Summary

  • Client-facing Slack channels can be quite inefficient, aside from the human errors that can occur within a Slack channel.
  • Setting company guidelines and putting security protections in place on Slack will not only prevent information from ending up in the wrong hands, but it has the potential to inspire better, more productive work in employees.

Client facing Slack and Zoom channels are especially useful for the direct and safe communication and support environment. For this reason, these client-facing chat rooms can also act as sources of sensitive data leaks, commercial chatter that could affect stock price or highly confidential data that stays is memorialized in ‘history’.

Efficiency and organization at risk

Moreover, it is important to note that Slack offers different levels of service. The platform’s paid models provide services that users of its unpaid model do not benefit from. For example, “unless someone is paying for Slack, messages disappear/get archived after 10,000 posts, which means you can not refer back to a conversation that was had at a later date…[,] mak[ing] it hard to track what was said if you need to double-check you didn’t miss something.” 

This has the potential to negate the efficiency that the platform was intended to supply, causing unnecessary delays, friction, and frustration. Furthermore, having multiple active channels for each client can pose an additional risk to companies and business associates. Numerous channels make it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of a specific conversation, leading employees to search through each channel to find what they might be looking for.

Companies are highly advised to consolidate client communications as much as possible. But the noise of various lines of communication applies to more than just Slack channels. When companies correspond with clients via Slack, email, text, Google Hangout, phone call, Zoom, etc. things often become fussy. Sticking to one (or two) methods of communication can cut the confusion and eliminate wasted time and energy.

Dangers of “water-cooler talk”

Slack is often used to mobilize employee communications. And these communications are not always work-related. Especially amidst the current state of much of the world, in which most companies are still working entirely from home, collaborative tools like Slack are being used for light-hearted banter between employees.

Whereas such conversations might have occurred during a lunch break, at a coworkers desk, or the coffee machine, they’ve migrated to Slack — taking the form of memes, gifs, silly videos, and the like. However, these casual Slack channels can be risky. For one, inappropriate imagery or messages may accidentally be shared in the wrong channel, one that is client-facing.

To quote Slack HQ, “Now everyone knows what’s going on,” as a result of such faux pas. And these slip-ups are not exclusive to internal office gossip. Sensitive information regarding a client’s business may be unintentionally shared on the wrong channel, opening that data up to unrelated actors.

Interrupting productivity with casual chat

The casual nature often associated with Slack channels leaves room for more than just the unintended spread of gossip or delicate information. Laura Giffard of Perq Studio describes this well, pointing out that “you can train your people all you like, but you can get partners and clients going on there making things more conversational rather than focused on work.” 

Some clients — whether in person or online — enjoy engaging in casual conversations with companies that they work with. When these conversations migrate to Slack channels, employee productivity can become interrupted, slowing down efficiency and increasing the time needed to complete a given project.

Inhibiting the address of client concerns

Client-facing Slack channels can be quite inefficient, aside from the human errors that can occur within a Slack channel. These slack channels can provide clients with confidence in the fact that progress is being made. Still, the platform’s nature encourages 24/7 requests, and check-ins from clients can result in a disproportionate amount of client management communications.

Setting company guidelines and putting security protections in place on Slack will not only prevent information from ending up in the wrong hands, but it has the potential to inspire better, more productive work in employees. In the long run, being smart and careful about client-facing Slack communications will make clients happier and employees less overwhelmed, enabling greater output and — in turn — the possibility of significantly greater revenue.

 

References

Brown, Duane. “Client Communication: Saying No To Slack.” Medium, Medium, 28 Feb. 2019,

medium.com/@duanebrown/client-communication-saying-no-to-slack-908040ff2a1.

Hargrave, Sean. “How Slack Ruined Work.” WIRED, WIRED UK, 28 Feb. 2020,

www.wired.co.uk/article/slack-ruining-work.

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Polymer protects against data loss (DLP) on modern collaboration tools like Slack, Dropbox, Zoom and more with configurable real-time redaction of sensitive and regulated information such as PII, PHI, financial and security data.

Yasir Ali | yali@polymerhq.io | www.polymerhq.io

Polymer is a no-code data loss prevention (DLP) platform that allows companies to monitor, auto-remediate, and apply behavioral techniques to reduce the risk of insider threats, sensitive data misuse, and leakage over third-party SaaS apps. Try Polymer for free.

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