“We’re using Slack + [insert live chat provider]”

I was listening to the DHH “Go Against the Grain” episode on The Chase Jarvis Live Show during the week. It’s a year or so old but I have always been a fan of how the guys went about building Basecamp. They are contrarians in the best sense of the word. I agree with so much of how they have executed from how they thought about funding the company, to work-life balance, to how they treat employees, to working remotely and how they think about constraints.

During the interview DHH touches on how some of the “hot startups” right now: Slack, Asana, Trello, Dropbox, etc. and how the core function of each of those products are “features” of Basecamp. What he was getting at was “the integration story” – i.e. just being able to chat, share files, add to-do’s in Basecamp – without having to make lots of specialised apps talk to each other, is one of the key reasons why people love Basecamp.

Basecamp didn’t have to have the best chat, or the best to do list, or the best whatever – the killer feature was that it did each of these things well enough for their customers to get the value they required.

When we talk to potential customers about their live chat setup, often they reply with something close to:

“We’re using Slack + [insert live chat provider]”

Just like Basecamp, the integration story is key to Chatify. Some features are so core to how a product works that relying on a 3rd party app is just a non-runner. Team Messaging is one of those features for us.

Efficient internal comms is key to how teams support their customers. When we get the “We’re using Slack + x” response, that team is really just covering the gaps in the live chat application they’re using by relying on Slack for Team Messaging. Here’s why that’s sub-optimal:

  1. Cost
    With this setup you need two subscriptions: Slack + The Live Chat.
  2. App Switching
    “Hey Ian, can you help me with Q101255 – I am not sure how to respond”. You end up constantly switching back and forth between the apps that you use to contact colleagues and your live chat dashboard. This guy is on WhatsApp, this other person is on email / Slack whatever. This slows everything down.
  3. Noise
    Slack channels can be very noisy. This undermines their effectiveness. The busier they are, the more some people tune out. This means that important customer queries can be lost in the noise of a busy channel.

Don’t get me wrong. We have nothing against Slack. Chatify offers a Slack Integration. It’s an excellent team messaging tool. Just like I am sure that the Basecamp guys have nothing against Dropbox / Trello. It’s just that some features are so core to the value an app offers, that outsourcing them undermines the entire value proposition.

So why did we decide that team messaging was so core to Chatify?

Having all your team + all your customer chats in one app makes dealing with customer queries so much more efficient. I can assign chats to colleagues / or departments or loop in colleagues to deal with one aspect of a chat. Being able to collaborate on chats delivers a better experience for your team and your customers.

Chatify supports a feature that we call “Chat, Chat“, which allows you to layer an internal private chat on top of a customer chat. This speeds everything up because your team can read the customer thread while discussing internally. The context means that you don’t have to transcribe the customer’s issue to somewhere else – everyone can read it there and then.

No More App Switching
Of course, not all of your team are going to be online in Chatify all of the time. What matters is that if you mention a colleague in a chat / group / assign / chat, chat, they will automatically get notified. You don’t have to worry about it. There’s no need for you to hunt them down.

No More Customer Queries Lost in Noisy Channels
The bigger your team on Slack, the more of an issue this becomes. Reading through busy Slack channels can be extremely time consuming. Some people tune out and you might find that customer responses get delayed or worse, overlooked.

So as we see it, “Slack + x” is really just a work around. Team messaging is so core to customer support that your live chat app either has it or you are relying on something else to plug the gap.

If your current live chat setup falls into the Slack + x category, we would love to show you how Chatify will improve things for you. Reach out and we will gladly demo the key features to you.

“Hey dude. Doing a video. Can you keep it down for a few mins. Sure Dad!!”

If you want to check out the DHH interview that I referenced, link below. Enjoy!