Thursday, March 29, 2012
Few things are more frustrating than trying to hold a conversation in the midst of thousands of other people talking. It’s harder to converse in the hallways of a trade show than on the floor of a saw mill--why?
The din of a sawmill consists primarily of mechanical sounds. For example, the whine of the sawblades, the grinding of wood being ripped, and relatively little in the way of human voices. A trade show is opposite that. Mostly, the noise there is the babble of hundreds of conversations. The human ear takes it all in, but the brain can more easily filter things not obviously related to the conversation at hand.
In Salesforce.com’s Chatter, a private, internal collaboration network for their CRM users, the noise problem is similar. When faced with many fields on an object, users quickly learn to skim over those not relevant to them; that’s the sawmill. Unfortunately, when an administrator allows too much noise in the Chatter stream, the conversation becomes muddy and difficult to follow; that’s the trade show. With noise comes difficulty and with difficulty comes poor adoption and that’s something none of us want.
The solution is simple. Hush those objects when you roll out Chatter. It’s tempting to say, “Well, I have 82 fields on the account page and maybe someone will want to be alerted to changes on the most obscure, so I’ll just tick them all on the Feed Setting screen.” Don’t do it. If you do, every person following an account will get notified each and every time a field is updated in any way. I strongly urge you to have no more than three or four fields on an object in the feed. You can always add more later, but if you ruin their first impressions, they may not be back to see it.
The other big thing is, if your sales process is transactional, you may want to instruct your users to change their personal settings to prevent automatic following of records they own. You can also do this for masses of people quite easily, using Dataloader.
Key takeaways: Log in as users and see just how noisy their Chatter streams are. Take steps to quiet them down. Get user feedback.
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