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Why self-serve support and Slack go hand-in-hand

Companies that depend on a centralized body of knowledge to propel productivity know that you can build a robust, comprehensive, validated and accurate body of knowledge to power self-serve support, but if you don’t make it easy to access where people work, it will collect dust. For this reason, knowledge must be brought directly into the places where people spend the most time at work. More commonly these days, that is in Slack.

Since what happens on Slack is an ongoing conversation it is completely logical that those conversations include the exchange of institutional knowledge. For this reason, it should be your organization’s goal to marry the platform with which it communicates to the knowledge that people share within it to facilitate a culture of self-service support. There are an abundance of reasons why and we will examine some of them here.

Slack is where internal communication and collaboration happens

Slack is becoming the operating system of the workplace. Gone are days of collaborating via emails and boardroom meetings. Welcome to the new world of messaging platforms and video conferencing. This migration has resulted in a massive leap forward in productivity for collaboration. It may have come at some cost though (such as internal messaging “noise”). But the drawbacks are vastly outweighed by the benefits.

This shift in the way people communicate means that they will be sharing knowledge in this way too. Whether its in the form of messages, images, files, wikis or otherwise – it all needs to be compatible with sharing on Slack.

Slack is where questions are asked and answers are given

Internal messaging platforms like Slack are a much more convenient medium for asking questions and requesting support. A support seeker can ask questions privately, via DM, or publicly in the appropriate channel. This keeps support issues more organized and easier to track. By utilizing Slack’s native messaging tools, such as threading, emoji/reacji, pinning, you can create a much tidier support communication channel than email could ever be. That said, this comes at a cost for subject matter experts and support agents. They can find themselves being inundated with requests, shoulder taps and interruptions that prevent them from being on task.

Because so many questions are asked and answers are given in Slack, its the perfect location to introduce access to self-serve knowledge to limit the ongoing interruptions that can persist. Since support issues will continue to be raised on platforms like Slack, by failing to bring that knowledge to the place where it will be ultimately accessed you are putting undue stress on subject matter experts and support agents.

Slack is the where support teams live so that is where support seekers look for them

While Tier 1 Support mailboxes still exist at some companies, modern support teams live and breathe Slack. And while they might have an embattled relationship with Slack and the demands it puts on them, few support agents would rather go back to the days of managing support via email. Let’s be clear – support agents would really prefer that support requests do not come through Slack, but that is the reality of what happens.

Ideally, individuals would self-serve support instead of creating a graveyard of unanswered requests in Slack. If self-serve support resources are exhausted and the problem persists, the preferred outcome is to create a service ticket in Slack, and deal with the issue in using established protocols.

Its pretty easy to go from manageable to raging dumpster-fire in an #it-support channel, which is exactly why self-serve access to knowledge must be brought into Slack. To alleviate some of the backlog and facilitate higher quality support requests being triaged to humans, its mission critical to connect support seekers with everything they need to be productive and successful in their jobs.

Slack is extensible with Marketplace Apps for knowledge

The true superpower of Slack is its extensibility. You can take an already powerful platform, and supercharge it by giving it the capability to do even more. The Slack App Directory is filled with apps that allow users to bring knowledge and file management to the place where they are requested, searched-for or shared.

Whether they drive employee engagement, self-serve support, communication or simply for fun, apps can extend the power of the operating system of modern workplaces create value org-wide.

Slack is a powerful communication and collaboration platform, but it needs a connection to institutional knowledge in order to avoid it becoming just a black hole of time wasting for knowledge seekers and subject matter experts. By injecting knowledge access and creating an opportunity to create a self-serve support channel, you can solve one of the biggest challenges with internal messaging platforms.