Direct communication with customers and clients is more important than ever. Social media and the Internet have raised the stakes in offering great customer service. In a survey from ZenDesk, they found that the number-one element in defining a good customer service interaction for most clients is a speedy resolution. And number two? A kind and helpful representative.

These days, it’s all about responding to your clients quickly and efficiently before they take their needs to one of your competitors just a single Google search away. In another survey from the Harvard Business Review, it’s stated that “businesses that try to contact leads within an hour of receiving queries are 7x more likely to enjoy meaningful conversations with key decision makers than businesses that contact prospects even after an hour.”

All it takes is an hour (and possibly even less time) to earn or lose a new client. It’s time to connect with your customers the easy way: with Slack.

Why Slack?

The simplest reason is that Slack is already one of the biggest players in the professional communication game; there’s nothing to lose and so much to gain. Many companies have given up email completely and replaced it with Slack, turning this messaging app into the all-around online hub of communication. The average user spends 10 hours a day logged onto Slack, making it incredibly easy to connect with other users who are already on it.

With six million daily users and 77% of companies on the Fortune 100 on Slack’s platform, creating a Slack community for your business opens it up to a ton of new prospects while adding tons of value to the interactions with your existing clients. Here’s how you can benefit both potential and existing customers with a Slack community devoted to your industry.

For Potential Customers and Clients

Create a Community for Insights and Tips

ProdPad is a company that provides software to businesses that helps them with brand and product management. They found that most of their cancellations were from clients who weren’t part of their forum community, which is why they decided to grow their community through Slack.

By opening up a Slack community with their customers, ProdPad opened their doors to a host of advantages they didn’t have before: complete transparency with their customers, direct customer interaction and feedback, and the ability for customers to give live feedback on their latest mockups and sketches. Potential customers with concerns and questions could get a response and participate in live discussions immediately. And, when relevant ProdPad could add a link to their blog or product page to turn prospects into customers.

Get Insight from Organic Community Growth

When it comes to creating a Slack community and various Slack channels for your business, it’s important to realize that you might not know all the needs and concerns of your clients.

Slack allows businesses to let their communities grow organically; members can break out of general channels and create alternative spaces for more specific and centered discussions. This might provide insights into areas that your business might not be focusing on, allowing the community to help the business grow.

One company, Ocado Technology, found that by letting their Slack community grow on its own—with users creating public and private channels for separate discussions related to the business—they created specific areas of interest that better allowed discussion to evolve. Potential clients could possibly contribute to these new areas of growth by suggesting channels and creating new points of discussion. This lifted the curtain on what areas Ocado Technology was yet to develop in, to acquire new customers.

Offer Fun Activities to Build Connections

Interacting with your clients on Slack doesn’t have to be official and stiff; the direct peer-to-peer communication actually encourages the opposite, allowing for more creative ways to make use of the platform.

Buffer is one company that has found a way to make fun connections with clients through Slack. Buffer offers a variety of activities that new and existing clients can participate in through their Slack community, such as weekly goals, social media challenges, Product Office Hours chatting, and community meetups. This creates opportunities to build trustworthy relationships with prospects.

For Existing Customers and Clients

Boost Conversion Rate

Alex López, Founder and CTO of Plytix (a SaaS platform that helps small to medium businesses optimize product data), believes that it’s key to connect with new and existing users within the first five minutes after they have signed up or sent a query. As he states, “That instant connection is crucial to building a solid relationship and improving your conversion rate.”

So how do they do it? Instead of having a single team member staring at the email inbox all day, they instead use Slack to notify and alert them whenever a new account is created or a new message is received. A custom-built bot notifies the Plytix team in the #signups channel, and a member of the team is dispatched to answer the query or connect with the new signup immediately.

And if they need additional support to talk to the new signup or customer, Slack enables them to provide this help whenever needed. Slack allows them to invite other team members with different specialties or language skills to the chat and connect with the customer.

Connect through Shared Channels for Full Transparency

There is nothing more satisfying from a customer’s point of view than a business that allows for full transparency, and with Slack, many businesses make that happen. Parlevel Systems, a company that assists with vending machine software and hardware installation, allows clients to share pictures, questions, documents, links, and anything else to their team through Slack.

This has made it easier for both their clients and their team—instead of splitting their time and resources through a variety of platforms like phone calls and emails, everyone can see every ongoing issue immediately. If a different team member is needed to help out, they can jump in right away, and a customer can see that the team is working towards solving their issue.

With another company, Crispy Mountain, they found that by inviting all their clients into their internal Slack community, they could better streamline all customer concerns. Clients could directly see the latest internal updates and current roadblocks to their projects. This allowed them to provide insight and feedback along every step of the way, while having a better understanding of what happens when certain things go wrong.

Respond to Real-Time Customer Needs

Reactionary businesses might be the ones that can get the highest value out of proper Slack integration in workflow management. One business that benefits from Slack’s instant communication is News Revenue Hub, a nonprofit organization that assists nonprofit news organizations with managing sustainable programs and crowdfunding campaigns to keep themselves afloat.

News Revenue Hub uses Slck to work with hundreds of team members and many external contractors and clients. This allows them to make major campaign tactic decisions quickly by analyzing real-time data such as incoming donations and reader feedback.

How Will You Use Slack?

The greatest benefit your company can get out of Slack? You might not even know it yet. There are dozens of different ways that Slack can be used to benefit a business and its potential and existing clients. And in many cases, you might not know it until you try it. So go ahead!

Anastasia Sviridenko

About Anastasia Sviridenko

"Anastasia Sviridenko is a content marketer at TextMagic. She is always on the lookout for new exciting content formats. When she's not working, you can find her trying to build up a running habit once again.