If you’ve ever had a user say “Oh, you didn’t tell me about this feature or change…..” or the dreaded “I didn’t read that email.”, this post is for you! In this post, I’m combining all my years of experience both as a teacher and as the solo admin of an org with around 300 users (a lot of people to circulate information to!).
In this post, I’ll be sharing 7 (plus) tips with you, that show what I have found are the most effective and scalable communication methods. With these, you can to make sure you’re providing value as the Administrator because users always have what they need to be successful in your org.
Tip 1: Know your Communication Style
As a Salesforce Admin, knowing your own communication style is critically important, as you are the bridge between the users and the technology. Do you prefer verbal in-person training? Do you get too verbose in emails? (Guilty!) Or maybe you prefer emails because you get nervous in person.
Since you are responsible for providing your users with updates about the latest changes to your Salesforce org, you must remember your target audience when doing so (time to be a marketer!) and what information they need. Your communication style, however, isn’t a setting you can ‘switch on’ in Salesforce – it’s a style you need to get used to communicating in, personally. Take some time to really think about your strengths and weaknesses in communication. Ask some of your peers for feedback on what you have done so far. All of your announcements should be proofread by a few people: yourself, a power user, and someone who is the opposite of a power user, or maybe the person who requested the change. These people will help you fine tune your own communication style over time, which will, in turn, help your end users get the most out of Salesforce.
Tip 2: Ditch the Jargon
Bad Update: “There is a new custom formula field on the Contact object displaying Account Tier.”
Why is it bad? Two reasons:
- There are two technical phrases in there – ‘custom formula field’ and ‘Contact object’ As a user, I most likely don’t know what an object is, and I certainly don’t know what a custom formula field is!
- It doesn’t say anything to me personally, as an end user. I probably will think, “So, what do I care?” Your message is most likely going to be ignored, and your users will assume that you are not doing anything to help them.
The Good Update: “Before this enhancement, if you wanted to know what Account Tier a Contact person was on, you had to click on the Account Name, then find the field and look at it. We know that was frustrating and time-consuming. But as of today, you can now look directly below the person’s name on the Contact page, and see their Account Tier!”
Here’s a checklist to follow when communicating with your users:
- State the problem/issue you are fixing
- Acknowledge it’s a problem
- State your solution (in non-Salesforce terms)
- Provide a visual of the solution
- Offer additional support (on a per-communication basis, always end with “For further assistance, check our our Training Library here, or reach out to your Administrator here”)
Tip 3: Make a Salesforce Admin Chatter Group (or two!)
By creating a Chatter group, you create a method for important news and announcements to be delivered directly via Salesforce. You also give your users an immediate and easy way to contact you for assistance, directly on the record where they need help.
If you have a team of Salesforce Admins, Junior Admins, or Developers, an Admins Chatter group can be very helpful.
Tip 4: Make a Salesforce News Homepage Component
But let’s be brutally honest here – it’s almost as easy to ignore Chatter as it is to ignore an email.
By adding a News component directly to your homepage as well, you make sure that your users will see the latest announcements, and any communication you need to provide, right on top of their Home page. In this example, my users are new to Lightning UI, so I’m welcoming them and directing them to a self guided training resource, as well as providing important upcoming dates.
You can add a rich-tech component to any object in lighting. Do you have an important update specifically for your SDR/BDR team, about Leads? Consider adding it directly to the Lead object.
Tip 5: Default Text values and Help Bubbles
Help Bubbles are one of the most neglected features of Salesforce. But they have a pretty small character limit, and you might want to put some examples for your users. Setting a default value in your text fields can clearly show to your users what type of data you expect to see, and when it needs to be filled out.
Tip 6: Formula Fields
Formula fields aren’t just for pulling data from one record to another, or calculating discounts! Sometimes you need to display some text for your users, that will never change and shouldn’t be edited. This is especially true if you have an org with a lot of new users, or frequent turnover, or some critical tribal knowledge. In this scenario, my call center team is located in a different time zone than my customer. I could put this information in a Help Bubble, but then I’d be relying on the end user to hover over that bubble, and read the info, making it more likely to be missed. By creating a formula field, I can display this information right near the phone number, without requiring extra steps by the user.
Tip 7: Dashboard Component Subtitles & Footers
There are actually three places on the Dashboard Component where you can add information for the end user: The Title, Header, and Footer. By adding explanatory information to the header and footer, you can preemptively answer the most common questions you get from your users, saving time (for you) and confusion (for them).
- Personalized Training Library: Create a personalized Training Library for your users, refer them to it, and add to it, often. Trailhead is a great resource, but it is not personalized to your company. Just having some screenshots that include your company name, or screenshots including custom fields referencing your products can make a big impact when training new users. For example, something as simple as “How to Convert a Lead” might be a very short lesson if you follow the standard Salesforce Training. But in your particular company, you might need a different set of fields populated, or maybe you have two different Sales teams that need to fill out different sets of information. Ask your users what they want training on!
- Be consistent: Once you’ve found which methods of communication stick better with your usr audience, update those channels as part of a routine. Post to your chatter group, update your home page component, and go ahead and send that email. Use your time wisely though, and send the same message on each format.
- Screenshots, screenshots, screenshots! Not everybody can read a long message and comprehend and use that information, not to mention there are potential language barriers! Screenshots will help your visual learners, and help to overcome any potential language issues.
- Know your target audience: If your update only applies to a specific group of people, send it to those people only. Don’t spam your busy sales team with updates the support team needs to close tickets faster.
- Create a monthly or quarterly “newsletter”: Provide updates on the Admin team, seasonal releases from Salesforce, or maybe some FAQ’s about your specific business processes in Salesforce. This is also a great place to add any highlights from Dreamforce or your local user group meetings. Be sure to call out all of the major enhancements that have happened, and updates on your Salesforce roadmap.
In short, there’s really no such thing as “too much” communication with your users. By providing detailed communication in a variety of formats, you provide your users with the tools and resources they need to be as successful as possible in your org. Give these tips a go, you may find a few stick better with your user audience than others.