your screen to go over a particular case in great detail.
Efficient Multitasking with Separate Windows
The new "Separate Windows" feature in Slack replaces the previous "Split View" feature, providing an improved user experience. Previously, Split View enabled users to open a thread in one split view of the Slack desktop application, allowing for concurrent browsing of other channels.
Now, this has been replaced with the capability to open a thread in a new window by clicking on it while pressing the Ctrl key (Windows) or the Cmd key (Mac). You can keep multiple threads open in separate windows while using the main Slack app for channel and conversation browsing. The video below shows a quick demo of opening a thread in a new window, switching back to the Slack app, and switching to a different channel.
Enhancing Team Collaboration with Slack Canvas
Canvas is one of the most exciting features that Slack has launched of late. Slack Canvas is a feature to help teams organize, curate, collaborate, and share information. It is connected to your Slack workspace and uses formatting, mentioning, and sharing features. It can be seen as a virtual whiteboard where teams can create and edit canvases for various purposes, such as weekly demos and a task list. Notably, Canvas is only available to workspaces on paid Slack subscriptions.
There are two ways to use Canvases with customers:
- Every channel has an inbuilt canvas shared with all the participants in that channel. This can be accessed from the top right corner of a channel as shown in the video capture below.
- In addition - users can create as many Canvases as they want and share it with specific channels or users as they choose. This can be done from the left nav menu, below Threads, Later, Mentions etc. This can be seen in the screenshot below:
Never Lose Vital Info with Slack Bookmarks and Pins
Bookmarks and Pins allow you to mark and save specific messages, channels, or files that are essential to your work or require your attention later. With a simple click, you can effortlessly create a personalized collection of bookmarks, ensuring that important information is never lost in the constant flow of communication.
They are particularly useful when working with stakeholders in a channel to share commonly required information. For example, one may want to bookmark the links to knowledge bases, documentation, and support portals in a customer channel. This overlooked feature can add considerable efficiency to customer channels and reduce the amount of noise and inquiries. The screenshot below shows the “Add Bookmark” control on the top bar under the channel name that can be clicked to add bookmarks.
Slack's "Save Later" Functionality
Slack's recently launched Later feature replaces the older “Reminders” and “Save” functionality, serving as a personal task manager. This tool is especially beneficial when working with customers, as it saves important messages for later review and manages action items efficiently.
Customer-facing personnel, who have to track many action items when working with customers, can now save important messages for Later and review them occasionally. They can move completed action items to the Completed or Archived states and be able to review all In-Progress items from time to time.
Expand Slack's Functionality with Apps
The beauty of Slack lies not just in its built-in features but also in its vast array of apps that augment its functionality. For even more advanced features, it's worth exploring the Slack app store.
For instance, at ClearFeed, we have developed a Slack app that is purpose built for Customer Support and Success professionals. ClearFeed monitors your customer support channels and escalates issues not addressed on time to a common team channel. You can also link customer support slack channels to your ticketing systems to establish a bi-directional sync between a Slack conversation and a ticket. You can consolidate customer requests from hundreds of customer channels into a single triage channel and work on all customer requests from a single place, mark them closed and convert them into tickets and issues.