How Tech App Slack Is Changing Work Communication

How do you communicate with your colleagues online: email? iMessage? WhatsApp? Companies like REA Group, Isobar, Salesforce and Ogilvy are using a messaging app called Slack. While down under for the launch of its Melbourne office, Slack’s director of customer experience Ali Rayl, chats with B&T about Slack’s appeal and why it’s one of the fastest growing business apps ever.

ERIN MARY Doyle
Posted by ERIN MARY Doyle

Slack is a collaborative messaging platform which launched in 2014. Since launching the service has been touted as a ‘unicorn’- the term for a start-up valued at more than $1 billion. Last year, Slack experienced a 10x growth in users, it currently boasts 2.3 million daily active users and 320 million minutes of active Slack usage every weekday.

Similar to big disruptors like Uber and Airbnb, Rayl believes some of Slack’s massive growth is because the app has disrupted an element of work which companies weren’t even aware of friction. “For us to come in and say this thing that you’re using with a hodgepodge of tools is actually a problem space that we can solve and here’s a solution. That’s gratifying to be able to be say you’re experiencing pain here and you didn’t even know it.”

One of the reasons for the Slack’s success came about from a missing chunk in the company- when Slack launched it didn’t have a dedicated sales team. “We didn’t have the sales competency in house, we could have developed it but it’s not the best use of our time.”

Instead Slack focused on building a platform which employees would like to use and then let the people within the company do the internal sales pitch. Hence Slack feels more like a consumer tool and not a business tool.

“Slack feels like a consumer tool. Consumer companies have no choice but to offer a good user experience. Business companies have a choice because they don’t sell to the end user, they’re selling to CIO or the CTO or someone who is focused on ROI, productive, metrics.

“We’re asking for a lot of trust. First thing somebody at the company is going to find Slack and be like this is great.  So were asking that person to trust us that we’re going to give the rest of their team a good enough experience to not make them look stupid and to support the business.

“Then the team is trusting us to be available so they can be productive. They’re trusting us to be secure so their data is secure. They’re trusting us to continue to provide them a good experience so we basically become a tool in their tool box and not a thorn in their side.”

Check out the two Slack TVCs released in the US: