The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Customer Service Productivity Using Slack

You can provide better customer service by using Slack.

Successful businesses run like well-oiled machines. But for a company’s gears to work in tandem, collaboration between departments—from customer support (CS) to engineering—is key. This might seem like a fairly obvious statement, but many companies still struggle to facilitate the flow of information across teams, especially within the realm of CS.

According to an eConsultancy report, 40% of departments have different agendas, and only 29% of CS teams say that customer support is collaborative process. The result of inefficient customer service? According to Accenture, the estimated cost of customer switching is a whopping $1.6 trillion.

With the surge of collaboration apps in the market, what was once considered an organic process now requires strategic planning on the part of business leaders. How can companies bridge the ever-widening communication gap?

A chat platform like Slack is one solution. More than just a means of message exchange, Slack can be a connective fabric that binds all facets of your organization together. When teams use it as a central platform to manage conversations between stakeholders, they can be more productive. And with a vast number of integration possibilities with apps like Zendesk and ServiceNow, CS agents can actively go the distance for their customers—without ever leaving Slack.

Eliminating Administrative Work and Context-Switching

CS agents are the frontline of any business, but few customers are aware of the behind-the-scenes support workflows. Administrative processes—such as manually searching for tickets or logging incidents—might seem like second nature. But these small tasks are huge productivity killers. Context switching, the act of moving back and forth between different activities, hinders workers and their ability to be effective and quick. According to Gerald Weinberg’s book, Quality Software Management: Systems Thinking adding just one extra project will cause a worker to lose 20% of their time. Adding a third project will waste nearly half of their time to context switching.

It’s hard to cut multi-tasking out of a customer support job completely, but you can greatly reduce friction by making the different tasks CS agents have to perform possible from one central hub and making the information they need easy to find. You can streamline these tasks with Workbot, a bot that runs on Workato’s powerful integration and automation platform, and allows you to make Slack the central hub for all CS conversation and work. Like your own personal assistant, you can command Workbot to take actions in other apps without ever leaving the Slack console.  For example, you can ask Workbot to show you all remaining open tickets from ServiceNow; you can even create a new ticket, right from Slack! Using Workbot is a simple but powerful way for CS agents to stay focused and on-task.

Read more about making Slack your ServiceNow hub here.

Managing Your Workload and Triaging Tickets for A Faster Response Time

According to a Walker study, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020. One pillar of a good customer experience is a competitive First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate. Once a customer submits an inquiry, the clock starts ticking; 75% of online customers expect a response within the first five minutes.

To efficiently respond to customers, CS teams need an efficient way to triage tickets and keep pace as issues develop. Teams can use an app like Zendesk, a customer service platform, to manage and get updates on customer tickets. But when things get hectic—which, for a CS team, is almost every day—agents just don’t have the luxury of parsing through their Zendesk dashboards one issue at a time. They need a broad overview of their issues so they can strategize and optimize their workflows.

75% of online customers expect a #CustServ response within the first five minutes. Click To Tweet

With Workbot, agents can ask for summaries of their data as they need it. For example, a CS team lead could schedule a daily, 9:00 AM report of all active tickets. The report will automatically be pushed to the Slack channel of her choice every morning, so she has reliable data about her team’s workload for the day without manually looking through Zendesk. For an even quicker glimpse of ticket data, she can also ask Workbot to generate a pie chart or bar graph. This visual representation can help her better understand issues at first glance and speed up the resolution process.

Want to know more about using Slack and Zendesk together? Click here.

Crowdsourcing Expert Help for Support Tickets in Slack

According to Accenture, 89% of customers get frustrated because they often need to repeat their issues to multiple CS representatives. To increase the likelihood of solving a customer problem the first time around, CS agents need easy access to the right information. But even with easy access to info and data, a CS agent will sometimes receive a question beyond their level of expertise—like a troubleshooting question, for example. In that case, getting the right answer for a customer is a lot more difficult, because the agent needs to involve someone from another team like engineering.

Together with Zendesk, Slack can eliminate this bottleneck by bridging the gap between CS and other departments. By integrating the two apps, it’s easy to crowdsource expert help from other teams. At Workato, we call our automations recipes, because they’re plain English instructions for doing work between apps. To ease the burden on CS, a simple recipe can automatically send Slack notifications to the right team based on tags in Zendesk.

For example, if an agent adds a “technical” tag to a Zendesk ticket, the automation will send a message to the #engineering-help channel in Slack. As long as both teams belong to that channel, engineering can then advise CS on resolving the issue by making comments directly via Slack. With this integration, CS can easily seek expert opinions and resolve customer inquiries more efficiently than ever.

Find out more about crowdsourcing expert help with Slack and Zendesk.

Keeping Tabs on Ticket Volume and VIP Customers

If you receive Zendesk notifications via Slack, you can filter them based on a threshold you set. This modification is especially helpful for any manager who want a quick and easy way to see their team’s status once a specific threshold is exceeded.

A huge spike in ticket activity, for example, often indicates an underlying problem. With threshold-based notifications, managers and team leads can easily spot trends in ticket volume and act accordingly.
To better serve high-value or VIP customers, you can receive Zendesk ticket notifications based on pre-set customer values. If you’re monitoring a particular VIP customer, for example, you can receive automatic Slack notifications whenever that person submits a ticket. And when a ticket is marked as high priority, you can also access the relevant information on that customer in your CRM directly in Slack as well! In tandem, these two integrations give you a 360° view of your customers from both a bird’s eye perspective and on a granular level.

To learn more about setting up threshold-based Slack notifications, click here.

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