At NewPath we always look for new ways to effectively collaborate with our customers. Since we are a consultancy who work with small businesses and organizations all over North America, we do not have the luxury of being in the same space as our customers. Frankly that is just too expensive, and we would not be able to serve many customers at the same time if we had to devote all of our time to just one customer.
Therefore, we need to find effective ways to communicate with our customers in a way that is both real-time and comfortable.
For many years that approach has been mostly email and telephone. The modern communications mode for collaboration has been to create documents, send emails and use the phone when necessary. A phone conversation is the highest bandwidth communication available short of being face to face with someone. But a phone conversation usually needs to be scheduled, and many people prefer digital communications over a phone.
Enter Slack and Zoom to the rescue! We have been experimenting with both of these products as a new way to engage our customers. While prospective customers still interact with us via email and phone, once you become a NewPath customer your experience is upgraded to Slack and Zoom. Let's talk about the benefits of both and how they fit into the modern remote, yet so-close collaborative workspace.
Slack – replaces email with a real-time, richly formatted chat system. Slack is searchable and introduces emojis, links to documents, files and digital "scraps" of info. It is sort of an intranet where the primary channel is a feed of information that we are used to seeing in social media apps like Twitter and Facebook. Slack has built in audio/video collaboration too on their paid plans, but we prefer Zoom for a variety of reasons.
What can you do in Slack?
- Run effective meetings of any length (just a few minutes to an hour or more)
- Get feedback
- Find information (pinned items)
- Provide Updates (announcements from people or other systems, demo our "alerts" system that sends an alert from a prospect in our alerts channel)
- Centralize your work (including setting a reminders for yourself to set a task as a reminder)
Zoom – replaces face to face and phone calls with audio-video web conferences. Zoom sessions can be started instantly from right within Slack. They can be recorded. They can include up to 100 members per session. And people on regular phone can join the session which sometimes is required. Zoom lowers the bar for professional web conferencing so ANYONE can do it.
What can you do on Zoom?
- Meet one on one or in groups
- Record meetings
- Share your screen or the screen of one of your co-workers
- Run a webinar or training session
- Tie in people from a desktop, smart phone or tablet or even via a phone call.