Setup Customer Channels for Success

The Problem

Customer Slack channels are a gateway to meet your customers in a platform of their choosing. Emails are good for formal communication, but workflow management is notoriously hard. It is asynchronous, leads to delays and creates an information silo. This is why, a lot of customers prefer Slack channels with their vendors.

To support such customers, organisations often face the below challenges:

  • Customers now expect you to be 'Always ON'.
    • How do I ensure that my customer's expectations on response time, processes, and where to ask what questions are understood and implemented by the customer?
  • More the number of customer channels, the harder it gets to scale
    • Outside of email, ticketing systems, and Zoom/ Teams Conferencing, now there is also Slack as an input to your Customer Facing teams. This leads to a lot of wasted manual effort, and triaging.
  • Missed opportunity to strengthen the relationship due to missed messages
    • There is no one central place where a user can go to see all communication across customers, or off customers of a specific segment. Also, there is no way to identify questions from a customer and see if it is actionable or not


Expectation Setting

Have clarity in why you setup the channel, and what the realistic resolution times/ SLAs look like for questions (or response times in general). Communicate the same to your customer, and ensure that the Channel Description, and Protocols for communication are pinned to the channels.

We recommend sending messages like below when setting up a customer shared channel. This will help your customers understand how to use the channel, and get introduced to your team.

What should your Channel Description look like

This channel is meant to ensure that Acme Corp is able to setup product ABC to achieve its broader goals. Our Response SLA is 8 working hours and Resolution SLA is 48 working hours. We support our customers from 7 am - 6 pm PST.
To get the best of this channel

  1. Highlight the issue under one thread (v/s multiple messages as they are hard to search). It is critical to highlight the impact of the issue on your objective. Please share images/videos within the same thread.
  2. Use ❗❗to highlight urgency. We will look to resolve it on a best effort basis.
  3. Use [email protected] to send support related requests {If your organisation does not have smart integrations}.
  4. Please visit our help documentation for more information
    πŸ‘‰ This channel will be available only during the onboarding of product ABC. Post that, this channel will be a paid feature. πŸ‘ˆ
    Thena has the ability to send welcome messages, reminders, alerts and more. You will soon be able to customise your Sales -> Post Sales handovers through Thena.

Thena has the ability to send welcome messages, reminders, alerts and more. You will soon be able to customise your Sales -> Post Sales handovers through Thena.

Scalability of Customer Channels

It is critical to understand how you want your support requests to flow. In our experience, basis product complexity, ~ 50-70% of all customer communication on Slack are support requests (monthly average).
If your support organisation uses a ticketing tool (Zendesk, Freshdesk, Salesforce Cases, Intercom, Gorgias, Front, Notion etc), we strongly recommend that you use an integration.
Outside of support requests, there are often product feature requests, account based requests, or marketing/product material that is exchanged across these channels. These require your CRM and your product tool (e.g. Notion, Productboard) to be tightly coupled with Slack.

Once the information integrations are unlocked, then it is a simple case of ensuring your processes are robust enough to handle the volume of requests wrt the SLA. Having your Knowledge-base updated is a huge boon here, as this would help ensuring that answers are quickly available for common questions.

If all your integrations and processes are aligned, then any customer communication can be easily dealt with and the relevant teams can be brought into the picture at the click of a button.

Thena has integrations across a whole host of ticketing, product and CRM tools.
If your support org is evaluating a tool for support, Thena has ticketing capabilities as well. Know more about how we differentiate ourselves here.

Why Should your integrations be Bi-Directional?

Integrations must be bi - directional in that the customer never needs to leave Slack, while your support team never needs to leave their tool. The integration should support rich text, plain text, attachments, gif's, inline images, and more.

Also, cater to the fact that the Slack conversations are real time, and configure in which scenarios do you want a reply from your CS team to the customer to show up in your Integration.

It is critical that your CRM integrations are well thought out. The CRMs are fast becoming a data dump, where every data point exists yet most of it cannot be found/ needs tools to unravel the intelligence. Ensure that you think through your data models.

Organised, Proactive and Streamlined Communication.

Given that you will have multiple touch-points for communication with your customer, its important to have all your conversations under one roof, with the ability to identify open questions, priority, request type and more.
The ability to manage one inbox and respond to it from one ecosystem is priceless, but is a distant reality in a lot of organisations. You can use tools (like Thena), or find best effort workarounds.
Here, we suggest using Slack's notifications, setting up the appropriate channel notification settings (when should you be pinged - at mentions, for any message etc), and forwarding your support emails onto a common Slack Channel.

Forwarding your email will at least ensure that you have an understanding of communication coming in (it is unfortunately not bi-directional, so you cannot reply through Slack to your email). Also, we would recommend that you work with your Technology team to ensure that the Customer Slack communication data makes its way back into your CRM for visibility and analytics.

From integrating with your CRM, to the ability to detect customer requests, Thena is actively working to ensure that you always provide the best Customer Experience and strengthen your customer health.

With the power of our Intent Recognition model, we now have the ability to highlight customer questions/requests that have not been catered to. Also, our Actionable Intelligence ecosystem ensures that you set your organisation up for Post Sales success.