Blog

Customer Support Automation Tips and Shortcuts for Your Internal #support-help Slack Channel

March 26, 2024
Liz Melton
Liz Melton
Table of Contents
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
Productivity Trend #1
Productivity Trend #2
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
Share on

Support reps are some of the most underappreciated folks in B2B SaaS.

They spend all day triaging a wide range of customer questions and scenarios. And to do that, they must:

  • Develop an intimate knowledge of the product
  • Be on call during odd or weekend hours
  • Deal with varying customer personalities
  • Harbor the pressure of meeting customer SLAs

On top of all that, some support managers are tasked with answering their own team’s questions in a #support-help or #ask-support Slack channel.

It’s a lot of work, but these folks can’t afford to slow down. Customers and team members depend on them.

So, how can they make at least one part of their day — monitoring the #support-help Slack channel — a little more manageable?

Below, we’re offering five strategies to simplify and streamline the customer support rep experience, with customer support automation tips and tricks from users who’ve implemented them successfully in their organizations.

5 steps to revamp your #support-help channel with customer support automation:

1. Set realistic SLAs and build strong SOPs

Every question is different — some require more time to research and think through than others. So adjust your internal SLA times for various categories. For example, process or enablement questions may get a longer response time than time-sensitive customer questions. Beyond defining response times, be sure to include escalation procedures and examples of acceptable communication behavior.

Matt Ramirez, the founder of AI startup, Rephrasely, suggests also creating standard operating procedures, or SOPs.

“Alongside SLAs, it’s also important to establish standard operating procedures for managing the support channel. SOPs outline the steps channel managers should follow when handling inquiries so that they’re answered consistently and efficiently.”

These SOPs could contain predefined templates for responding to certain types of customer questions, standard troubleshooting steps, and protocols for managing complex issues with the product or engineering team.

Channel managers could even use a Slack Canvas to create and share a fully formatted SOP so users don’t have to click on a separate Google Doc or Notion link. The Create Canvas button is at the top right of a Slack channel next to the Huddle icon.

Along with other FAQ docs or links to knowledge bases, pin your SLAs and SOPs to the top of the channel. This (1) gives employees a sense of what to expect when they post in #support-help and (2) helps the channel run more smoothly. Make a point to review these when mentioning the #support-help channel during new hire training.

2. Take advantage of time blocking

Depending on the volume of questions in #ask-support, channel managers could spend all day fielding questions. And that takes valuable time away from serving customers. One solution to managing this extra workload? Time blocking.

Shubham Singh, Head of Content and Ops at DemandSage, says, “Allocating blocks of time for monitoring and responding to queries helps you prioritize tasks and set boundaries. This is key to managing your workload effectively and preventing burnout.” 

If they can’t answer a customer question within their dedicated time block, they can use Slack’s reminder feature to circle back to it on their next one. With shortcuts as a kind of customer support automation, setting reminders becomes even faster:

  1. Type “/remind” and select it from the shortcuts menu that appears.
  2. Type the details of your reminder like this: “/remind [yourself or #channel] [what] [when].”
  3. Send your message.

To line these reminders up even better with their schedule, they can set a default time to receive them:

  1. Click on your profile picture.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Scroll down to “Set a default time for reminder notifications.”
  4. Select an option from the drop-down menu.

If channel managers happen to get a burst of free time, they can review and respond to all the reminders they set by navigating to the “Later” tab on the left-hand side of Slack. Outside of these timeblocks, channel managers can mute notifications and customize their Slack statuses to indicate when they’ll be back to answering questions.

3. Use Slack’s native support tool integrations

In many cases, support reps ask questions within a ticket thread in Zendesk, Gorgias, ServiceNow, or Intercom. Cutting and pasting that question into #help-cs to get an answer from a manager or other team member is a total waste of time.

Since Slack already integrates with these tools, use them to pull questions into Slack so channel managers can respond directly from the Slack UI. This also ensures you aren’t sharing any confidential customer information in Slack — messages from customer support automation platforms will come with a link to the ticket housing all the information a manager might need.

From there, leverage Slack’s workflow builder to notify #support-help channel managers of the most pressing customer questions or inquiries with specific keywords. This will help them focus on the most important messages and push the lower-priority questions to the bottom of their queue.

They could even build a customer support automation workflow that enables them to escalate questions to an engineering channel or push bugs or potential product feature requests to a product-managed channel.

Slack uses its own workflows to get agents up to speed on the latest and greatest product changes. In this Slack on Slack post, they share how they use a combination of workflows to: 

  • Unify all the information about a product launch (product area, description, relevant project channels, points of contact) into a checklist. Any updates happen in the thread so they are easily viewable and searchable.
  • Work with product partners on training documentation, launch announcements, and other customer-facing materials in both Asana and Zendesk.
  • Pull up post-launch threads using a custom emoji.

4. Start huddles for quick conversations

Some customer support questions are easier to answer live than over text — even screenshots may not do the trick.

In those cases, encourage your channel managers to use Slack’s huddle feature. They can talk through a question over call or video and ask the poster to walk through their problem or question over a screen share (the poster and channel manager can even share their screen at the same time).

Alternatively, channel managers could use Slack’s integration with Loom to record and post quick answers straight from Slack. They can also use Slack's file browser to find relevant videos, screenshots, or documents they may have sent to other Slack users before. The browser is in the More section of the left-hand navigation and has date and file type filtering to speed up a channel manager’s search.

All of these methods help channel managers identify the root cause of a problem quicker and get to a resolution faster.

5. Deploy Dashworks AI knowledge assistant for customer support automation

AI knowledge assistants are chatbots that use natural language processing (NLP) to intelligently process questions and search for possible answers.

Dashworks, for instance, connects to an organization’s Slack and uses API calls to email clients, wikis, databases, Slack conversations, cloud-hosted documentation, and SaaS apps to provide the most up-to-date, near-real-time answers to employee questions. Because Dashworks is an always-on tool, team members can ask questions and get answers anytime, anywhere.

Connecting the Dashworks Slackbot to #support-help channels can automatically generate answers to questions like:

  • What’s our relationship with customer X like?
  • How can customers clear their cache in our mobile app?
  • What link do I send customers who want to share a G2 review?
  • Can you pull up the logs for the past 24 hours for X client?
  • Where are our guidelines for customer appeasement?
  • How do you resolve [insert product error message]?

This leaves fewer questions in channel managers’ queues and gets reps highly relevant, accurate answers immediately — ultimately making everyone more efficient. 

The best part? The Dashworks Slackbot learns from channel manager answers, so they never have to answer the same question twice. For the best Dashworks output, our customers connect their #support-help channel to:

  • Help doc apps like Helpjuice
  • Support tools like Zendesk or Intercom
  • Wikis like Microsoft SharePoint or Confluence
  • Email service providers like Gmail and Outlook

Spend your time where it matters. Onboarding new support reps and answering team questions efficiently means support leaders have more time to spend fixing customer problems. Fixing those problems faster and more accurately means more satisfied, loyal customers — something every B2B SaaS company aims for.

Want to see how it’s done? Sign up for a free trial of Dashworks or book a demo today.

Heading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Sign up for Dashworks

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Schedule a demo
Book a demo
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Explore more posts

Book a Demo

Schedule time