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AutoPoint Blog

The chat app that’s killing email.

Posted by Hilary Biggart Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This is an installment in a weekly series on uncommon tech innovations and implementations across all industries. Get an inside look at how other companies have changed their brands, their sales, and their retention through digital and mobile tech. ..

Stewart Butterfield is the king of accidental innovation. He founded Flickr in 2004, building the photo-sharing site using a collection of leftover features from a failed video game he’d been working on. In 2013, a different version of the same failed video game gave him the tools he needed to launch Slack.

Slack started as a messaging and chat function Butterfield and his team created while working on the video game. The game failed (again), but none of the team members wanted to go back to working without the messaging platform.

And so, Slack was born. And it hasn’t stopped growing since.

Slack is on a course that threatens email’s very function. At first glance, the messaging app looks like a modified chatroom. If you remember AOL, Slack’s concept will seem familiar. But Slack took the chatroom idea and made it relevant, through powerful search features and integration with dozens of other software tools.

Put it all in one place.

The main problem with tech software tools today is we have too many of them. You use third party services for numerous features and tasks, but none of them talk to each other. More importantly, nothing is centralized. If you’re looking for a specific file, you might have to look through Dropbox, Evernote, Box, and Google Drive before you even remember where you put it.

Slack brings all the pieces together. Integration with different software tools for different tasks, including Zendesk, GitHub, and social media platforms like Twitter, makes Slack a unique resource for teams to work together.

Collaboration at its finest.

Slack’s chat functions are a dream come true for teams that have to work together on various projects. Similar to its chatroom inspiration. Slack allows you to separate conversations into different threads. Teams can label these threads by project, theme, or members. From there, people can do everything from exchange files to send emojis.

Sound like email? It is. Except where email is scattered and sloppy, Slack is precise. When you look at your inbox, you see messages from your team members, but also promotional messages, automatic alerts, and reminders. And nothing is organized. Even if you separate your emails into folders, messages tend to remain scattered and disconnected.

Slack seeks to create a central hub that compartmentalizes your work and pairs effortless organization with a powerful search function. Anything you need to find is just a few keystrokes away.

Every device, always up to date.

From the beginning, Slack understood the importance of making their app work everywhere. Whether you use your phone, your tablet, or your desktop, the interface works and updates in real time.

What can we learn?

One of the most common complaints we hear from our customers and their teams is that techs, advisors, and salespeople have too many screens to wrangle. Tech tools are great, but they hurt efficiency more than they help it if your team can’t easily put the pieces together and find what they’re looking for.

While Slack may not be applicable to all dealership operations, the idea of a central place where every part of your tech tools come together is important to our industry. We can’t fulfill our technology’s potential until one screen can give your team everything they need to do their work.

As you implement tech and software tools into your business operations, pay attention to their integrative features. Does your inspection system share info with your mobile app? Does your marketing platform use data from your service department?

If we want to see true results, we have to bring the pieces together. Reducing the number of screens your team has to deal with should be a central component of the tech tools you choose to use.   

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