At the Office or at Home: Fostering Collaboration While Adapting to New Ways to Work
Some percentage of your employees will always need remote working capabilities to ensure safe office environments, and customers must follow new regulations for their in-person interactions with your company. As you restart your business, one of the biggest challenges remains finding ways to foster collaboration among your still-disparate users.
Organizations’ employees, customers and partners are battling near-constant uncertainty, making it necessary for companies to be more impromptu with information sharing and collaborative decision making. While emails and social media conversations let them communicate with one another, the most valuable interactions involve innovative solutions with enhanced collaborative capabilities.
The companies that were most successful over the past few months–and will continue to thrive regardless of what happens in the future–are those that have developed digital experiences in which their users have a variety of options for richer engagement with one another.
Whether it’s a customer, partner or employee community, having this type of platform sets your users up to have more frequent, valuable interactions with each other as well as your brand. Collaboration among users is happening no matter what; encouraging it in a community you own lets you reap the benefits of capturing these conversations and using the insights to improve your business.
Leveraging digital communities allows companies to create user-friendly experiences that overcome barriers to collaboration and knowledge sharing while driving business value. There are many features that communities unlock to address these challenges and keep you and your people successful as you adapt to new ways of working and doing business with users.
Enable Users to Locate and Collaborate with Each Other
Interacting with a brand without the luxury of physical presence can put a strain on collaboration among your employees, customers and partners. It’s important to acknowledge that conversations about your brand are happening anyway, but social distancing requires companies to be more on-the-fly with information sharing and decision making. Communities ensure that collaboration remains strong, and the ensuing discussions take place on a platform that you control. This lets you see your users’ collaboration instantly and allow their insights to help you improve your own processes during periods of uncertainty.
Built-in Member Directories streamline the process of locating appropriate subject matter experts in your organization, fostering employee-to-employee, employee-to-customer and many other types of engagement. Profiles help employees and partners find necessary contact information for their coworkers and empower customers to connect with other users who may have had similar buying journeys. When these interactions happen in your community, you can see them instantly and directly, enabling you to leverage their insights and improve your business.
Facilitate Discussions and Public & Private Conversations
Just because in-person interactions are less frequent (and changing daily based on the latest information) doesn’t mean your organization needs to suffer a decline in collaboration among your users. Communities built on Salesforce give you the ability to facilitate virtual discussions using features like Chatter.
Your partners and employees can hold working sessions among their respective teams, or in smaller private conversations. Customers can post questions directly to your community to solicit feedback from your experts, or from other buyers who might know the answer firsthand. Groups and other functions let all of your users crowdsource in a collaborative space, ensuring that they all have the engaging experience they are accustomed to in their normal interactions with your organization. If these conversations happened on social media or channels like Slack, you’d lose out on deriving business-enhancing insights. Within your community, you can quickly take action based on the behaviors you’re witnessing from your users’ collaboration.
Provide Feedback Channels to Encourage Ideation
While today’s customers and partners are often used to engaging with companies online, it may be unfamiliar for many, maybe all, of your employees to work virtually. To safely restart your business, it is essential to unleash your people’s potential with innovative work-from-home options. While there are best practices to help ease the transition, hearing directly from your people will help you create a positive experience that translates to business continuity for your company. Communities unlock many feedback channels that you capture directly, letting you observe and take action based on suggestions from all of your users on how to improve your virtual experiences.
Apps like 7Summits Ideas help you crowdsource, listen and respond to your customers, partners and employees. Unleash your users to influence the evolution of your digital experience, enabling their voices to be heard while allowing others to vote and interact with the submissions they like best. The group collaboration that ideation unlocks helps your audiences feel valued and enhances engagement.
Support Your Departments and Users by Consolidating Resources
Your users need information and guidance, but the best use of your departmental leaders is not triaging simple questions over and over. Publishing landing pages in your communities lets you build a knowledge repository where employees, partners and customers can leverage self-service to easily access whatever knowledge they need. Your company can also publicly respond to questions, letting users benefit from seeing the organization’s official answer and preventing them from needing to ask the same question again.
Whether you publish HR resources for your employees or sales templates for your partners, you are able to quickly identify which areas of your business would most benefit from a one-stop location for questions and answers and configure your community to match those needs.
Make it easy for your users to collaborate with a digital community that provides your employees, partners and customers with an engaging experience. You’ll be able to gain insight into their information sharing and collaboration and take action to safely restart your business. With a digital community, your company will be well-positioned to overcome the changes and uncertainty that will continue to surface in the future.