Community for Collaboration and Information Sharing
A common characteristic of successful communities is that they provide consumers timely answers to questions, issue resolution, and engagement around ideas. Timeliness and quality go hand-in-hand—a fast response isn’t valuable if it isn’t useful and trustworthy. Community Managers and Champions play a key role in getting customers helpful information quickly, but the participation of other employees can also be critical. We’ve implemented new features that make it easy for groups of employees to work better together—even if they aren’t active in the community on a regular basis. With the addition of internal notes and conversation assignment, you now have tools that facilitate collaboration and information sharing across your team. In this post I explain the capabilities and potential use cases for two new features. Join me on a webcast February 4th, to learn how to take advantage of our latest features for collaboration and information sharing.
Conversation assignment and internal notes can be used in public and private communities. All enterprise plan customers have access to this feature, and we will be rolling this feature out during the week of February 3rd, 2014. To use these capabilities, business users must be employees with management seats—the functionality is available via the Manage Workspace application.
Using Assignments & Notes to Foster Internal Collaboration
We’ve observed, both in our own community and from customer feedback, that while sharing conversations via email works well, it sometimes results in multiple people doing redundant work, or worse—no one taking action because it isn’t clear who should take the lead. Assignments and notes take care of this problem.
Imagine a consumer submits a problem in the community for a software product company. The nature of the problem is such that non-employees aren’t able to provide a solution. Stephanie, a Community Manager, gets Piotr (an Engineer) involved.
- Stephanie makes a note of some questions she has and then assigns the conversation to Piotr.
- Piotr gets an email notification. He checks the notes and investigates the issue that was reported. After a little investigation, he confirms the reported behavior is a bug, so he opens a bug in the company’s bug tracking system.
- Piotr responds to Stephanie by adding a note to the conversation with a workaround suggestion and the bug number, then assigns the conversation back to her.
- Stephanie is notified of the assignment, reads Piotr’s note, and is able to respond to the customer.
Stephanie also assigns several ideas to Ramya, a product manager, to be reviewed at their weekly burndown meeting.
- When they meet, Ramya logs into Manage Workspace and checks her “assignment queue” by checking the “Assigned to Me” view she created.
- Stephanie and Ramya work the list and take notes as regarding how they’ll respond.
You can also imagine notes as a way to highlight information that might be particularly interesting to someone else in the organization. Assignment can be used as a way to draw that person into the conversation and expose them to input from customers, along with editorial content in the form of the internal note.
How It Works: Assigning Conversations
Conversations are assigned to employees in the Manage Workspace. In the conversation detail view, click the Assign icon to display the employee selection list. Pick the employee to whom you wish to assign the conversation.
When a conversation is assigned to you, you receive an email notification with a link to the conversation.
Conversations with assignment are visually distinguished in the content list. An icon shows which conversations have been assigned.
You can include assignment as an option when specifying your own custom views. This lets you create a view that shows conversations assigned to you or to a particular employee. You can also add assignee and assignment date as columns in the list view of conversations. This lets you see at a glance which conversations have been assigned, when that assignment was updated, and to whom they are assigned.
Communicating Internally Using Notes
Notes are attached to conversations in the Manage Workspace. In the conversation detail view, click the ellipsis icon and pick Add Note from the menu. The Create Note panel is shown. Create your note in the text box then click the Create button to submit your note.
In the conversation detail view in Manage Workspace, if one or more notes have been created with the conversation, the number of notes is shown below the main conversation text. Click the Notes link to show all the associated notes.
When finished with a note, click the trash icon next to the note text. You will be prompted to verify the deletion action (note deletion cannot be undone).
Internal Collaboration Around Community
When we talk about collaboration and community, we often think about how users, Champions and Employees collaborate in the public community space. Internal collaboration among employees is also important—as a way to expedite a high-quality response, and also as a means to share community conversations more broadly within your organization. We’ve introduced the Employee Assignment and Internal Notes features as a way to make this type of collaborative work more efficient. We encourage you to use these features to maximize the value of your community both to your users and your colleagues. Join me on a webcast on February 4th at 11 am PT/2 pm ET to learn more and have your questions answered.