The intranet has progressed at a rapid rate over the past decade and new digital workplaces operate in a totally different way from how they functioned even five years ago.
Modern intranets of today enable team members to easily share information, communicate, collaborate, and work productively. However, some businesses are still stuck in the past by failing to get on board the technology revolution by installing a company intranet. One of the main features that they are lacking is the ease and convenience of using intranet forums.
The history of intranet forums
When the intranet first began gaining popularity, intranet discussion forums were popular among users who wanted to find out how to troubleshoot common technical problems. Over time, these forums transitioned into social, conversational platforms where users could share ideas and chat about almost anything.
Then, with the onset of texting, social media, and other sharing platforms, the use of forums declined somewhat, becoming more of a niche area for small communities to interact about more specific topics.
Today, the use of discussion forums is gaining prominence again, particularly in the business world where the intranet has transformed the workplace. These intranet forums have become crucial in giving companies an edge over rivals who are less technologically advanced.
What are the benefits of intranet forums?
Improve content creation capabilities
All businesses need to create relevant content, whether that’s to provide information to existing customers or to attract new ones.
Intranet forums help your teams streamline the content creation process, by giving them an arena for discussing new avenues for generating ideas. Staff from across the company – not just those in marketing – can add forum posts, which will encourage new ways of thinking and offer different perspectives for interesting content.
Provide better customer support
The primary way of remaining successful as a business is to keep your customers happy. This means not only providing great products or services, but also offering a similarly high standard of after-sales care.
As a result of poor customer service, businesses can find themselves falling behind competitors. For some, the reason is that they don’t provide suitable customer service tools for their employees’ use.
Your customer support team can benefit greatly from an effective intranet forum, where they can discuss ideas for resolving common problems, get help from escalation managers, and share tips for customer success.
Carry out improved market research
Market research is vital to any business’s success, but some clients can find it intrusive and don’t want to be bothered completing endless questionnaires or responding to a pop-up box asking them to take a survey.
Far better is to gain customer feedback by approaching the task in a subtler way. For example, create a gateway for market research by providing customers access to an intranet forum that’s dedicated to customer insights – and you can do this using extranet software.
You can provide customers with login details to securely access your extranet forum, where they can post feedback, share product suggestions, or ask questions.
In this way, your teams can learn valuable insights into what clients are looking for, or what they don’t like. This is a far more cost-effective – and meaningful – way of carrying out market research.
Improve ongoing customer success
Clients appreciate the personal approach from companies they work with. Ultimately, they wish to feel valued.
One of the biggest complaints from customers is when they try to ring a business, they’re left on hold for 20 minutes listening to “elevator music” or a recorded message. Nothing is more frustrating!
Instead, offer customers an intranet forum to make it easier for them to get in touch. Indeed, when organisations go the extra mile by offering personal responses – rather than automated messages – it shows they care.
Provide community-based support
Even with the best customer service, some organisations may find customers sometimes wish to turn to their peers for answers. This can have a positive effect on customer retention, because it provides an extra level of support for clients who are in need of help.
Customers who are knowledgeable about your services and products often enjoy giving others information and advice. Your customer support team can also moderate discussions and escalate any urgent issues to a member of staff.
Boost project management
Intranet discussion forums provide a massive boost for project management, promoting a company culture where employees openly communicate and collaborate on current projects. Employees who feel empowered to collaborate are often the ones who come up with fresh and innovative ideas.
Intranet forums also provide a searchable knowledge base for locating useful information at a later date, which will be valuable for newer members of staff.