Last week I was meeting with one of my practice managers and reviewing a few reports with him. As we were going through the data, he shared an experience of how the team had helped him via Chatter create one of the summary reports.
Evidently he was struggling to get it to work the way he needed, and after about 30 minutes, was about to give up. Instead, he presented the problem to the team on Chatter.
By the end of the day, the problem was solved. But getting a solution was just part of the benefit. As he told the story, I realized the benefits went far beyond getting a quick answer:
- Team learning…forever
The team presented different ideas and their pros and cons. Each successive proposed solution built on the last. And the best part is that the knowledge shared by everyone is now available for all employees to find.
- Fast iterations with a quick solution
The problem was posted around 1:30 in the afternoon. The first reply came toward the end of the day around 5:30, and within the two hours it took to get the best answer, there were three people posting a total of seven entries. Not bad for a Friday evening.
- People had fun
Our team is very competitive and smart, and they are great teachers — just the right combination for great Chatter contributors. I’ve noticed on Chatter posts similar to this that there is a sense of fun and competition to get the best answer. It’s almost an innate benefit of using the tool.
Compare this outcome with how it might have played out on email:
- Countless emails going back and forth.
- Some important contributors may have been left off the initial string by mistake.
- No ability for people to opt out, or quietly watch from the sidelines.
- Knowledge capture: No ability to capture the learning to solve future problems like this.
- Drudgery: Most people don’t view email as fun.
Here are some tips if you are thinking about using Chatter this way:
- Provide a screenshot, or better yet a link to the report/ record/ page with which you are having issues. Visualization works.
- Consider offering a prize or reward for solving the problem. It can be as small as a Starbucks gift card. Competition and games work.
- Make it easy for people to help you. Keep the post short and get the key problem out in the first two sentences.
- Post the final solution and, if there were multiple suggestions provided, the reasons it was selected.
As the Chatter benefit keeps paying off, will responses of “Did you Google it?” be replaced with “Did you Chatter it?”