How to onboard your Engineering team to Ackly

drew
7 min readJul 1, 2020

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Most Engineering teams provide a realtime support channel with Slack for their services and processes. These channels can get very busy with a lot of questions and comments. To encourage questions and great interactions with customers a minimal level of tracking and guarantee of support during business hours is helpful.

Ackly helps support this process for great customer interactions and keeps track of the influx of questions while also acknowledging those who help provide support. Ackly doesn’t require a complicated integration or a massive change to your workflow — it aims to be invisible.

Ackly Daily Summary

Install Ackly

Step 1 is to install Ackly. Head over to ackly.io and Add to Slack.

Install Dialog

The permissions requested are extremely minimal and this is intentional:

View messages and other content in public channels that Ackly has been added toView basic information about public channels in your workspaceView emoji reactions and their associated content in channels and conversations that Ackly has been added toSend messages as @ackly

That is it. You will notice that Ackly will only wok in public channels that it has been added to.

If you have any questions about data storage and retention — see the below section on this topic.

Use Threads

On many teams that we have joined this is usually the biggest change that is necessary to support a healthy support channel.

Work with your customers to change the culture from this:

When not using threads — sanity is lost.

To this:

When using threads — sanity is maintained.

Threads keep conversations organized and your support channel sane both for you and your customers.

Our general recommended strategy that has worked is as follows:

1- Post a note to your support channel on a Monday morning

Hey friends,
We would like to try out and encourage the use of *threads* in our channel moving forward.
This will help us provide better support for you and better tracking of conversation.Our ask is that when you have a question that we leverage *threads* vs. posting incessantly in our team channel.As a reward for this change we will offer free support for you during business hours at a reasonable SLA.Thank you for helping us help you!
- Team Awesome

2- Encourage those that use threads

Thank you for using a thread, let me take a look at this issue for you!

3- Remind those that do not of your preference

Hi! For us to be able to provide you great support - please use a thread vs. multiple posts in our channel.  Thank you for helping us help you!

Use Reaction Emoji

Once you have your customers using Threads and maintaining a bit more sanity you can start to use reactions.

The purpose of using reactions lets you:

  • Inform customers that a question is being researched and by who
  • Note questions where documentation needs to be improved
  • Informs customers when you believe that the question is resolved

Use ack to let a customer know that you have seen the question and taken ownership of researching an answer.

:ack: Reaction Emoji

Use kb to let a customer know that you need to update documentation to answer this question in the future.

:kb: Reaction Emoji

Use white_check_mark to let a customer know that you believe the question is resolved and answered.

:white_check_mark: Reaction Emoji

Use donottrack to have Ackly ignore the question.

:dotnottrack: Reaction Emoji

To download and install these emojis, simply save these images below and go to Customize Your Workspace > Emoji to create them. You can use any custom image as long as the naming is the same. If you would like custom naming — please reach out to us and we would be happy to assist.

:ack:
:kb:
:donottrack:

Let Ackly do the Hard Work

By using threads and reaction emoji you have truly changed how you and your team supports your customers.

  • You have made it clearer how to interface with your team without the overhead of a help desk system and maintained the colloquial nature of Slack.
  • You have started to get a much improved view to the support that you are providing to your customers.

Now that you have changed your customers’ behavior to use threads and have started to use reaction emoji you have enabled Ackly to track the status of your workflow.

Invite Ackly to your Support Channel

Simply mention @Ackly in your support channel and you will get a prompt to Invite to Channel.

Invite @Ackly to your channel.

Enable Daily & Weekly Summaries

Ackly has many features but the two most important to setup are a daily and weekly summary.

To do this we will use the built-in /remind feature in Slack.

To setup a daily summary at the end of your work day:

/remind #ask-growth-team "Ackly Daily Summary" Weekdays at 5pm

To setup a weekly summary at the end of the work week:

/remind #ask-growth-team "Ackly Weekly Summary" Fridays at 5:30pm

Substitute #ask-growth-team and the time if you would like to best match your team’s schedule.

Reminder dialog setup.

Enjoy & Celebrate Your Team

At the end of each day and week you will now be able to track and celebrate the heroes that make your customer support possible.

Reach out to them, thank them. Celebrate them with a reply!

Celebrating true heroes.

Advanced Usage

So you have setup Ackly, your team is using it and loving it. What else can Ackly do?

Ackly has a number of more advanced features and one of which we will detail here.

You can ask Ackly for questions to add to your knowledge base by simply putting this message in your channel:

Ackly KB Daily Summary
Knowledge base tracking.

Links will be provided to the messages where the kb reaction emoji was added for you to review.

You can also replace Daily with Weekly and Ackly will provide links to all reactions from the past week.

Ackly has a number of other advanced capabilities and several that we have developed for specific customers. If you have a specific request for your usage please reach out to us at contact@ackly.io.

Data Storage & Retention

Ackly stores and maintains data for the absolute minimum period of time necessary to produce the required functionality.

  • Message data is pruned every 24hrs. No message content is kept beyond this time.
  • Metadata is pruned every 7days. No metadata content is kept beyond this time.

Data storage is in Cloud SQL on GCP. Connections are required to be encrypted and external connectivity is disabled.

Pricing

Ackly is designed to be able to be operated and maintained at a cost that works for you and your team.

Our pricing model is based on the number of people or customers your engineering team supports. We define a person as someone who asks a question that is then ack’d/answered.

  • Ackly is free for up to 10 people channels.
  • Ackly is free for non-profit and open source community channels.
  • For up to 50 people we are $99/mo.
  • For greater than 50 people, please reach out to us at contact@ackly.io so that we can review your use case and price accordingly. We have generally found that larger use cases benefit from custom features and more advanced integrations.

What’s Next?

Ackly is constantly evolving with customer input and requests. You can checkout our Public Roadmap here!

If you have any questions about how to use Ackly or feature requests, please reach out to us at contact@ackly.io.

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