B2B Chat - Beneficial or Problematic?
By Joe G on Apr 17, 2008
I'm sure that most of you use some sort of Instant Messaging or Chat application. Personally, I have three.....AOL, Yahoo! and our internal Oracle one. I use AOL & Yahoo! for friends (luckily, most of my friends use two or more, so I don't have to create and MSN account), and I use the Oracle app for co-workers.
When I have a question for a co-worker, I usually just ping them via chat: 1-because I can multi-task and 2-for quick questions, it usually takes less time to get an answer than with email or phone (conversation often leads to digression).
However, for customer and partner interactions, I (and most of us in our group) still use email and conference calls. I believe conversations with customers are more formal and usually requires more than one person at a time - while chat seems (true?) to be much more informal and is typically one-on-one.
Several consumer software sites offer chat support from their website as an option to call desk, and my question is does this apply to financial operations as well? Would you want your collector to be able to IM a customer's payables clerk to answer a quick question regarding a past due invoice? Would you allow your payables clerk to accept IM inquiries regarding payments and invoices from your suppliers?
I'm of two minds. On one hand, it could be really quick to get an answer to your question, but on the other, it may become too disruptive for your staff to handle chats with all of your trading partners. What are your thoughts? Is B2B chat the future of financial operations, or will it distract from the goals of your finance department?