Slugfest -Team blog, Team e-mail, or Team Wiki page?

So I feel honored that a friend of mine has asked me to help her leverage the web2.0 tools that we have in her work environment. I want this blog to focus on customer / team communications. I want to discuss the benefits of having a group or team communication channel, what options there are, and make a recommendation that they can use. I would love it if everyone that reads this would take a moment to share their thoughts or opinions.

Benefits of a customer to team account –

– There is one receiving location for questions related to work that anyone in the group may be able to answer. Since there are a number of people that may respond, the response time may go down which may improve customer satisfaction based on timeliness. The richness of the response may be greater when more people have the opportunity to weigh in on the topic at hand. You could think of it as a group response and by not using e-mail, selecting say a wiki or blog, there can be edits and modifications that make the response richer, and if chosen by the recipient, they can be notified of updates to the response beyond that of the original response.  If you choose a blog, you will need to make sure everyone in the group has admin privileges so that they can make edits to the responses. Additionally, you may want this information to be discoverable, search able, and retained for knowledge management. This means bringing it out of email silos and onto a platform that can meet those requirements. Once you make the decision to move it to a blog or wiki instead of email, then you get some of those benefits and some added flexability. Understand that email has its place, in short, use it for person to person conversations of a personal nature where you don’t want to expose that information to others. If it is work related, you should consider the group account.

Usage-

– Now we will need a notification system for when an email comes in. In email, that is pretty straight forward, in a blog, you will need to syndicate the reception feed and everyone will need to monitor that feed so that the awareness is high and response times are low. With RSS feeds, if you already have some set up, you can export your OPML file and share it with others so that they can import it and add it to their own. Or you can have a separate OPML file for the team that you want them to monitor. OPML files simply make sharing RSS feeds easier. In the case of a wiki, the notification system can be linked to your e-mail, or sometimes you wiki software may syndicate your changes so that you can monitor them with your RSS reader. Now having the question come to the team in one location (wiki or blog), needs to be linked to a threaded response so that you and they can choose to monitor that thread and not all questions and responses that come into or leave your team. You will want to link these blog or wiki entries together so that you can refer to all the other relevant blog or wiki entries. Your options here seem to be to set up a separate wiki page under the team page to address that customer and that they can watch, or direct them to a blog. I would think that sticking with one and not mixing the two would be easier then say receiving in a wiki and responding in a blog. I think I am most comfortable with wikis, so that would probably be my preference. In this case, I would receive a question on a wiki page that I direct customers too by including it in my signature. When they leave a question, I would create a response to that question as its own page, and establish links between the page I created and the reception page. Then in the response, link back to the reception area, and put together the response. Let the customer know where the response is and what options they have for viewing it, as well as getting updates for it. I would let them know they can choose to watch that page, respond to that page, or even edit that page. For this to work in a blog, I would have a common reception area, then start a blog in response to the customer, and both parties would monitor that blog with the appropriate links to other relevant blog entries.

E-mail –

– I have little experience with team e-mail accounts, so I would ask that people really fight for their ideas if they want to argue their points on the benefits of team e-mail accounts.  My immediate suggestions are that since they are not platforms, then your search engines may not be able to discover or search for information in that area, and it is not incorporated into the archive and backed up.

Recommendation –

– I vote for the wiki.

Implementation –

– Establish a mindset, explain what the team blog or wiki page is for, and how it should be used. I would mention that links are preferred to attachments, and that links between the receiving page and the customer thread be established and maintained. Monitor the activity and be ready and available for questions on specific issues as they arise. Work together as a group to figure out what you think is best, this may promote buy in by the individuals, and keep morale high.

Please leave your CONSTRUCTIVE comments below.

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