7 Tips for Product Information Management: Mastering the #product-help Slack Channel

March 27, 2024
Liz Melton
Liz Melton
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Product managers tend to be very organized people — they have to be.

Their kryptonite? Slack.

Product managers who oversee a #product-help channel have it particularly tough. Everyone at the company wants to get some product information: to know the status of a bug fix, when their feature request will be prioritized, and when they can share sensitive product information with prospects and customers.

But no matter how many times PMs point to documentation, share slides, or link to the backlog, the #ask-support product questions keep coming. And that cuts into the time they could’ve spent talking to customers, clarifying user stories, and prioritizing new features that will give their company a competitive edge.

If you’re a PM, you’re probably hanging your head right now in despair. But don’t fear — we’ve come up with 7 ways to ease your workload with product information requests, based on input from PMs. Let’s dive in.

7 steps to optimizing product information delivery in your #ask-product channel

1. Pin relevant docs

Most answers to #product-help questions already exist in some document, slide, or project management tool. Pinning important documents and FAQs makes them easy for end users to access and reminds them to try a self-serve method first. 

Alari Aho, CEO and founder of Toggl, says, “Never underestimate the power of a well-organized FAQ or resources section pinned at the top of the channel. It acts like a first line of defense, helping users help themselves before reaching out for more specific assistance.”

Think about pin

  • Release notes
  • Technical documentation
  • Internal product roadmaps
  • External-facing product roadmaps
  • Product marketing messaging docs
  • New feature announcement videos or interactive demos

If you find people regularly asking for these links, build a workflow tied to an emoji. If you, as the channel manager, react to a message with this emoji, the poster gets a DM, a message in the channel, or a message in a thread reminding them to check pinned documents with requested product information.

Reddit user Matails used this method to remind his peers to reply in threads. “The key here is that the workflow can be reused. If 20 people use the emoji on a message, that user will get 20 reminders. It whips people into shape pretty quick. It also gives you an easy visual of which comments to ignore.”

2. Establish channel manager boundaries

It’s so easy to go down rabbit holes trying to answer a user’s product questions only to realize you’ve wasted an hour and still don’t have an answer — and you probably didn’t have that hour to waste.

To rein in your time, create your own boundaries in Slack. 

First, set up a rotational schedule among you and your fellow product managers. That way, you’re not monitoring the #product-help channel constantly — you’re just responding during their specific timeslot. This approach will minimize distractions and spread the workload across you and your peers.

To enforce the shift schedule, you can use a tool like Oliv. It will automatically update your Slack status and auto-respond to messages based on your calendar.

Reddit user islandbrook says that Oliv, “Lets me set focus time so that Slack won't bother me. It tells others I am in meetings and when I will be out, which allows people not to bother me all the time or to wait for responses rather than pinging me over and over. It even tells them when I'm using certain other apps — saying ‘Islandbrook is emailing’ or ‘Islandbrook is writing’ if I'm in Google Docs.”

3. Host regular product Q&A sessions

You might already have dedicated product announcements during All Hands meetings or other company-wide get-togethers. But those may be infrequent and don’t leave much room for sharing all product information, as well as discussing product questions or employee input, which can crowd the #ask-product channel down the line.

Instead, try hosting monthly or even weekly Q&A sessions in Slack huddles or Zoom. You can answer multiple questions at once and in real-time. Plus, if you record it, you can proactively answer future questions.

After the session is over, run it through a transcription service like Otter to (1) help you identify legitimate bugs or enhancement requests for the product backlog and (2) pull out the product information related topics into a Google or Confluence Doc.

Then, pin that doc to the top of the channel. If you want to take things a step further, build a workflow that triggers whenever there’s a particular keyword, pointing users to that call recording and corresponding document. Alternatively, you could also make the product information flow a bit more manual — firing whenever you react to a message with a specific emoji, as we talked about in Step 1.

4. Connect Slack to other tools

Integrating Slack with product information related tools can help you answer questions faster and avoid losing track of the ones you want to follow up on later. Consider activating Slack’s integrations with:

  • Jira or GitHub: For teams that use these platforms for bug tracking or version control, integrating with Slack can provide channel members with updates about new issues, progress on existing tickets, and code commits. You can also set these up so that only channel managers or Slack admins can push Slack product questions into Jira as issues. If you enable the Jira bot, you can also look up issues on the fly.

(If you don’t use Jira for product management, Slack also has integrations with Asana, Trello, Notion, and Linear)

  • Google Drive, One Drive, or Dropbox: Integrating with your cloud storage service facilitates document, roadmap, and spec sharing. 
  • Loom: To make a quick video answer to someone’s someone’s product question or show precisely how a new feature is intended to work in a screen share.
  • Simple Poll to quickly gather feedback on product features or even the changes you’re making to the channel.

5. Create workflows for bugs and feature requests

Often, #product-help messages turn into bug reports or enhancement requests. To ensure this data doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, add a form to your channel that lets people easily submit requests.

Head to Slack, then:

  1. Click the three dots next to “More” on your home screen.
  2. Click “Automations” → “Templates” → “Collect information
  3. Add your questions.some text
    1. You might ask folks to share when and where a bug showed up, the names of customers who’ve requested a particular feature, the ROI an enhancement will offer end users, or anything else you need to assess the request’s viability and priority.
  4. Reorder the questions by clicking the up or down arrows.
  5. Click Save.

By default, this template sends an automated message to the channel where the workflow was used. You can customize this message in the form editing screen.

You can also configure the workflow to add form responses to a Google Sheet or to other connected apps. Click “Add Step” and then choose the app you want to map responses to.

6. Get tips from your peers

Other PMs may also be struggling to manage their #ask-product channels. Join a product-focused Slack group to exchange ideas and learn from your peers.

Some you might find useful include:

Reddit user ctfan08 also recommends Product Coffee, “Product Coffee is good. Has a lot of experienced PMs, quite a few in leadership positions. Weekly workshops too. I think it’s $25/month.”

7. Get an AI knowledge assistant to answer product questions on your behalf

Wouldn’t it be great if a robot could field #product-help questions for you? Well, it can.

Today’s AI knowledge assistants use natural language processing (NLP) to consume questions and search for possible answers across company apps and databases.

For example, Dashworks can connect to:

  • Code bases like Bitbucket, Github, and Gitlab
  • Wikis like Confluence
  • Project management tools like Jira, Notion, Asana, or Trello
  • Help sites like Stack Overflow for Teams or Gitbook

With these integrations, Dashworks can get #product-help users immediate answers to product questions like:

  • When is X feature being released?
  • Why wasn’t Y request prioritized?
  • Can I tell a prospect about our integration with partner A’s software?
  • Can you give me an example of how to use B feature?

…and, most importantly, the product information will be ample and accurate. On average, the Dashworks Slackbot successfully triages over 40% of end-user questions — and it’ll get even more accurate over time, learning from your answers and consuming the most up-to-date materials and data.

By letting Dashworks do most of the heavy lifting, you’re only responsible for answering the most pressing (and probably the most interesting) product questions, and you can dedicate the remaining time to other strategic activities.

Focus on the tasks that really matter with Dashworks

Dashworks slashes #product-help volume faster than any other Slack time-saving hack. Without constant pings, you can actually focus during periods of deep work, ultimately leading to more releases with more creative features that offer higher ROI to your customers.

Schedule a demo to see the best of the Dashworks Slackbot, or sign up for a free trial to see it in action today.


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