One thing that is pretty wonderful about Slack is the number of integrations available. We have integrated Trello, Google Calendar, Dropbox and Google Drive with our Slack installations. Now a new one has presented itself that allows you to create what I would call a “threaded customer support system”. This appears to be ideal for relatively low-volume eMail support. Here’s how it works:
Hire a Mail Clerk, (named Clark).
The key is a terrific application called MailClark an email bot for Slack. If you have worked with Slack at all, you know about the “slackbot”; an artificial intelligence “user” which you can communicate with to perform various tasks, or to get help on Slack. (Think Siri for Slack). MailBot is a similar “bot” but one that allows you to send and receive eMail directly to and from Slack channels.
Adding MailClark to Slack adds a new user called @mailclark, and provides you with an intermediate email address that includes your team name and the channel that you are going to use for inbound questions. So, for example if your Slack team name is “tfnphelpteam”, and you have a Slack channel called “grantsupport” you will get an email address of email@example.com.
Emails sent to that address will show up in the techsupport channel showing the complete email address of the sender and a reply button.
If I click on the reply button, MailClark will create an entirely new Slack channel for the conversation, including the original query. This channel will be named similarly to the original (inbound) channel, but will be randomized for the individual. The channel will show up with unread messages… and you can then click on the channel to reply to the original question.
The crux on the replies is that you need to follow the your reply with @mailclark send on its own line at the end of the message.
What’s cool, is that any subsequent emails to or from this person will stay in the channel, so that you have a threaded discussion of an entire conversation. This is the equivalent of a “trouble ticket” system like ZenDesk.
Of course firstname.lastname@example.org. isn’t a particularly intuitive email address for help. So, we created our own own google eMail address, something like email@example.com (not a real address!) which then gets forwarded to the MailClark address.