We introduced Yammer at Carphone Warehouse a few months ago. If you’re not familiar with Yammer, it’s a bit like Twitter, but open only to people within a certain company – read more what it does here. We’re hoping it will help people in different parts of the business share knowledge and news more easily, and get them to answer each others’ questions when someone gets stuck.
More than 350 people from across the business have now signed up. Most of them work in our contact centres, but there’s also a healthy representation from our stores, operations teams, and senior management. The problem we’ve found is that while getting people to join is easy, getting them to actually log on and chat is more complicated. Ours is not a captive audience, and people are only going to get involved in conversations if they’re sure it will save them time and help solve their problems.
So recently we’ve been trying to demonstrate the usefulness of Yammer and encourage people to take the plunge and get involved. Here’s what we’ve done create a clamour for Yammer so far:
Word of mouth
This has been by far the most effective way of getting users on board. Initially we didn’t communicate the existence of Yammer through official channels at all – we just told a few people and let the message spread organically. No one likes to feel left out of something new, and a small but enthusiastic community was quickly built up.
Answering people’s questions
We’re selling Yammer as a place where people can find an answer quickly, which makes it important that someone responds when people do come on to ask something. Luckily our team (the Knowledge Management team) has good contacts throughout the business who can help provide these answers.
So we’ve made a big effort to have a constant presence on Yammer, pointing people in the right direction and generally keeping the conversation going. Though we don’t want this to be a permanent situation (Yammer is supposed to save time!) it’s been vital in kicking things off and selling the concept to sceptical first-timers.
Promoting the benefits
We’ve introduced a ‘Question (and answer) of the week’ section to the weekly newsletter we send out around the business. This shows people that Yammer can be useful, and encourages them to come on to post their own query. It’s been amazing how many new questions we get just after the newsletter goes out on a Wednesday afternoon!
Despite having a budget of nothing, we’ve also had success with organising silly competitions to get people involved. Our first competition encouraged people to post ‘interesting’ profile pictures to win an ‘interesting’ prize. Uploading a profile picture forces people to log on and look around, helps give a personality to a lot of faceless names, and removed the pressure for people to join a conversation right away.
Even though the first prize was just a Frisbee I found at the bottom of my desk, lots of people entered and more than 500 voted for their favourite picture. I’m not sure what our next competition will be yet, though the good people at @yammer have agreed to send us a prize. If you’ve got any ideas, please let me know.