Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How to SABWA When You're Not in the Same Location as Your Users

If you’ve heard Mike Gerholdt speak then you’ve heard him speak about SABWA, Salesforce Administration By Walking Around. I love this practice, but it got me thinking what if users aren’t in a location that’s in walking distance to you or what if you are a Salesforce Admin that works from home? Can you implement this practice? The answer is YES! I know this because I have done it and wanted to share a few tips. Over the past 11 years I have supported Salesforce end users in all 50 states and in over 30 countries. It’s so important as a Salesforce Admin to maintain a connection with your end users regardless of location and time zone, which is why being a SABWA admin, is such a great practice.

It is going to be even more important for us as Awesome Admins to SABWA as we start rolling out the new Lightning Experience to make sure we do this to make sure the new UI is working for our users and they know how to use it and know where to go to get their questions answered.

Here are some practices I have implemented to interact and connect with users not in the same location as me:


Hold Office Hours with a Tool that Allows for Screen Sharing and Video

I supported users in the Americas, EMEA and APAC it was sometimes really hard to support users in the other regions due to time zones, however I didn’t want the users in other time zones to feel left out so I setup weekly Office Hours meetings where the time rotated each week. For example the first Friday of every month office hours were held at 10 AM EST, the second Friday of every month Office Hours were held at 1 PM EST, Third at 4 PM EST and Fourth at 9 PM EST. Having the meeting at different times allowed users from all regions to be able to join easily.

I got to know so many users in so many different countries this way. I also always made sure to use video on my meetings so the users could put a face to the voice. It made it almost like I was there in their office helping them but I was in my office in New York City and even sometimes in my apartment.



Join Departmental Meetings

Pretty much every department has weekly or monthly meetings; so ask to join, even if it’s just to listen. It was great to understand what different departments were doing overall not just with Salesforce so I could keep that in mind when writing requirements or designing solutions. I was once on the Order Management and Finance Monthly Meeting and they were discussing how Order Management reps needed to manually enter some new information from the billing system on the Sales Order after they finished processing it. I heard some grumbling on the call about how manual it was going to be. I made a note to myself to talk to our integration developer about bringing this information over via our already existing integration between sales orders and our billing system. After discussing with our integration developer, we found that the data they were going to manually enter after completing a sales order was in a table we were already were connected to and we would just need to add fields to Salesforce and to the integration to bring them over, the estimate was less than a day of development work. Everyone including my VP and our Product Owner saw the value immediately and we put the story in the next sprint to get the integration updated.

I immediately called the business leads in finance and order management to let them know we could automate this data entry and we were going to put the story for the enhancement in the following sprint. They were so thrilled that this could be done. They didn’t think it could be, but they were very happy they were wrong. It was a great feeling to come to their next meeting and announce that they no longer had to enter the information manually that we were able to add this feature for them and save them about 1.5 minutes per order which would save order management about 300 minutes per week. This meant orders were being billed and fulfilled that much faster for our customers.

Random Calls to End Users

I regularly spoke to our product owner and business leads as part of our change management & agile processes, but sometimes even our business leads weren’t aware of issues or challenges with end users. I would block out an hour in my calendar every Wednesday and call 3-4 users randomly. It was a great way to get to know people and listen to their challenges. I can’t tell you how many times I would call an end user and because so much of the business was using Salesforce for their processes they would give me feedback I never even thought of. 

 I once called a Sales Rep that was frustrated that they didn’t have a clickable link to another system like they did for other systems which passed the account name so they didn’t have to copy paste or manually type, it would bring up the correct record(s) in the other system so they could easily find what they were looking for. I had no idea sales was even relying so heavily on this other system. When I reviewed this request during our Change Advisory Board meeting everyone realized how much time that could save sales. We had the new custom link out to the business users the following day.


Send Surveys

Many of us manage survey tools such as Get Feedback, Form Assembly or Clicktools within our Salesforce org to send to customers as part of the customer service process, but what about end users? This was a great way to get feedback from end users. We allowed the surveys to be anonymous if they chose, however, we required them to tell us what type of user they were so we could group the feedback by Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Legal, Sales Ops or Finance & Order Management.

We sent these out every other month to all of our end users and included a link to a survey form when we closed out cases so they could give us feedback on a particular issue or about anything in general.

Many features added to our backlog were because of these surveys. These surveys really showed our end users that we were listening. It was great to send our weekly release email and highlight the items that we released that were ideas from our end users.

I hope this helps some Awesome Admins out there who work remotely or sit in different offices from your end users that you can still SABWA without actually walking around. I would love to hear from you if you have implemented some things to work with end users you may not sit near.


As always, thank you for reading and I hope to see some of you at the Salesforce Tour in NYC on November 18th!



All the best!



Cheryl

6 comments:

  1. As always - great advice! Sometimes I wish I supported more users just so I can try these! :)

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  2. This is great, I am 100% remote so will use this!

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