We’re big users of Chatter at The Gary Smith Partnership and now we take it for granted as a way of working. But a customer asked me this week, “Why should we use it? What are the benefits?” Here’s what I said.
1. It's by far a more collaborative way of working
Like many organisations, if someone was trying to solve a problem or get feedback on a presentation they’d send out a global email. Some people would reply to everyone, some would just reply to the sender, the email thread gets jumbled...…it quickly becomes a mess.
Now we use Chatter. The problem solving process becomes a conversation rather than a series of disjointed emails. People can interact and spark new ideas. There’s no ambiguity over which is the current version of the document. Other employees can be brought into the conversation using the @ function.
The whole process is just a much smarter way of working.
2. You'll get input from unexpected quarters
A prospect I was working with recently asked me how they could support a fairly complex business requirement using salesforce. I wasn’t sure so I asked the organisation for help.
Previously I’d have sent me email to the top 3 or 4 consultants and technical guys in the team. But this time I posted it on Chatter. And yes, the experienced guys all replied. But one of our graduate trainees also chipped in with some ideas. It wasn’t the final solution but it then sparked some further Chatter discussion that led to the question being answered successfully.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen a significant contribution on Chatter that simply wouldn’t have happened in the old way of working.
3. You'll find out things you wouldn't otherwise have known
At GSP we use Chatter to keep each other up to date on clients we’re visiting, prospects we’re talking to and projects we’re working on.
I was on a train recently and posted on Chatter to say I was on route to visit a particular prospect. It turns out one of our team used to work for their biggest competitor. He saw my post and was able to give me industry insight that I simply didn’t have - and which I wouldn’t have received if I hadn’t made that Chatter post. We got the deal.
I’ve found out about configuration tips and tricks I didn’t know about, opportunities I wasn’t aware of, ideas that wouldn’t otherwise have surfaced.
4. It's a great way to keep up to date on deals and projects
We make good use of the reports and dashboards in Salesforce.com to track our projects and deals we’re working on. But I also want the important insights and updates to be pushed to me in real time. That’s exactly what Chatter does.
I use Chatter to follow the projects and opportunities that are most important to me. When a key field on one of these records is updated I get an automated Chatter post to let me know. It means I save a huge amount of time asking about the status of things – I don’t need to ask because Chatter has told me. Which also means I don’t go around constantly interrupting other people!
5. And you'll get a lot less email!
Who doesn’t want less email? I’m not someone that’s ever counted the number of emails I get a day – or how few I receive now – but one thing’s for sure, there’s a lot less internal emails flying around! The dialogue and communication hasn’t reduced, its now being handled a lot more effectively on Chatter.
And because Chatter responses often have a wide audience and typed into a box rather than an open email, they tend to me more considered – and shorter! And that means a more efficient and more productive way of working.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
May 01 2014