Slack just hired ‘Dan from Optus’, the social media guru who became an Australian hero

‘Dan from Optus’ is now ‘Dan from Slack’. Photo: supplied.

Companies are continually looking for with new ways to interact with consumers on social media to provide a better customer service experience.

Crafting timely responses with wit and charm is revolutionising this aspect of business as we know it.

“Dan from Optus” is one customer service guru who became a household name for his efforts late last year when he took a stand against people attacking the telco for advertising written in Arabic in a Sydney shopping centre.

Here are some of the messages on the Optus Facebook page and how Dan responded:


Age of Aquarium as collected a number of the Optus examples which you can see here.

So what’s his secret to remaining calm during a heated exchange?

“I’m passionate about human interaction,” Dan told Business Insider.

“You’re dealing with people, and you’ve got to treat people as human beings.

“No one is born racist, no one is born bigoted. It often comes from fear. So if you approach those people with love and explain why they don’t have anything to fear, that way you tend to get a lot better response than to tell them if they were wrong.

“We all just need to love each other a bit more I think.”

So basically, he’s a nice guy doing what he sees as the right thing, and messaging service Slack wanted a part of it.

Dan’s eloquent championing of diversity made it all the way to San Francisco, where the booming tech company’s HQ is based, to Slack’s recruiting lead, Marissa Senzaki.

“I heard about Dan from my co-workers at Slack,” Senzaki told Business Insider.

(L) Marissa and (R) Dan at the Slack office in Melbourne. Photo: supplied.

“They were talking about one of the articles they read… Everyone was really impressed with the voice that Dan had and the fact that he was taking a social stance on something he was very passionate about.

“We were just curious to know more about him and he sounded like someone that would really thrive working at Slack.”

Now Dan has just started at the company and hopes to be able to achieve the same result as what he did with his former employer.

“A lot of people see customer experience as an in-between job, or something that you do while waiting to get the job that you really want,” said Dan. “But it’s really rewarding in the sense that you get to connect with people from various backgrounds, you get to help them.

“For me the main goal should be to put a smile on that person face at the end of the interaction.”

Slack prides itself on diversity and even has head of diversity in its San Francisco office.

“A big thing about me coming to Slack, was that their values were aligning with mine,” he said.

Marissa agreed: “It’s important to hire people who are working towards a common goal, and if people don’t have that passion, I think that will show through in the quality of work that they do.

“If you hire people who actually see customer experience as a career path, not just a day to day job, you’re cultivating an environment where everyone is energised and inspired to do their best.

“What makes our company unique is when we were starting out we were a very small startup and our CEO Stewart Butterfield and our director of customer experience Ali Rayll, they were two of the people primarily responsible to responding to our tweets. I think a CEO of a company who can be that involved speaks volumes. Now we’re a much larger company but we still try to have that same type of voice.”

Overall, Dan says the key to providing a killer customer service experience comes to down being true to yourself, and the brand, and the rest will just fall in place organically.

“Treat people as people, and don’t be afraid to take a stand for what you believe in,” he said.

“In that instance there are a lot of companies that might have back flipped and taken down the Facebook posts or apologised.

“In that case we didn’t think we had done anything wrong, and so it’s OK to say that. To go out there and say this is why we did it, and explain the position, rather than backtracking or feeling like you have to be on the defence.”