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Fixing Frequently Asked Questions in Slack

A show of hands if you’ve never seen this in your Slack workspace before…

Is there a single IT Support Manager out there that hasn’t seen this question?

Nobody? Shocking…

When Slack was born, it was a watershed moment for frequently asked questions just like this. It gave them a new home and IT Managers and Support Teams rejoiced with a nice tidy new box to file all support issues.

Problem solved. End of post. Thanks for reading the Obie Blog.

Houston, we still have a problem

Instead of having a Tier 1 support mailbox, Slack (or more deservedly, an #it-support channel) would be the new home for all questions just like this. This drastically improves with the workflow, but the volume of frequently asked questions is unchanged. So how does one fix the frequently asked questions problem?

Enable self-serve tech support

When hiring more support staff is not an option, your IT support team needs to adopt a self-serve tech support strategy.

When launching a self-serve support solution it is critical to invest in a robust knowledge-base solution to power access to information. An internal knowledge base will kickstart deflection of service tickets by providing accessible validated documentation around the clock.

While investing in a knowledge-base solution is a step forward in solving frequently asked questions, it potentially creates another silo. Your team might already use Google Suite, Atlassian, Dropbox, Box or one of the many other cloud services to store existing knowledge, so you might not want to abandon or migrate data from those platforms. Hence, there are a few drawbacks to consider in managing knowledge for a self-serve support desk.

Drawbacks of a Knowledge Silo

While centralizing your internal knowledge is a step in the right direction, there are a number of issues that are inherent to housing it in a silo that cause friction for knowledge seekers. Here are just a few:

  • Accessibility – the knowledge is not directly available in Slack
  • It’s another browser tab or application open on the user’s desktop
  • It is separate from other knowledge sources, such as Confluence or Google Drive – so searching across silos is a challenge
  • Verification of knowledge becomes increasingly difficult with multiple silos
  • Format – Long-form articles tend to hide answers to frequently asked questions in silos

To elaborate on the last item, to reduce the impact of deep knowledge silos, it would be beneficial to consider the format of the information stored in the knowledge-base. Long-form articles tend to be less conducive to quick-response support questions. Take for example our “What is the wifi password?” question. You most certainly would not bury your company’s wifi password in a 20-page document on office policies – it is optimally consumed in a bite-sized document or snippet, like a virtual sticky note.

The bottom line is, adding silos to your information architecture creates access and validation gaps. These gaps must be closed to ensure your support team has access to the knowledge necessary to resolve issues as quickly as possible.

Mind the Gap (with Obie)

Offering self-serve support requires users to search for knowledge – many times across silos. While many of the common places where knowledge is stored offer integrations with Slack, few offer search functionality beyond the typical Create-Read-Edit-Delete capability.

So to close the gaps between information silos, users need enhanced search capability. Obie offers a simple solution that does not require companies to abandon the existing architecture and offers a cross-platform search functionality, all from within Slack.

Turbocharging self-serve support in Slack with AI

To further enhance your self-serve support desk, explore how technologies that incorporate an element of AI can benefit your staff and customers. A tool like Obie uses AI to automatically sense when support questions are asked in Slack and offers solutions from the knowledge-base architecture that you have built. This reduces ticket volume by deflecting support issues immediately.

Key takeaways

In summary, to actualize a support desk configuration that minimizes and handles frequently asked questions consider the following suggestions.

  • Adopt Slack as the platform of choice to raise internal support issues
  • Leverage distinct channels to triage support issues accurately
  • Invest in a knowledge-base architecture with consideration to the impact of silos
  • Consider using virtual sticky-notes/FAQs over long-form content to store knowledge for easier access to knowledge
  • Identify and close search gaps with tools like Obie
  • Explore how AI can accelerate issue resolution without human intervention

Book a demo to see if Obie is a good fit for solving your IT support team’s Slack-based knowledge architecture.