Prioritize tasks quickly with triage channels

If your role requires you to prioritize and respond to requests in a timely fashion, you know how tough it is to track issues that pop up unexpectedly. From customer support tickets to billing inquiries, we’ll show you how to use channels to organize incoming tasks efficiently. ✅

The benefits

  • Clarify ownership by increasing visibility
  • Reduce time spent assigning duties and updating external issue trackers
  • Create a searchable history of past requests and how they were handled

Step 1: Create #triage channels

Create public channels using the #triage- prefix and designate their function. For example, use #triage-billing for questions about invoicing and payments. The prefix signals to everyone that the channel will be used to sort and prioritize incoming messages on that subject. Making the channel public lets your whole workspace see what issues are pending and what’s been resolved. 

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Step 2: Share guidelines

It’s important to set expectations for how the channel is meant to be used. Create a post that explains how you’d like members to make requests and report issues. Here are a few suggestions for these guidelines:

  • Indicate priority with emoji. Choose a set of emoji that classify how quickly a message should be addressed.

    🔴  :red_circle: emoji means the issue is urgent.
    🔵  :blue_circle: emoji denotes a question or problem.
    ⚪️  :white_circle: emoji shows something is feedback.

  • Include a brief description. Outline the information members need to include in their request.
  • Assign and claim tasks with reactions. Select emoji reactions that tell others what’s being worked on and by whom.

    👀  :eyes: emoji reaction means "I’m looking at this for you".
    ✅  :white_check_mark: emoji reaction means "I’ve fixed the issue".

  • Follow up in threads. Make it clear to whoever is working on the request that they should leave comments in a thread if the issue requires additional input, revision, or approval.

Tip: Pin the guidelines to triage channels for all to see!

 

Step 3: Use apps and integrations

If your triage channel gets a lot of action, developers can build a bot that scans the channel at preset times of day for specific emoji reactions to messages. This will help your team to track any outstanding issues.

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You can also connect your triage channel to external tools or dashboards that your team uses to manage incoming requests. For example, you can install JIRA server alerts to track issues that arise with your product development team. Or use the Stripe app to view charges, invoice payments, and subscriptions as they roll in.

💡Explore the app directory to find some of the tools your team prefers.

Step 4: Choose a triage captain (optional)

In some cases, it’s beneficial to assign someone to monitor the channel and keep things running smoothly for a set period of time — a triage captain, if you will. 👩‍✈️

The triage captain is in charge of making sure all incoming messages get the attention they need. They can also help make tough judgment calls when it comes to prioritizing issues and outsourcing for help. When their shift is over, they can hand over the reins to the next person on duty.  

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Update the channel topic to let everyone know who’s on duty for the hour, day, week, or month. We recommend rotating your captain on a regular basis to prevent burnout.

 

💡Check out the rest of our guides to get the most out of Slack.



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