How to Set Up Slack Auto Response for 24/7 Customer Support

Content Writer
January 15, 2024

Imagine it's late at night, and you receive a message on Slack from a high-ticket client in a different time zone who needs assistance with your product. Responding promptly can be challenging without a team working around the clock.

More than 60% of customers expect 24/7 support, which can be unrealistic in the B2B setting. That said, if you're using Slack for customer support, you can ensure no client messages go unanswered. To achieve that, you need to activate Slack’s automatic reply feature.

Slack's auto-response feature allows you to ensure your clients receive the attention they deserve, even if it’s just a simple acknowledgment message which is better than no response at all.

In this quick guide, we'll show you how to set up Slack auto responses that maintain active and effective client engagements, 24/7.

First of all, what is Slack auto response?

The Slack auto response feature allows users to set up automatic replies that are triggered by specific messages or keywords in a Slack channel or direct message. These responses are instant and can be customized to provide immediate acknowledgments, information, or next steps to the sender.

Why Slack auto reply is useful

Slack's auto response is all about letting your clients know you've got their message and you'll get back to them as soon as you can. The great thing is, you can tailor these messages to fit your needs.

Whether it's a simple 'got your message' note, a heads-up that you're out of the office, or something more detailed with extra resources, you can set it up to communicate just what you need.

Other benefits of Slack automatic replies include:

  • Immediate engagement: An auto response ensures that the client feels heard immediately, reducing frustration and anxiety, especially in urgent situations.
  • Reduced wait times perception: Even though the actual response time from a team member might be the same, auto responses can make wait times feel shorter as the client isn't left in a communication void.
  • 24/7 support perception: It creates an impression of round-the-clock support, which can be crucial for businesses dealing with clients in different time zones.

So, how do you actually set them up? There are three ways you can go about it.

3 methods for setting up auto responses in Slack

To set up auto responses in Slack, you've got three different approaches to pick from. Each one has its pros and cons. Let's walk through the steps for each.

1. Slackbot

To configure Slackbot for automated responses, follow these steps:

  1. Access Slackbot settings:
  • Open your Slack workspace.
  • Click on your workspace name in the top left corner to open the menu.
  • Select "Customize [Your Workspace Name]."

  1. Navigate to Slackbot:
  • In the Customize Slack menu, go to the "Slackbot" tab.
  1. Create custom responses:
  • In the Slackbot tab, you'll find options to create custom responses.
  • Click on "Add New Response" to create a new automated message.
  1. Set up triggers and responses:
  • Define the trigger phrases. These are words or phrases that will trigger the Slackbot to respond.
  • Type in the response that you want Slackbot to send when the trigger phrase is used. You can use plain text or include links and formatting as per Slack's formatting guidelines.
  1. Save your automated message: 
  • Once you've set your trigger and response, click "Save" to activate the automated response.

Slackbot provides a straightforward way to create your own Slack auto responses. But there's a catch. 

Slackbot allows users to configure automated replies, which are triggered exclusively by designated keywords, on an individual basis. If your customer uses words different from those you programmed, the auto-response won’t be sent. This, of course, limits the usefulness of the feature.

2. Slack workflow builder

Another way to set up Slack auto replies is by using the native workflow builder. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Access workflow builder:
  • Open Slack.
  • Click on your workspace name in the top left corner.
  • Choose "Tools" from the menu, and then select "Workflow Builder".
  1. Create a new workflow:
  • In the Workflow Builder, click on "Create".
  • Give your workflow a descriptive name, so you can easily identify it later.
  1. Select a trigger and add steps to your workflow:
  • Choose the trigger for your workflow. This could be something like "Receiving a message in a channel" or "A specific date and time".
  • Configure the trigger according to your needs (e.g., select the specific channel or set the date/time).
  • After setting your trigger, click "Add Step".
  • Choose "Send a message" to create an automated response.
  1. Customize your message:
  • You can personalize the message with text, mentions, and emojis.
  • Use special variables if needed, like the sender's name or the date of the trigger event.
  1. Save and publish your workflow:
  • Once you've configured the message, click "Save".
  • Review your workflow to ensure everything is set up correctly.
  • Click "Publish" to activate the workflow.

The downside? Like the Slackbot method, the workflow builder offers limited customization and struggles with complex tasks.

It provides only a basic set of triggers and actions, which might not suffice for complex customer support automation needs. So, whenever you need to handle more nuanced scenarios, you may find Slack’s workflow builder somewhat restrictive.

If you want to get the most out of your automated replies, then Thena is your third and best option.

3. Thena

Thena is an award-winning B2B customer engagement platform on Slack, which harnesses the power of AI to detect customer requests within Slack Connect channels and transform them into support tickets.

The tool offers a suite of handy features, including end-to-end customer request management, customer service analytics, a knowledge base, and seamless integration with popular email ticketing and CRM solutions.

One of Thena’s functionalities is Slack auto responses. The tool supports both auto responses and out-of-office (OOO) messages. You can set up these messages at the global level for all channels using the Thena global settings, or for a specific channel using the Thena channel settings.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Global level setup (for all Slack channels):
  • Type /thena global config in the Slack command box.
  • Navigate to: Request Management → Advanced Settings.
  • Turn on the Auto Responder option (default is off).
  1. Channel-specific setup:
  • Enter /thena channel config in Slack.
  • Go to: Request Management → Advanced Settings.
  • Enable the Auto Responder feature (default is off).

But that's not all. With Thena, you can configure a variety of cool features that simply aren't possible with Slack's native capabilities.

For example, Thena allows you to do the following:

  • Enable service-level agreements (SLAs);
  • Track breaches to SLAs;
  • Configure your team’s working hours from Monday to Friday;
  • Set your team’s shift start and end times;
  • Select time zones for working hours;
  • Activate the OOO responder for responses outside usual working hours;
  • Utilize the customer service manager's avatar for OOO auto-replies.

