Pick Up the Slack, or Why Speed Matters for Customers
Slack. The word conjures up relaxation, or even lethargy, slowness, torpor, lassitude. Far from it. Slack, the messaging product used daily by over 5 million people, is anything but slow. Spend three months with Slack, like our team at Onboardify did, and if you’re a fast-moving team at any knowledge-based business, you just know that Slack isn’t about lethargy or relaxation. It’s about harnessing the speed of collaboration, about learning the ways speed can make you, your team, and your company listen faster, say faster, build faster, feedback faster, and earn faster. How do you use Slack to respond faster to customers? Read on.
Fast. Faster. Fastest.
The success of Slack has been written about, and the numbers I repeat aren’t new. 5 million daily active users, 1.5 million paying customers, and $150 million in annual recurring revenue as of Jan. 31. As of just yesterday, there is talk of Amazon offering $9 billion for the messaging company. Slack has delivered a product that has been hugely successful, and as a Silicon Valley company using Slack for internal team messaging, we see why both the speed of messaging as well as the plethora of application integrations make it a must-have product.
In the years since Slack rocket-shipped into our lives, many products have come (and some, gone), aiming to spurn Slack, denounce the very lightness that gives the product its edge, harangue its philosophy of quick chats, and even supplant it. Slow down, they say. The problem with Slack, they say, are the unending streams without a beginning, a start and an end, the dozens of channels that require you to pick and choose your way through communications. Organize. Even, turn it off.
How wrong they are.
Speed is the secret DNA of Slack’s success — and the killer application for customer acquisition, engagement and success.
Moving at the Speed of Business
The team at our company, Onboardify, knows a thing or two about speed. 100% of us are engineers who came from a software infrastructure company Dynatrace, which acquired a company we had previously built. Our software was used to speed up websites, and it was used by Microsoft, Yahoo, FedEx, Citibank, Sony, and many others. A SaaS application, we collected almost 1 billion records in our Oracle database every day, each one of these a signal that would tell us if a website, a mobile app, or a server was slowing down, compared to, say 60 seconds ago. We analyzed months of this voluminous data in seconds. Analysts give it fancy names — Big Data, Predictive Intelligence, Application Performance Management. We analyzed these large data sets in seconds because speed was essential to our customers. If Amazon’s website or mobile app were slow, or even down, every second would be crucial to revenue for Amazon. So we became speed junkies — driven by the need to alert quickly, move faster, fix quickly, and make the world all right, again.
What we learnt is this — if you have a team that is fundamentally driven by the need for speed, it changes how you operate. In industries such as finance, retail, e-commerce, or media — speed was essential to survival, revenue, and brand. Safeway moved like a lumbering giant all these years, while Whole Food Market moved quickly. You could tell in the litheness and speed of the Whole Foods staff, compared to the stolid slowness of Safeway employees. Amazon purchased Whole Foods for over $13 billion. Grocery stocks plummeted: Kroger fell 13.4%. SuperValu was down 16%. Costco sank 7.5%. What made these stocks fall was the concern of investors that Amazon valued speed, and that speed — of merchandising, logistics and customer service — is what will shake up the grocery industry.
One area that we felt was overlooked was the speed at which companies communicated with and on the behalf of customers. CRMs like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and HubSpot were designed around the work of a salesperson, to help them organize and shape how they communicated internally on how sales deals were going. A new notion began to make the rounds — that organizations needed not just a system of record, but also a system of engagement, with some debate over whether they were one or separate products. The fact is that systems of engagement — those tools that make it possible to connect with customers, and, on behalf of these customers, with internal teams — have to be designed from the ground up to focus on communications, not organization. That’s why systems of record like Salesforce, Dynamics and HubSpot are designed around companies, contacts and deals.
Products like Slack and our product, Dossier, are designed around the concept of messaging and underscored by speedy technologies. In Slack, send a message, and it appears, for tens or hundreds of people in your team, on all the desktop computers and smartphones they are on, instantly. Slack, though, is designed around making internal communications faster, and it’s just starting to use Slack to connect two organizations — this configuration is called the Slack Enterprise Grid. We wanted to extend the use of Slack to communicate naturally with customers — gaining the speed of Slack, but without the complexity of forcing customers to choose our communication channels.
So we built Dossier, an app for organizing customer conversations, no matter where it happens, with zero disruption to the ways you already communicate. And it gives us great pleasure to announce our FREE Slack app that allows you to reply to website chats and customer emails without leaving Slack. This video shows you how you can use Slack to talk to website visitors. Check out http://www.dossier.work/apps/slack for more information. Dossier is FREE for up to 5,000 messages, and if we can be useful to you, we’d of course, love it if you signed up.
Productivity is not just a goal designed for internal teams to collaborate. It is essential to extend productivty to all customer interactions with clients and prospects. Leads visit your website, ask questions, and you answer them instantly — in Slack. Sometimes these leads are new contacts within companies that you already work with, or they are existing clients that need to be routed to their account manager. Handing the baton to different teams is where impedance begins. Customers can email, text, tweet, or facebook you or someone in your organization. Your company has at least 5 different communication channels, and anywhere from 5 to tens of thousands of customer facing employees. Speeding up customer communications becomes harder as teams diverge around time zones, geographies, and divisional structures. An organization naturally fills with torpor, and there is slack in the system. By using Slack on the front lines of your customer channels, you can speed up customer issue resolution, lead routing, or account management. Our mantra is:
About Vik Chaudhary
Vik Chaudhary is the CEO of Onboardify (http://www.onboardify.com) in San Francisco, the maker of Dossier. To business professionals and teams, Dossier by Onboardify is an app for organizing communications with customers. In his spare time, Vik observes how companies communicates with customers.
Dossier by Onboardify is an app for organizing customer conversations, no matter where it happens, with zero disruption to the ways you already communicate. Based in San Francisco, Onboardify is helping business owners, business professionals and teams around the globe intelligently sync their customer communication channels and organize documents, tasks and more. Welcome to a new way to build better customer relationships and a better business. Sign up for a free account today at http://www.dossier.work.