Case Study

How Glean scales Support on Slack with ClearFeed

With Greg Bakken, Head of Technical Services at Glean
Greg Bakken Profile Picture

Company Goal

Glean is on a mission to bring people the knowledge they need. Built by a team of ex-Google and ex-Facebook engineers, Glean brings together context, language, behavior, and work relationships to find the most relevant information and people.


Palo Alto, California, USA




Glean is a leader in enterprise search and is used by thousands of knowledge workers in companies like Grammarly, Databricks, Okta and Gainsight to find the information they need - instantly.

This case study is based on an interview with Greg Bakken, Head of Technical Services at Glean, on the use of Slack Connect to support customers at Glean and how ClearFeed solved some of the key scaling challenges they faced in this use case.

Why Slack Connect ?

Glean uses Slack Connect for both onboarding and supporting customers. Onboarding involves working closely with customers to connect Glean to all the data sources, fine-tuning the deployment, and handing it over to the customers. Once the onboarding is complete - CSM and Support teams are responsible for helping the customers.

As a customer-driven organization, Glean aims to be highly available and responsive to its customers - and deliver not just a great product, but also a commitment to making it’s customers successful. Being always available and highly responsive is a key part of this commitment - and Slack is the natural tool of communication with customers to achieve this objective. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Glean finds that Slack was perceptibly better than the alternatives:

“We also noticed that for customers who didn't have Slack or just wanted to work over email, the delays and communication just started piling up”
One of the key advantages of Slack is to be able to pull in different people over time. As customers mature - they transition from Sales Engineering to CSM/Support teams. And Engineers can be pulled in easily to help customers when they have deeper technical issues. Customers feel like they are interacting with an extended team - and this also gives the whole company visibility into the customer engagements.

Challenges scaling Slack Connect

With tens of pilots and hundred+ customer channels - Glean started experiencing scaling pains with Slack Connect. These challenges could be grouped into 3 categories:

  • Lack of a single queue of customer requests: Customer requests are spread across many different Slack channels. Members of the CSM and Support teams spend a lot of time just clicking through white-highlighted channels in Slack to make sure that all customer requests are resolved

  • Lack of a ticketing solution: It is important for enterprise customers to be able to get a ticket-id for tracking purposes and be able to come back and lookup the status of such tickets. This is not possible with Slack itself - and having a separate ticketing system and a disjointed way of interacting with it introduces friction.

  • Measurability: Slack is a messaging platform - and it is not possible to measure customer request volumes. This is critical to understand both the performance of the product as well as to plan capacity for future growth.

Glean became an early design partner for ClearFeed in 2021 with a goal to solving these challenges.

How did ClearFeed fit ?

Using the ClearFeed solution has helped Glean tackle some of these challenges with Slack. ClearFeed plugs into Glean’s customer Slack channels, as well as integrates with it’s ticketing platform. 

  • Consolidated notification queues: ClearFeed identifies actionable user requests across all the customer Slack channels and funnels them into two notification queues (one for Pre-Sales and one for CS). These teams can now focus on a single queue of open requests and be able to make sure they are all responded to in a timely manner.

  • Syncing Slack to Tickets: Using ClearFeed, Slack threads can be easily converted into tickets. This allows customers to begin the conversation on Slack and then easily park any issue needing a longer term resolution in a support ticket. With two-way synchronization between Slack and Tickets - customers on Slack are kept updated when the ticket is resolved.

  • Detailed Service Metrics:: Glean uses ClearFeed insights to understand the volume and nature of customer requests. This allows them to plan Support capacity as well as understand the support needs of different segments of customers.

According to Greg - the ability to form a single stream of notifications out of hundreds of channels allows his relatively small team to be able to service a lot of customers in a scalable and effective manner.

"Being able to queue all requests in one place and make sure they are addressed is important for customer satisfaction. My team members can acknowledge requests and let the rest of the team know that they don't need to look it."

Wish List

One of Glean's asks is a way to do one-to-many communication with customers. Since ClearFeed is already installed on all customer channels - these can be grouped and a single communication sent out to all of them.

Product updates are a good use case for this. While these updates are embedded in the main product, they are not read by everyone - and Slack offers another way to send such updates to key stakeholders. Similarly, one can proactively send out operational updates via Slack to all affected customers.

(Update: Since this interview/case-study was conducted - ClearFeed has shipped an Announcements module covering the feature requested above)

Conclusion and Parting Advice

Greg's parting advice to people who are just starting to think about scaling customer collaboration:

"Plan ahead and think about scale early on rather than letting it hit you and over the head when you're not able to keep up with the volume. The thing I like about ClearFeed today: the ability to channelize the the requests into into one place so you can focus your energy and time in one place."
Sage advice for us as well, as we rapidly onboard users! We look forward to working with Glean in helping their customers succeed and can't wait to roll out a ton of new functionality to them.
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