When Slack Goes Down – Then What?

By Greg Nishihira • May 18, 2020

Since the COVID-19 work from home mandates took effect in March, collaboration apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams have become even more popular. Likely, if you used one of these apps before having to work from home, you’re using it even more now.

Because of that, it might make sense to select a virtual assistant for employee self-help that lives in a collaboration tool such as Slack or Teams. The logic being, if employees are already using Slack or Teams to connect with other employees or departments, why shouldn’t they use it to connect with IT as well?

But what happens when Slack goes down?

Just last week, Slack experienced a major outage, taking over two and a half hours to restore service. If IT was dependent on Slack for employees to submit incidents or requests, that means employees were unable to contact their IT service desk for assistance for more than two and a half hours. More than likely, employees resorted back to calling or emailing the service desk when that occurred. Or, even worse, they simply waited until Slack was fixed to get the help they needed, or dialed a friend.

As an organization, you have no control over how fast Slack outages can be resolved. There’s also no guarantee an outage won’t ever happen again. It likely will. If your enterprise service desk is dependent on a collaboration tool for employees to get the IT help they need, you have a single point of failure.

When Slack Goes Down, Barista Does Not 

Espressive Barista, our AI-based virtual support agent, has a comprehensive omnichannel strategy. Omnichannel means Barista can be accessed on any desktop or mobile device, deflecting employee issues across a number of different interfaces, including email, phone, service portal widget, collaboration tools (e.g. Slack, Teams), web, and native apps. Employees can even launch Barista interactions by scanning a QR code.

Our omnichannel strategy was designed because we know old habits die hard. If an employee is used to reaching the IT service desk one way, they are not likely to change their habits out of the gate. So, it’s important for Barista to meet employees wherever they are. If Mary in Finance emails the service desk when she has a question, Barista needs to be able to intercept that email to give her an answer.

The bottom line is that with the omnichannel approach your employee self-help tool does not have a single point of failure. If one channel is down such as Slack, Barista is still available through the other channels. Barista will always be available to support your workforce, keeping them productive 24/7.

One of our competitors has a different approach. Their only interaction with their virtual assistant is through collaboration tools (e.g. Slack and Teams) and claim by doing so, their customers/business users achieve 100% employee adoption. That’s simply not true. Having your virtual assistant available through Slack does not mean employees will go there. And, if Slack goes down, they have no choice but to email and phone the service desk reinforcing that employees should continue using old channels to seek help.  With Slack as the only channel, your IT service desk is tied to a product they have no control over, and your employee experience and productivity will suffer.

With Barista omnichannel support, when Slack goes down, Barista doesn’t take time off. Your employees continue getting their answers from Barista no matter when or how they try to reach your service desk.

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