In most industries, companies use internal communication tools to share information between employees and departments. Many organizations use more than one; email, instant messenger, portals, and message boards are all common communication tools. But did you know that Salesforce has its own tool that integrates seamlessly with the platform?
Chatter is an enterprise collaboration application that allows users to work together, talk to each other, and share information within Salesforce. It enables users by improving collaboration efforts on sales opportunities, service cases, campaigns, and projects through the ability to post content, upload files, create polls, and ask questions. By using Chatter optimally, you can effectively create communication channels between your company’s different departments.
Let’s learn how.
Before using Chatter, it’s important to understand its scope. As a Salesforce application, users can access Chatter on both desktop and mobile devices. The browser version and Salesforce mobile app both offer full functionality for collaboration. By making Chatter accessible regardless of role or location, you enable your users to stay up to date with relevant information throughout the entire day.
All data within Chatter is kept and searchable. Its advanced search engine helps users filter through files, people, groups, teams, work records, and other information. By using Chatter over a long period of time, the data that it collects becomes invaluable.
(NOTE: Salesforce offers a Chatter Free license that allows Chatter access without a Salesforce license. While these users can access standard Chatter items such as people, profiles, groups, and files, they can’t access Salesforce objects or data.)
Within Chatter, there are many terms that allow us to better understand the application. Some of them are:
- Profiles: Every user has their own profile page with a photo and role information. Users can use these pages to discover coworker teams, managers, locations, and best ways of contact.
- Following: One of the most powerful ways to use Chatter is through following. By following people, groups, topics, files, or records, you can get their latest updates through push notifications. You can follow a maximum of 500 different endpoints.
- What I Follow: This feed provides real-time updates for everything you are following.
- Groups: Within Chatter, groups are collections of users with a common goal or interest. Common groups revolve around departments, project teams, or cross-team collaborations. Groups can be public, private, unlisted, customer-enabled, and broadcast only.
Dispersing Information Within Groups
Groups are great tools for collaborating within Chatter. You can create groups based on any shared need for information (departments, projects, etc.), and all members of a group can collaborate through the group page. For example, a department may create a group to convey departmental announcements such as new hires or scheduling changes. Likewise, a project team consisting of members from different departments can create a group to post project updates. Sales teams can create regional groups to discuss prospects in specific geographical areas as well.
By using groups, you can create instances where the right information is dispersed to the right people at the right time. Posting to a group not only makes the post information available to the relevant users, but it also keeps a historical record of the communication. Users can have conversations and track post updates with comments and responses. Additionally, by setting up notifications and following group activity, you can ensure that all updates are seen in a timely manner.
Using Topics for Easy Discovery
If an entirely new group isn’t necessary, you can also use topics to group Chatter posts and make them easily discoverable. By adding a unique hashtag to a post, users can then use the search feature to find all posts using a specific topic. For instance, if you are hosting a sales meeting, you can add #salesmeeting to your posts, and all attendees can find updates by searching for that topic. As long as the topic is unique, users can easily locate your updates. In this case, the sales meeting is a one-off meeting, so creating a group specifically for it does not make sense.
Creating Custom Streams
Streams are a Chatter feature that allows users to customize personal Chatter updates. By adding a custom stream, a user can consolidate multiple feeds into a single view. For example, if you were an executive who wanted to track all updates from your managers, you could create a stream that showed all posts from employees on your management team. Instead of visiting many different feeds to see individual updates, you can visit this one stream to see all information in a single view. Keep in mind that you can only create up to 100 streams, and each stream can only exist as a combination of 25 feeds. You can create streams that include updates from people, groups, and records.
Reducing Meeting Times with Chatter Usage
By using all of the methods above, you can cut down on meeting times by streamlining communication practices. However, this only works if you rollout Chatter effectively and have firm-wide adoption. As with any implementation project, it’s important to have:
- Executive support
- Well-documented use cases
- Enthusiastic super users
- A communication plan
- Methods to track metrics and measure results
By making Chatter usage the norm, you can begin to reap all of the benefits from the platform. Reduced meeting times, fewer emails, increased awareness, and full information transparency are just some of the points you will begin to experience by using Chatter to effectively communicate across departments.
Need Assistance Using Chatter?
If you like what you see and want a Salesforce partner’s assistance, Ntegro can help. We can work closely with your team to find the best group structure for your organization so communication is streamlined and efficient. Contact us online today for a free consultation!
Comment below to share a story about how you’ve used Chatter to increase communication between your departments!