At IWCO Direct we know moving a direct mail program to a new vendor can be a challenging process. There’s a lot of work that goes into any program, and understanding that program and translating it into tangible results can be tricky, especially as part of a new partnership.
To help relieve some of the stress that comes with a new business relationship, we have built an entire process around customer integration and onboarding. There are questionnaire documents to review, standard meetings and a single person responsible for the outcome. We work very hard to gather and understand all program details even before we receive the art and data files. We understand that requirements will always be discovered along the way, but we try to eliminate as many surprises as possible.
Customers can also help create a smooth transition by following these three simple guidelines:
Ask questions about deadlines and processes, so that you can be prepared and in the know about your project. And don’t be embarrassed to ask—there are no dumb questions. We want you to feel comfortable in sharing your concerns and trusting us with your campaign.
If you’re new to direct mail, consider taking a course in our Education Center to get your bearings on how direct mail works and can be used to your greatest advantage.
Many customers take for granted the “tribal knowledge” their suppliers have about their business. Sometimes a program was managed by multiple people at multiple organizations with little thought for documentation. They don’t think about all the intricacies that “just happen.” These details can be overlooked and not remembered until they are stumbled upon during live production, which has the potential of causing additional cost or delay.
Allow time to ensure this “tribal knowledge” is communicated and understood. “Getting it right” is most important in every program we manage, but especially true during onboarding new customers or programs. Adding even a few hours (or a test project) to the schedule is well worth consideration to avoid rework and frustration later.
No piece of information is too small – something that may seem simple to you may be significant to someone else.
The biggest key to successful onboarding new customers or programs is to communicate early and often. A standing meeting on the calendar, daily or more frequently during critical times, allows all interested parties to understand program status and offer input.
Communication allows a process to go smoothly and helps avoid hiccups that can occur along the way. Without it, frustration can mount quickly, and projects can take more time than they need to in order to be done correctly.
Every project is unique and each of our customers has different expectations and methods of conducting business. But onboarding doesn’t have to be a stressful situation. Asking questions, sharing information and communicating are key to ensuring both partners are on the same page and meeting everyone’s expectations.