Pivoting during a pandemic
Clerk enables teams to send and receive SMS in Slack. At the beginning of 2020, our mission was to build the first billion-dollar business on top of Slack. As the world changed during a pandemic, so did our grand plans.
Enduring digital transformation
By early last year, our Slack app had won the Slack Hackathon, was featured on Product Hunt, and adoption was climbing. Then, the pandemic hit. We saw a significant decrease in the number of installs, so we feared the worst.
Many of our customers are small businesses, like event and construction companies, that use Slack for both communication and collaboration. Impacted by the pandemic, these businesses ceased operations and their Slack usage.
But early indicators are not predictors of final outcomes, as businesses started a shift toward digital. Discovering tools like Shopify, Slack, and Clerk, we were able to become an essential part of this wave of digital transformation.
Slack SMS — Breaking down communication silos
Our vision at Clerk is to help our customers consolidate communication tools, like Slack, email, webchat, calling, etc. Information often flows into a system that’s only visible to an individual user, like email, then is stuck there unless shared elsewhere. We call this chasm in communication the messenger problem.
The challenge with this flow is that it relies on user-initiated action to share the critical information in all the right places. For instance, a customer support ticket is generally solved by the customer support team, but the key learnings and outcomes only sometimes flow back to other teams like sales, engineering, and product.
Slack is beautiful and successful because it allows anyone from any team to communicate, peruse channels, and consume information in both active and passive ways.
Building on this, when customers are empowered to text a business number via Clerk, details flow into channels for easy collaboration in real-time. This results in a more cohesive team and better customer experience — ultimately, driving sales, retention, and referrals.
Solving the messenger problem during a pandemic
Over the course of 2020, as companies adapted to dramatic change, so did humanity. Medical response to the pandemic was fast, and several first-responding companies adopted Clerk on Slack for gathering COVID support information. Our Slack app made a small impact on the world!
That same early shift to digital was now being leveraged by medical professionals and the general public, transforming critical information into a more human experience. No extensive calling menu, canned responses, or wait times to get to a person. Slack and Clerk were connecting people to people.
“One major feature that helped us during COVID was texting via Clerk,” said Zhanetta Shapiro, a Staten Island-based doctor of audiology at Audiology Island. “The fact that it was integrated with [both] Slack and our database made communication much easier with our patients, regardless if we were in the office or not. It is wonderful knowing that our entire team can stay connected and help our patients get answers right away.”
More to come
Today, Clerk serves hundreds of paying customers — and growing every day. Addressing the needs of both large corporations and nonprofits, we are on a mission to solve the messenger problem for everyone using Slack.