Cal Newport is one of my favorite authors on productivity. I’ve been reading his blog on deep work since sophomore year of college. He recently penned an article for the New Yorker titled, “Slack Is the Right Tool for the Wrong Way to Work”.
As the founder of a digital agency that builds websites, I’m always getting added to Slack channels. I’m normally in anywhere from 6 to 8 groups — with each group containing 4 to 6 channels. Then we get added to productivity tools, issue tracking software, different accounting programs, new niche CRMs… If the to-do list doesn’t overload my day, remembering the day’s dozen different groupchats always tips the scale.
The average support team has considerably more fires to put out. Is Slack the right tool for them? Is Slack the right tool for me? It can be — but only if used correctly.
‘Sorry, we can’t join your Slack’ argues that agencies would be much more productive without joining these instant messaging tools. After all, how often does a notification interrupt your workflow? If you can have more uninterrupted room to focus on meaningful deep work, you can deliver better results for clients.
These think pieces feel like convincing arguments, however, nuanced conversation about project details just won’t suffice over email. It’s important to remember Slack should be used as more than a blank slate. Stewart Butterfield wants us to customize our Slack groups to fit personalized needs. Slack is not the wrong way to work — it simply requires our conscious effort to add relevant tools, applications, and bots that solve these productivity problems.
Just like the app store, the Slack App Directory is the real place to add apps that get work done. Like most marketplace companies today, the number of Slack-centered tools, bots, integrations, and apps increases every single day. This is a relatively new ecosystem which makes it difficult for any team to know which tool works best.
This article is intended to help enterprise support teams compare and contrast the most helpful Slack bots. I examined HelpDesk+, Halp, and AtSpoke to offer a synopsis of my favorite, recommended tool.
I’ll put the TL;DR right here.
My favorite is HelpDesk+
How many tabs do you have open right now? HelpDesk+ is a defense against the tab-tango. It’s a process where users can support themselves as they search for information and ticket info.
It’s support for support teams.
This is my preferred way to track requests and streamline support work. I don’t have to login to an excessive number of apps or portals because everything I need to know is in Slack. That already saves me a significant amount of time.
HelpDesk+ reduces the amount of context switching I have to do, which decreases my time wasted on repetitive workloads. This is far better than quitting Slack and relying on email for following in-depth conversations. Slack hacks like this add up quickly to create the time and space I need to focus on building.
This integration lets you search, create, and transition new requests. Then their routing process uses auto mapping to memorize these JSM request types. That means similar future issues can be answered as soon as they’re asked. Approvals take place in Slack so I can focus on the next to-do instead of pseudowork!
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There are other integrations coming soon but their existing integration with knowledge base in Confluence is super helpful. HelpDesk+ was created by some really interesting Slack developers who also make other tools that increase meeting efficiency and integrate with Jira.
Halp is a simple conversational ticketing solution which allows IT and Op teams to be more organized and efficient! This effectiveness is achieved by assisting teams in assigning, prioritizing, managing, and reporting requests from Slack.
Any team can improve their everyday communication with new abilities to track, automate, and most importantly, understand workflow. They’re trying to help remote teams move towards both happiness and productivity.
AtSpoke is another workplace ops tool intended to assist IT, Dev, and other teams in creating a more efficient conversational experience. They emphasize their focus on whatever subject matters, as opposed to solely focusing on a ticketing system.
While their system is good for conversational ticketing, it also auto-resolves tickets and automates repetitive agent tasks so teams can do more for less. AtSpoke is a good way to accelerate company-wide support work.
In summation, I liked HelpDesk+