Do's and don'ts: lessons for maximizing Slack with customers

01 Jan 2030

If you've decided that working with customers in Slack is a valuable strategy for building trust and long-term growth, it's important to develop an upfront view for how this looks at scale.

In this post, we share lessons and best practices in 3 areas:

  1. Resourcing and setting goals
  2. Think of Slack as a distribution channel for customer success
  3. Make your tools work for you

Let's dive in 😊

1️⃣ Resourcing and setting goals

Slack can be great and Slack can be chaotic. Don't jump to the conclusion that Slack is the best customer channel just because your team loves Slack (there are many ways to support customers in non-Slack channels while keeping your team happily in Slack.)

  • The relationship-focused nature of Slack makes it the best channel for customers where a healthy, consistent relationship can lead to better product, more revenue, and deeper integrations.
  • A good litmus test for whether Slack is the right channel for a particular customer profile is to ask 1) how important is growing this relationship to revenue growth and 2) how customized or technical the solution they're looking for is. We write more about considering high-level criteria here.
  • Because the benefit of Slack is that it can be so effective for creating relationships, it's important to set growth goals for accounts in Slack instead of simply meeting support SLAs. Don't get us wrong – if you're caring for customers in Slack, support is table-stakes – but make sure you create a path for maximizing trust built in Slack to further account happiness, retention, and growth.
  • However your team ends up with for determining which customers are cared for in Slack, make this criteria specific and quantifiable – don't describe customers you're supporting in Slack as "everyone who's important" or "our large accounts".

👀 Common mistakes

  • Blanket-describing everyone you care for in Slack as "everyone's who's important".
  • Within customers in Slack, not differentiating or prioritizing across customers ("all channels are equally important" = "no channel is important").
  • Only setting support goals for customers in Slack: support KPIs should be set, but as a means to improve broader account KPIs like retention, growth opportunity, and renewal confidence.

2️⃣ Think of Slack as "gateway and glue" for customer success

It can be easy to think that because customers can reach you in Slack for anything and everything, they will. But it's important to remember that a key differentiator in using Slack with customers is the ability to create a personalized two-way conversation – so equally important as providing reactive support in Slack is the ability to provide proactive engagement, too.

Instead of using Slack exclusively like a higher-touch support channel, consider thinking of Slack like a distribution and "double-down" channel for your team's more scaled resources – the pipes that can help your team directly deliver a rich set of resources more efficiently and successfully than over email or traditional forums. Then, you can create even stronger customer loyalty by taking the resources your team has built for scaled customers and personalizing them further in Slack.

Engagement in email vs Slack

Let's consider how this might work in the example of an enterprise customer team you'd like to share a product update with. In a channel like email, individual team members might open up your product update, take a few clicks through, and move on with their inbox. Even if they liked reading your update, it would be uncommon for them to start a team discussion based on your email update right away.

Slack engagement is different because unlike email, it's not one-way – immediate responses in Slack channels accelerate engagement by encouraging others to participate and look, too.

What does this mean for you (and Tom) in scaling a holistic customer experience? The main takeaway here is to think of Slack as an amplifier to each part of your customer success strategy instead of a replacement for a single support channel.

👀 Common mistakes

  • Exclusively using Slack as a one-way support channel that customers have for reaching your team, instead of a bi-directional channel for communication and engagement.
  • Not investing in other non-Slack resources that help you scale (e.g, webinar events, FAQs) and relying only on Slack to create awareness and engagement.

3️⃣ Make your tools work for you

It's 100% possible – and totally worth it – to automate the non-personalized, operational elements of setting up Slack with customers. All too frequently, we meet teams who are still creating individual Slack channels one-by-one, making it difficult for the team at large to even know which customers have dedicated channels, which channels are public or private, how healthy the channels are – leading to limited visibility and barriers to helping customers in Slack.

When creating Slack channels, consider the following elements or ideas:

  • Standardize Slack channel naming conventions.
  • Automate the process of creating Slack channels via a homegrown bot – or any number of apps (including Channeled 👋). Tip: if you use Salesforce, loop in your admin team and ask them to create a Flow that automatically creates channels based on Opportunity Closed & opportunity criteria.
  • Automatically update Salesforce or Hubspot stages/fields to reflect that channels have been created, and capture the channel name back into your CRM fields for better team visibility.
  • Use a homegrown bot, Zapier, or customer success app (like Channeled) to instantly track engagement/activity in Slack, alert you when engagement is low, and report it back into your CRM.
  • Use a homegrown bot, Zapier, or customer success app (like Channeled) to automatically post a welcome or onboarding message in Slack for newly created channels or invited customers.
  • Automating a handoff template that your systems team can implement as part of the Opportunity or Deal flow within your CRM – ensuring that the right information about customers can be input and shared for every customer.

👀 Common mistakes

  • Relying on individual sales team members to create their own Slack channels for customers
  • Using manually created docs or templates to track hand-off instead of an in-CRM flow

👋 Learn how Channeled can help

Channeled can help you make the most of your existing tools and scale the high-touch, high-impact experience customers get in Slack.

  • Automatically create channels, set SLAs, and segment customers across your team 🗂
  • Connect to your CRMs to keep owners, account statuses, and activity in sync 🔄
  • Respond to customers when they need help at scale with triaging, workflow management, and follow-ups 🤖
  • Amplify customer engagement and happiness with broadcasts and announcements 🎉

Healthy Slack channels & happy customers.

Better together.

Create scalable customer channels in Slack that grow engagement and revenue. Let's chat!

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