For further information, check out our guide on Request Workflows.

Best Practices for Slack Auto Responses

Creating an auto response in Slack is just the first step. To truly make them work for your business, it's crucial to follow the best practices.

Personalizing auto responses

Slack auto responses are automated (no pun intended), but that doesn't mean you can't add a personal touch. A simple way to sound more personable is by using a friendly, conversational tone that aligns with your brand’s voice.

Balancing automation and human interaction

Your auto response should set realistic expectations about when the customer can expect a human reply. For instance, "Our team will be back online at 9 AM EST and will respond to your query."

You can also refer your customer to alternative resources, such as FAQs, knowledge bases, or forums where they can find immediate answers while waiting for a personalized response.

Keep it short and sweet

Lastly, ensure auto responses are brief but informative. Avoid overwhelming the customer with too much information. Additionally, don’t forget to regularly review and update your automated responses to reflect any changes in your support operations.

Examples of Effective Auto Responses

Crafting the perfect auto response that's just the right length and still informative can be a bit of a juggle. But we’ve prepared some examples for you. Feel free to customize them as you see fit.

  • Simple acknowledgment: "Thanks for reaching out! We're not around right now, but we'll get back to you first thing in the morning."
  • Resource sharing: "Hello! We're off the grid at the moment. While you wait, our FAQ page might have the answers you need: [link]."
  • Setting expectations: "We appreciate your message. Our team is available weekdays from 9 AM to 5 PM EST and will respond during these hours."

Remember, the goal of auto responses is not to replace human interaction but to enhance it by ensuring that every customer query is acknowledged promptly.

Top 19 Slack Auto-Responses for B2B SaaS

1"""Hi there! I'm the friendly AI assistant for [Your Company Name]. How can I help you today?"""Users joining a channelWelcome new members and introduce the bot.
2"""Thanks for reaching out! A human teammate will be with you shortly. In the meantime, you can browse our Help Center at [link]."""DMs mentioning keywords like "help" or "support"Acknowledge support requests and offer resources.
3"""Is your question about [topic 1], [topic 2], or [topic 3]? I can provide some quick resources!"""DMs mentioning keywords related to common issuesOffer targeted solutions and deflect simple inquiries.
4"""Our team is currently offline, but we'll respond to your message as soon as possible. You can also try searching our knowledge base at [link]."""DMs sent outside business hoursSet expectations for response times and offer alternative resources.
5"""Hey there! Looks like you're interested in [feature]. Here's a quick video tutorial to get you started: [link]."""DMs mentioning a specific featurePromote self-service options and product knowledge.
6"""Great question! To ensure I provide the best answer, can you tell me a little more about [specific details related to the question]?"""DMs with broad or unclear questionsClarify user intent and gather necessary information.
7"""We're excited to hear you're considering [Your Company Name]! Can I answer any questions you have about our product?"""Users joining a channel with a trial offer keywordEngage potential customers and address purchase considerations.
8"""Welcome back! We hope you're enjoying [Your Company Name]. Is there anything I can help you with today?"""Users rejoining a channel after inactivityRe-engage dormant users and offer assistance.
9""" Congrats on completing your onboarding! We're here to support you every step of the way. Let me know if you have any questions."""Users completing a specific onboarding actionCelebrate milestones and encourage further engagement.
10"""Our developers are constantly improving the product based on user feedback! What features would you like to see in the future?"""DMs mentioning suggestions or feedbackEncourage user input and foster product development.
11"""Heads up! There's an upcoming maintenance window on [date] from [time] to [time]. During this time, you may experience limited functionality."""Broadcast message before scheduled maintenanceInform users about planned outages and minimize disruption.
12"""We've noticed you haven't logged in for a while. Is there anything we can do to help you get the most out of [Your Company Name]?"""Broadcast message to inactive usersWin back disengaged users and rekindle product interest.
13"""Happy Birthday, [User Name]! We hope you have a great day!"""User's birthday based on profile information (optional)Add a personal touch and build stronger user relationships (consider privacy regulations).
14"""Did you know we offer a free webinar on [topic] next week? Learn valuable tips and tricks to optimize your workflow. Register here: [link]."""Broadcast message promoting upcoming eventsIncrease awareness of educational resources and boost user engagement.
15"""We're hosting a live Q&A session with our product experts on [date] at [time]. Don't miss out! Ask your questions here: [link]."""Broadcast message promoting live eventsFoster user interaction and provide real-time support.
16"""Hey there, [Team member name] is here to answer your question directly. Would you like to be connected?"""DMs requiring human interventionFacilitate smooth handoff to live support agents.
17"""Thank you for your feedback! We value your input and will use it to improve our product."""DMs with positive feedbackAcknowledge appreciation and demonstrate commitment to improvement.
18"""We apologize for the inconvenience. Can you describe the issue you're facing in more detail?"""DMs with negative feedbackAcknowledge problems and encourage further explanation for troubleshooting.
19"""We appreciate your patience! A member of our team is looking into your request and will get back to you soon."""Follow-up message after initial support requestManage expectations and assure users their concerns are being addressed.

Maximize Slack automated responses with Thena

Slack auto response feature offers a strategic solution to ensure that every client communication is acknowledged, regardless of the time or your team's availability. 

To make the most of your automated customer responses, consider Thena. Thena guarantees that no customer request goes unnoticed, which is key to fostering trust and elevating client satisfaction.

Add Thena to your Slack and join leading companies like WorkRamp, Mixpanel, and SpotDraft which have already adopted Thena to bring order to the chaos of customer requests in Slack.

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