Slack: our company’s best friend
If you’re among the two-thirds of Australians who call themselves pet parents, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered Pet Circle.
Since launching Pet Circle in 2011, we’ve grown into Australia’s largest online pet supplies store. Working behind the scenes to get our products to customers is a team of more than 700 pet lovers from multiple time zones across Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
From the start, we’ve had one core objective: to create a better world for pets by helping pet parents to pet better. As one of the fastest-growing e-commerce brands in Australia, we’re well on our way!
That’s not to say it’s been a simple process. With lockdowns, a distributed workforce and supply chain delays, we’ve certainly had our work cut out for ourselves. Being able to automate manual tasks, accelerate collaboration and move work forward using Slack has been a real game-changer.
“We are always looking at the tools and applications we need to integrate and anchor back into Slack – the ability to integrate within the platform has become a non-negotiable.”
Before Slack: Stuck with unproductive chat and context switching
Today, centralising our work, tools and conversations in Slack is a given. However, there was a time when our collaboration was restricted by a simple messaging app that didn’t integrate with our other systems. As our team rapidly grew it started impeding our productivity; our team was wasting time switching between different apps and getting stuck in endless email chains.
In particular, our engineers were struggling to resolve tickets over email. Before Slack, an alert or enquiry would go into an inbox, and it could take anywhere from half an hour to two hours for someone to pick it up. Engineers were overwhelmed by constant email alerts and then searching around different systems to find context and resources.
We needed to go beyond simple messaging and email threads. We needed a Digital HQ that could enhance how work flowed between teams, tools, customers and partners.
Before Slack, an alert or enquiry would go into an inbox, and it could take anywhere from half an hour to two hours for someone to pick it up. Engineers were overwhelmed by constant email alerts and then searching around different systems to find context and resources.
After Slack: Slashing incident response times and automating support
Since moving to Slack, we’ve automated our incident process. As a result, our engineers and customer experience teams can address potential issues before a customer is even aware there’s a problem. An alert is automatically sent to a channel, which will have five or 10 people who can pick it up and deal with it in minutes.
This means we’ve reduced our response waiting times from at least two hours to two minutes.
Ultimately, this means customers get what they need, faster. They see the improved stability on the site and the new features. Any advancements we develop are released faster.
This progress has paid off. Just last month we were awarded the Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customer award in the pet store category, which is great recognition of our improved customer experience and website, especially how quickly we are building and rolling out new features. Automating our engineering processes using Slack has helped our team focus on the customer, not the process.
Slack also helps us become an employer of choice, in a very competitive talent market. In particular, engineering talent is hard to come by. When a potential hire sees we use Slack, they know they’ll be joining an agile and forward-thinking environment that supports engineers wherever they are based.
An alert is automatically sent to a Slack channel, which will have five or 10 people who can pick it up and deal with it in minutes. We’ve reduced our response waiting times from at least two hours to two minutes.
Slack to the future
We’ve loved watching Slack evolve alongside our business. As our needs grew and diversified, so too did Slack’s features and offerings.
It’s become the tool of the trade for us – it’s where work gets done at Pet Circle. We are always on the lookout for the tools and applications that we can anchor into Slack – the ability to integrate within the platform has become a non-negotiable.
From a culture and team engagement standpoint, Slack has improved motivation and morale across our hybrid and remote workforce. We have a team that loves to share, and Slack helps us create spaces for this.
Slack helps everyone feel part of our team, regardless of whether they’re in the office or not. We’ve recently introduced emojis that signify our company values. Using these emojis, we encourage all our team members to give kudos to one another.
Through Slack we are co-creating, collaborating and celebrating as one team, regardless of location.
Written for Slack by Tony Abi Khalil, Vice President of Engineering, Pet Circle