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Executives often give three reasons why their business shouldn’t use collaboration technologies such as Salesforce Chatter. 1) People will post inappropriate content. 2) I’m swamped with email now I’ll be swamped with Chatter posts. And 3) It only works if everyone uses it and not everyone will use it.

Here’s why those reasons aren’t true.

Reason 1. People will post inappropriate content

Employees don’t generally send out a company-wide email telling everyone what they did on Saturday night. Likewise they don’t make Chatter posts on the same subject either. I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’ve never heard of it.

That doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t have rules on what is acceptable on Chatter. In my own business we use Chatter extensively for business purposes. However several members of the team recently had babies and they’ve posted a picture on Chatter. Other people have commented on how cute they look.

In our organisation that’s an acceptable use of Chatter. If the pictures hadn’t been on Chatter they’d have been circulated by email. It’s part of the fabric that binds us together as a company. Especially as people are often out working on customer sites for periods at a time.

But in some of our clients the policy on Chatter is to keep it strictly business. That’s also fine. Just let people know where they stand.

Reason 2. I’m swamped with email now I’ll be swamped with Chatter posts

My own experience is that internal email significantly reduces when organisations adopt Chatter. Communications that would have taken place on email now happen on Chatter. But because Chatter is a much more collaborative mechanism than email there’s an improvement in the quality of communication. People tend to be more concise. They get straight to the point. And you avoid the mess that results when some people hit ‘Reply All’ and others just ‘Reply’.

However it’s also a question of filtering. Follow the people, records, groups and files that matter to you. If other people want to bring you into the conversation they can @ you. So rather than being swamped I’ve found that executives have more time to focus on the important priorities.

Reason 3. It will only work if everyone uses it and everyone won’t use it

It’s true that to get the best from Chatter everyone needs to be committed to using it. And to achieve that there are a number of steps you can take to achieve full Chatter adoption. We describe these more fully in a seperate blog, ‘10 tips for successful Chatter roll out‘.

In summary, to achieve full Chatter adoption:

  • Get executives involved from the start.
  • Persuade users to add a picture to their profile.
  • Plant some seeds by pre-populating with some Chatter posts.
  • Get managers to ask questions using Chatter – on the relevant record in Salesforce.
  • Set up feed tracking to alert people about important changes to records they follow.

Of course not everyone in your organisation is necessarily a full Salesforce.com user. So provide free Chatter-only licenses for other employees. It’s a powerful way of bringing everyone into the conversation.

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