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About This Episode
By 2021, 25-30% of the workforce will (still) be working from home multiple days a week.
Remote work isn’t going away anytime soon.
I recently had a chance to ask Rob Falcone, Sr. Director of Sales Engineering and Strategy at Guru and author of Just F*ing Demo!, about collecting and spreading information through your org… virtually.
Rob used to sell replica Oakleys, and here’s what he learned: “Even today as a B2B seller, the idea of figuring out what your customer wants and delivering an experience that matches their expectation — I’d say I carried that with me.”
Let’s talk about disseminating information effectively and efficiently when we’re all working from home.
How to serve up info in your org
Before we discuss the problem, just try to digest these facts:
- There used to be 35K messages on Slack a day, but those have jumped to 60K (meaning 25K in-person conversations aren’t happening anymore)
- The pandemic workday is 48 minutes longer than a pre-pandemic day in the office
- People are answering the same set of questions 20+ times a day
- Workers are using 5-6 apps at any given time
All that time you were commuting?
“Now you’re spending that extra time figuring out how to overcome things that weren’t necessarily a challenge when there was a physical space,” Rob said.
To get back to the juggling of 5-6 apps, anytime you need to leave the app, you’re automatically frazzled.
I mean, how many times have you searched for information and decided to just ping someone on Slack… who isn’t sure of the answer and asks someone else… until it gets back to the originator of the info who has answered this question 10 times this week already…
3 keys to providing info virtually
1. Provide needed information in the various apps
Let’s just make it so that we don’t have to switch between apps, all right? The info we need is duplicated across all the company apps.
2. Make it easy for experts to keep up to date
If proverbial IT Pete has an update, he should know exactly how and where to let people know about it.
Or with a new hire, you’re either spending 2 hours/day with that person or 10 min/week making the info channel current.
3. Streamline information within the apps
There’s so much information that we’re being inundated with that we need to be able to push through the app noise.
As in, someone is trying to submit an expense report and either a) panics about what is and isn’t allowed or b) can access the step by step instructions on how to fill out and what to include in the report.
“I always recommend: Information in every system, make it easy for the experts to keep up to date, and then push things out to people where they are,” Rob said.
Where to start improving your process
So, you’re convinced that you need to improve how you spread information, but you have no idea how to get started.
“Go and audit how it’s happening right now,” Rob said.
Once upon a time, a panicking employee could just walk over to someone’s desk. Well, now it’s happening digitally in front of everyone.
Pay attention to what questions are being asked, to whom, how often, and on what apps.
A single question about a feature from a customer to a rep can involve:
- The whole sales channel in Slack
- Customer success
- The guy who built the feature (“Pete” in IT)
Add in time zones, conflicting information, and waiting for the right answer, and now the rep is super stressed and isolated.
“When you audit how it’s actually happening, then the question becomes ‘How do we make it easier for Pete to capture that information and make it reusable in a way that scales?’” Rob said.
It would be easier on the rep, quieter on the app channel, and faster for Pete to update the info periodically when relevant.
Why you need to audit:
A recent poll at a company showed that 28% of support agents said they shared wrong information with customers in the last two weeks.
The correct information from experts wasn’t findable when they needed it.
Who should “own” the information
“It’s more than one person or one team,” Rob said.
- Product for product information
- Security for security information
- HR for policies
- Internal comms teams support for FAQ
- Sales and sales enablement for sales processes
The amount of information that any one person at a company needs doesn’t come from just one source — but from all these different experts.
One person can’t be responsible for all that information…
But probably one person per topic or process could.
Rob said that recently at Guru his team designated the most senior person on inbound chat to be officially tasked with updating the chat guides.
“This one person is now empowered to own that specific process and every so often make sure that it’s changed and up to date,” he explained.
Rob’s 3 takeaways
- Audit your communications from this week.
- Democratize information that people are seeking.
- Save information in accessible places in each app.
“It’s going to make everyone more efficient and really reduce that noise for everyone,” Rob said.
Get in touch with Rob about remote work life at LinkedIn.