Using Real-Time Communication Tools

Using Real-Time Communication Tools

8 February 2016

Recently, we introduced the idea of leveraging Daily Standup Meetings as a means to elevate the ticketing process from a data entry nightmare to an interactive conversation. The true power of conversation, however, only starts with the morning standup. Unlike software development teams, the service provider’s backlog is fluid and can change dramatically pending critical outages or other unexpected support requests. It is the ongoing conversation throughout the day that really makes a difference. We attribute the 7% increase in our customer satisfaction rating since implementing agile to the increased interaction that has emerged from incorporating real-time communication into our company DNA.

To bring some order to our reactive fixes while maintaining the constant communication needed within an agile team we have implemented the chat platform Slack. Slack is a tool that brings team communication into the 21st century. This collaboration tool archives and indexes chat messages within teams, company-wide groups, and between individuals for constant direct connection and absolute searchability. Check out the statistics on how Slack increases productivity and transparency while reducing single-threaded internal emails and meetings.

We are particularly excited about Cisco’s first generation tool built on their powerful collaboration platform - Spark. The tool was released in March of 2015 and, although it has a great deal of features for a new product, it still lacks some of the automations and APIs needed to fully integrate into our systems and serve as a viable replacement for Slack. Thankfully, Cisco is using agile development principles to iterate on the product with regular updates introducing new features. We are excited about the things to come with this tool.

Much like Slack, Spark enables real-time communication within teams. Spark varies distinctly in its ability to invite outside users though, leading us to use two tools with extremely similar functions for a single feature difference. We use Spark as a leave-behind for prospects and key customers, creating an ongoing informal conversation that is heads above stale email communications. This practice has led directly to the closing of a key deal with a new prospect through Spark!

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