While Lyft has become well known for its consumer ride-sharing business, it’s also been making inroads as the ground transportation partner of choice for thousands of organizations. From transporting business travelers to providing after-hours rides for employees and insurance-covered hospital rides for patients, Lyft Business moves people who matter to the company’s customers’ businesses.
As the Lyft Business division has grown, traditional document sharing, email, and messaging apps have been unable to keep up. Since its implementation a year ago, Slack has become integral to keeping dispersed teams connected and responsive to their customers and partners in real time.
“Slack is business done right. When you have collaboration happening in one spot, leadership doesn’t need to be copied on an email. You can hop into a Slack channel, cruise along with the project, and jump in where needed.”
Newfound transparency increases sales velocity
While the collection of tools that Lyft Business used before rolling out Slack worked when the group was in the same location, it wasn’t able to scale as the team expanded into three regional offices in Denver, New York, and San Francisco. For key accounts with executive sponsorship, it can be difficult to find a time when the dozens of people involved with an account can attend a weekly meeting. Account-specific and region-specific Slack channels are used instead for real-time syncing across the team.
“One of the things that I use Slack a lot for is giving high-level updates—I call them the ‘no ask updates,’ ” says senior field account manager Samantha Lutz. “They keep the executive sponsors involved and aware of the current status of things. [The sponsors] don’t have time to read a lengthy email. But if I can just quickly summarize the account status in a Slack note, that’s very effective.”
For the sales leadership team, Slack has freed up valuable time while increasing executive insight into key partnerships and focusing their attention where it’s most needed. “Slack is business done right,” says area vice president Benjamin Sternsmith. “When you have collaboration happening in one spot, leadership doesn’t need to be copied on an email. You can hop into a Slack channel, cruise along with the project, and jump in where needed.”
Increased transparency is making Lyft Business more efficient too. Using Troops, an integration that connects Salesforce and Slack, sales reps update deal stages and their pipeline dashboard right in Slack. The benefits here are twofold: a rep doesn’t have to update each individual deal in Salesforce, and key stakeholders get better visibility to pipeline and customer data.
“We’re spending more time prospecting and less time on the administrative work updating deals in Salesforce,” says Tyler Lefeber, a senior strategic account executive. “There’s no doubt reps are able to source more business and close deals faster.”
“I’m not going to email the entire sales team. But I’m happy to post in the sales Slack channel. Those are two very different things.”
Promoting cross-functional collaboration through Slack
Before Slack, the sales team, which coordinates closely with local market managers, lacked a place to easily come together and collaborate on creating a custom offering for key accounts. “I think about all the opportunities that were probably missed before Slack because we didn’t have the ability to communicate cross-functionally,” says Lutz.
Collaboration is a core competency for members of the Lyft Business sales team, which frequently works closely with the wider marketing and IT departments as it looks to sign up new customers. Further, different markets have different priorities in terms of the ideal passengers or drivers they want to engage.
“You need to be able to work cross-functionally and understand what teams you can leverage to create a comprehensive partnership package for clients,” says Lefeber. “With the ability to create channels and groups in Slack, we’re able to actually learn about what other people are doing and increase the velocity of the work we’re doing.”
“I think about opportunities we may have missed before Slack because we didn’t have the ability to communicate cross-functionally.”
Expediting urgent situations, with care
When urgent situations arise for Lyft Business, swift situation management and communication with all relevant business partners is essential. Slack gives the team an immediate escalation route while keeping all account stakeholders informed of what’s being done to resolve the problem.
“We have a really tight response system,” says Lefeber. “We use Slack to quickly communicate the issue and communicate frequently so that we’re able to provide the best experience possible for our partners and make sure that our passengers and their customers are safe.”
Through a Zendesk integration, escalation of emergency or urgent issues is almost immediate, thanks to the cross-functional team members who are part of the Lyft Business Slack group. “When you’re talking about ambulatory rides for patients, for example, the stakes are high,” says Lefeber. “We need to be confident our service is near perfect. Slack enables that.”
From increasing collaboration and transparency across the organization to enabling quick escalation of critical issues, Slack has become an instrumental part of scaling Lyft Business. It’s equally paramount to making sure the company delivers on its promise: to get its customers’ riders where they need to be reliably and efficiently.
“One of the channels that I find most valuable is account management and engineering,” says Lutz. “It’s the fastest means to escalation because there are two assigned on-call engineers. You’re able to message within that channel whatever the troubleshooting is that you need for a customer. It’s instantaneous support from engineering that could otherwise take 12 to 24 hours.”
For Lyft Business and its customers, that kind of time savings from Slack not only makes for a better end user experience, it drives everyone’s work forward too.