How Slack Connect is helping us build closer customer relationships
One of the new customer experience experiments we've been testing as of late is Slack Connect. This idea came from Sara, our external bookkeeper. When we started working with her, she invited us to a "#remotely_accounting" slack connected channel, which lives both in our slack instance and in Sara's. Sara "owns" the remotely-accounting channel, which we use to quickly interact (asking and answering questions, exchanging files), getting work done far more efficiently than we would through email. Practically speaking, she can't access any of our other channels and we can't access hers.
The efficiency is amazing, but in my opinion, still secondary to its core value. Because of this shared channel, we feel like Sara is a part of the Remotely team. Despite being a service provider, it's as if she has a room or a desk in our "office." Fascinated by the "feeling" we get from Sara being so integrated into our day-to-day, we thought about whether this idea had applicability within our business.
At Remotely we aspire to be the closest thing to your internal team. So testing the use of these channels with prospective customers with whom we were in advanced conversations felt like the perfect tactic, aligned to our strategy and value proposition. Like Sara, we invite them to join the channel #[Company-name]_remotely. We exchange contract drafts, schedule meetings, quickly answer questions, share candidate profiles, give a heads ups in a much more conversational and team-like environment. With integrations like Giphy, and the ability to invite teammates (and for them to quickly catch up on past interactions), the feeling of camaraderie starts building up even before they become customers.
While many of these conversations will not convert into customers, we will keep the communication channel open. It's our little conclave within the customer's land: differentiated, direct access in a space that is not (yet) populated by others. In a way, while everyone is gasping for attention within the customer's email inbox, we somehow got inside their internal communication tool through a back door, of sorts.
As a student of B2B SaaS business building, what Slack has built is one of the cleanest examples of a network effect in SaaS: a rara avis in the space and a testament to the magnificent product management skills of their team. If you are interested in learning more about the strategic implications of Slack Connect Ben has a great analysis of the competitive dynamics and how slack connect is a great counterpunch to Microsoft. Hats off to a beautiful execution!