Automate, mate!

One of the most frustrating things to experience as a manager is when a complaint, that should have been readily handled, finds a home posted on social media.

I’ve been involved in dozens of different industries and none have customer service issues as challenging as an auction house. Just the nature of an auction results in conflict: we get an item from a seller who makes the assumption that they’re going to receive the highest value possible and we then connect that item to buyers who makes the assumption they’re going to get the best deal possible. It’s bound to have conflict.

For me personally, a frustration that tops these mishandled complaints is when the company starts bringing in hundreds of new leads per months only to find out that they’re not being followed up on.

Now take these two reputation and revenue devastating happenings and multiply them by daily repeated occurrences. So, what was our problem? It wasn’t fully on employees. We had multiple locations, many hundreds of clients and a poor process that lacked proper tools. How did we fix this?


Since Slack was our most useful and critical tool, I setup an automated system wrapped around Slack usage to eliminate dropped customer service issues and to ensure leads were followed up on.

We brought together all our software and lead related tools and created a slick automation process. We used Slack, CRM (Zoho), Zapier, texting, Facebook, website and email within this framework:


We automated all Facebook leads to go into our CRM

We automated all website leads to go into our CRM

All leads that were walk ins to one of our locations, inbound calls or emails, were manually input.

Once a lead was entered into Zoho, I had a round-robin setup. So, each lead would be assigned to the next-in-line sales rep and a notification was sent to that rep via a direct Slack message.

Upon assigning the lead, it was marked as Unclaimed New and if that rep didn’t act on the lead and “claim” it within two hours, it was automatically sent to the next rep in the round-robin with the same follow up parameters.

Once a lead was claimed it was now marked as “New”.

If the lead wasn’t contacted and the status changed to “Contacting” within 24 hours then a reminder via email and direct Slack message was sent to the rep. If the lead wasn’t contacted with the status changed to “Contacted” within 48 hours, the manager would get a direct Slack message.