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Using Slack as Your Team’s Universal Chat Client

By @abs

After years of forcing professional conversations into email chains and reply-alls, the modern workforce has begun a much-needed shift to communication via chat. Email loses to chat in so many ways—it allows too many messages to slip through the cracks, clutters up your digital space, and makes it easy for embarrassing errors to occur.

Slack, with its blindsiding success over the past couple of years, is the clearest signal yet that the email tide is turning. Slack’s model does a fantastic job of achieving organized, open communication across groups and departments, letting employees easily find any bit of organizational knowledge available. This is an absolute must for modern companies, especially as the adoption rate increases and email-only users find themselves unquestionably behind the curve.

Until now though, email has one-upped chat in a key area: With email, you’re able to receive and send messages securely regardless of which email service the other person is using. Vendors, partners, and clients can use their Hotmail address from the late 90s (we all remember ours) and still get the message to your inbox. But with chat, there hasn’t been a way to securely and easily talk to external people without keeping dozens of chat clients open at once. We’ve solved that problem at Sameroom by creating a tool that can make Slack your single chat client for all communication, both internal and external.

Achieving Workplace Zen with Sameroom

Let’s imagine your team works with a consultant who loves Hangouts for chatting, but you’re pushing for company-wide adoption of Slack. Within minutes, you can use Sameroom to bridge your own, dedicated Slack channel to a group on Hangouts.

If your team is working with another company that uses Slack, why not share a channel that both teams can access? This way, both teams get to keep working from their own cozy Slack setup.

With either of these scenarios, the biggest benefit is this: Each organization gets to use a single chat client of their choice, keeping a record of all communication data while controlling and allowing access to the channel as they see fit. Slack becomes your mission control center for two-way, real-time messaging across any major chat system, letting you work faster without losing important information.

At Brandfolder we deal with outside contractors. While its always great for our contractors to come in and use Slack, we would rather them stick to a tool they are used to. Sameroom allows us to continue using the Slack we love and allows contractors to use the tool they love.

Jason Waldrip, CTO

Lowering the Barrier to Slack Adoption

Friction of Slack adoption happens when a user needs to connect with an external party. Guest access only works to a certain extent, since the other party may already be committed to a tool (such as their own Slack, or Skype, or something else), or unwilling to forgo ownership of communication data (which email affords as a part of its standard operating procedure, since everyone always gets a copy). These limitations may force Slack users to switch between Slack and other chat applications. Worse, there may be a full-on email relapse.

I've been using Sameroom to push traffic from an IRC channel into Slack, where it's much easier to read, search and manage.

Jack Greenfield, Senior Staff Software Engineer

Sameroom + the Slack API: Making the Future Happen Now

Without Slack’s capable API, all of our big ideas at Sameroom would have remained squarely in pipe dream territory. Luckily, the Slack API is so good that creating our integration was a major success.

Sameroom lets you create “Tubes” between channels or private groups in your Slack and groups or contacts in a bunch of other platforms—even Freenode IRC channels and rooms in Campfire. We use the real-time API to listen to messages in channels you connect in Sameroom, and the web API to post messages to the other side.

Overall, the strategy works well—we preserve as much formatting as possible, and upload all shared files to your Slack team. Of all the chat systems we’ve explored, Slack is by far easiest to work with. As we continue to improve our integration, we expect it to be one of the top choices our customers make as they choose a universal chat client.

Responding to Customers from Slack

With our Sameroom Attend feature, it’s easy to connect your corporate Chatter, Facebook, Intercom, Skype, and Twitter accounts with your Slack team.

In this way, when a customer posts a question for your company in a service connected through Attend, anyone on your Slack team can either respond or get the attention of an expert.

Once we deployed this feature at our company, staff members who normally don’t use Facebook or Twitter, let alone have access to the corporate accounts, began engaging with our customers from Slack.

Sometimes, we respond without paying attention to the origin of a question—as it doesn’t seem to matter! And we think that’s pretty great, because we like bringing all our communication together in one place.

Sameroom helps me coordinate public chats across channels, so I don't have to worry about educating people about IRC, or about Slack. They can use their tool of choice.

Josh Simmons, Community Manager
O'Reilly Media


Need to connect a Freenode channel to a room in HipChat? Or want to give customers a simple way to connect to a channel in your Slack team?

Sameroom does that!
Learn more

 Subscribe via RSS