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How I Communicate It: Onboarding a New Client

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Credit: istockphoto.com/golero

Editor’s Note: Rachel Morgan is the director of marketing for Dot It Restaurant Fulfillment, a specialized restaurant distributor headquartered in Arlington, Texas. The company strives to make restaurant life easy for owners and operators. Dot It caters to medium-to-large restaurant chains and provides clients with a purchasing and marketing solution for their restaurant supply and custom print needs. Morgan leads the marketing team and oversees strategies and initiatives related to SEO and website performance, email marketing, paid search, content marketing, event marketing, video marketing and product development. Here, she shares how the company communicates during the onboarding of a new client.

We recently had to onboard a new client, and that requires a lot of different touchpoints between internal departments, employees and the client. The most recent client was a large burger chain with around 200 locations.

As a company, we fulfill all the branded products for different restaurant chains, so we need to coordinate with the restaurant to get products, pricing and a branded web portal for them. We need to source all the material and get them into our warehousing system. We prepare a lot of educational materials. And we work to get their products sent out to all their individual stores. So there are a lot of moving parts.

Our onboarding process starts as soon as the client signs the contract. We start by having an internal kickoff meeting where all the key stakeholders come together in the same room and discuss the specific details in the contract.

Once that meeting is complete, we begin the onboarding process using our project management tool. We use cloud-based collaboration and project management software. We have templates for onboarding already set up, so we just duplicate them for our new clients. All of the tasks that need to be completed for a successful onboard are listed in the template. The project is already timelined in the software, so everyone working on this onboarding, from all different departments, can see what step everyone is working on and when it is completed. Once a task is completed, a notification is sent to the person who is assigned to the next task so that they can get started.

Before we adopted this project management tool, everyone was working off just email, so it made it hard for everyone to know how other departments were accomplishing their tasks. Things fell through the cracks more frequently. It has really helped everyone stay on the same page, across all departments. By the end of the onboarding, seven different departments will have their hands on the project, with anywhere from 10 to 15 people working either in tandem or one after the other.

“I had prepared responses to the most common objections employees might have, so I had a response ready as objections arose.” —Rachel Morgan, director of marketing for Dot It Restaurant Fulfillment

We began using this tool five or six months ago, and at the beginning, there was some pushback from internal employees who were reluctant to adopt a new tool. To combat this, I held group, department and individual training sessions to demonstrate how to use the tool, provided best practices and offered support video resources. I also had prepared responses to the most common objections employees might have, so I had a response ready as objections arose. The results overall have been positive, and transparency between departments has improved.

—As told to Michael Tomko

Michael Tomko

Michael Tomko is a freelance writer.

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