Slack for Customer Service: Work Better Together

Contact center managers are increasingly frustrated. Their leaders are asking them to reduce costs while also scaling support. Their agents are overburdened with cases and confused by too many tools. Add to this the fact that managers don’t have a view into their agent’s daily workloads, and there is a strong risk of poor service and team burnout. But there is a solution: Slack for customer service.

Slack and customer service swarming help team members work together easily, share case knowledge, and solve customer issues fast. Swarming (also referred to as Intelligent Swarming or service swarming), which is when experts from across the company join forces to close cases, simultaneously scales support and reduces costs. The result is quicker case resolution, more productive agents, and increased customer satisfaction scores (CSAT). 

Here’s how it works:

Slack is more than a messaging tool. It gets right to the heart of service, integrating with Service Cloud so teams can access valuable customer data and key information to deliver faster resolutions.

“With Slack for customer service, we’re now able to connect customer service across an entire company — from customer support agents to product engineering, DevOps, security teams, and other departments,” said Clara Shih, CEO of Service Cloud. 

Consider these four ways to use Slack for customer service: 

Customer service agents solve issues faster

The majority of service agents (63%) still struggle to balance speed and quality, according to our latest State of Service report. One key reason: most work across many systems to access experts and knowledge.

63% of service agents still struggle to balance speed and quality.

With Slack, agents tap into a collective knowledge base without working across screens. Additionally, work in Slack happens in channels, collective homes for all the messages and files related to a specific team, topic, or customer. As teams work through complex issues together, a searchable knowledge base grows.

The predictive search function uses artificial intelligence (AI) to show the most relevant and helpful content to resolve cases, including knowledge base articles, logged files, and past resolved tickets. Over time, AI and machine learning (ML) understand the types of searches that your service agents perform to provide the most helpful information.

AI eliminates repetitive tasks and delivers intelligent recommendations that boost productivity and free up service teams to focus on what matters most: strengthening customer relationships.

Swarming to tackle complex issues

Service agents today are more than just problem solvers. In fact, they handle so many complex cases, 77% of agents say their role is more strategic than it was two years ago. Yet the answers to complex issues are not always available in your knowledge base.

Slack connects your service console with the rest of your business so that experts come together to solve problems in real time. This sets off the swarming process. 

Say a high-value customer has a complicated request to split a shipment to many locations over time. The service agent pushes a request into a Slack channel, and experts and managers swarm the case. They set up a quick discussion to get on the same page and document the steps to resolve the case. This swarming approach can be powered with our new Service Cloud for Slack app. This app brings the customer record into Slack so that teams can swarm on customer issues in Slack alongside Service Cloud data.

Another benefit of service swarming is accelerated agent training. This is especially important in a remote work environment, where agents can’t huddle in person at the office. Less-experienced service agents and highly-skilled experts come together to solve cases in real time. Service agents access previously siloed expertise and acquire new skills on the job.

One benefit of case swarming is accelerated agent training. Less-experienced agents and experts come together to solve cases in real time.

Give key business accounts personalized service

Impersonal, one-size-fits-all service no longer meets customer expectations. Today’s customers expect tailored service. But business-to-business (B2B) issues can warrant an entire ecosystem of internal and external partners to resolve.

What if you could break down the silos between all these conversations? Using Slack channels and service swarming, service teams can loop in other departments, external partners, and vendors in a single, shared, and secure digital hub. Customers can bring their tools, documents, and people with them. This creates a new avenue for stronger customer relationships.

For example, take the case of a vending machine company. A corporate customer calls to report that one type of candy bar keeps getting stuck. Nothing changed with the vending machine. Nor did the customer change their candy offering. The agent brings a candy company expert into Slack Connect — a channel for connecting with people outside your company — to figure out what’s going on.

The expert explains that the company recently changed the packaging size of that particular candy bar. Next, the expert shares recommendations for similar products that would fit the vending machine. The agent relays this information back to the customer. Then, the agent documents the steps to help other agents handle similar requests. Finally, the agent can be proactive and alert other customers to the packaging change and replacement options.

Unexpected incident? Get in front of it

The unexpected happens. Whether it’s a security breach or power outage, service teams need to handle large-scale incidents on the fly.

Slack provides a single place for service agents, engineers, and investigators to come together. Integrating Slack and Service Cloud helps you accelerate incident management by simultaneously swarming both cases and incidents. For instance, a company with a large outage could jump into action by bringing together company-wide experts in a Slack channel for real-time issue resolution. Worried and anxious customers get updates in real time, which builds trust. 

Plus, agents no longer have to be reactive, waiting for customers to reach out with issues. They can now be proactive, sharing information before customers know they need it. By anticipating needs and breaking down silos, the whole process is smoother, allowing for faster, collaborative, automated work. As a result, your customers get next-level service that makes them feel cared for, every step of the way.

“Using Slack unlocks proactive service — teams swarming and problem-solving on Slack are seamlessly connected with customer-facing teams who can view real-time status of issues and resolutions,” said Shih. “This helps businesses proactively inform affected customers before they call in.”

Watch your organization work together in new ways

Slack can automatically extend service workflows across an entire business. People become more efficient and processes become less complex when teams get simple, standardized answers. A single path for handling issues helps agents spend more time servicing customers while work is directed to cross-functional teams when their input is needed.

You can route requests to other departments with simplified workflows, and even bring voice and video messages into your channels. . Free your agents from processes like onboarding or approvals, and give them time to provide service to customers faster.

Ultimately, intelligent swarming allows contact centers to be more efficient without sacrificing customer experiences, simultaneously scaling support and reducing costs. Powerful automation and AI drives the time savings and cost efficiencies that keep customer connection at the center of every experience.

“In today’s remote and hybrid work reality, customer-facing teams need to be able to easily communicate and collaborate with operations and incident management functions to rapidly problem-solve, resolve complex issues, and unleash the full productivity of the organization,” Shih said.

Now let’s test what you’ve learned

How to get started with Slack for customer service

Slack for customer service makes your support tools even more valuable by bridging the gap between service and the rest of your company. Instead of jumping to different systems and losing valuable time tracking down the right expert, service agents focus on what matters: your customers. Find out more about Slack for customer service. 

Intelligent Swarming℠  is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™

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