Some companies produce upwards of fifty different document types per customer. Even with a clientele of average size, it’s pretty obvious that businesses might have a hard time with template management.
50 document types x 100 customer = 5,000 templates.
That sounds like a lot, and it is. But there are ways to scale these projects for even the most expansive customer bases. The right strategy here is really the simple one: aggregate your data, template components, conditional template rules, and all other customer communication faculties into one platform, then implement some consistent best practices, such as:
Develop a Naming Schema
The naming of things is your first step to organization. Defining categories turns a pile of scraps into a toolbox. Classifying your document types can even help you to classify customers, and deliver the communications that best suit them. You should develop, publish, and adhere to a naming schema for your templates, to know what you have.
Your naming schema might follow this pattern, for example:
YYYY-MM-DD – Type of Template – Purpose of Template
This will allow you to sort your templates by year, and keep them organized in neat groupings. A file named this way could be something like
2017-02-15 – Monthly Invoices – Richard Maples Policy 5763b
If you want to get really fancy, you can develop a code for each type of content, such as IV for Invoices and MB for Monthly Bill. If you put the code or the type of content first in the name, then you will have your templates grounded by type. An example of this might be
IV-2017-02 – Richard Maples Policy 5763b.
Don’t leave yourself vulnerable to mass confusion, miscommunication, and data loss.
Redundancy is one of the most common issues faced in template management. Often so many templates have been created over time that companies simply ignore whatever duplicates are lingering. Sometimes it’s hard to know which version of the template is the most updated, and which needs to be deleted. Using folders to group similar templates or categories of templates give you the ability to distinguish latest versions from dated ones, duplicates from similar ones, and organize them accordingly.
An all-in-one platform lets you update the branding for the entirety of your template library through a master template. The idea here is to give you no need to parse, so the old branding isn’t mixed in with the new. From one place, change the colors, logos, and letters – even formatting details – of everything you send out. That’s the icing on the cake when it comes to delivering a unified company message, ensuring your brand is one thing and not fifty different things.
Customer information and preferences change with time, so while you want a master template that allows for uniform edits throughout your communications, you also want the option for communications that are highly responsive to change on an individual basis. Functions can be added to interactive documents to track customer information, so users can adjust certain elements at moment’s notice.
Try implementing these best practices and see if that doesn’t cut down on your template headache. Implementing an all-in-one Customer Communications Management solution, such as the Ecrion Omni System (EOS), can help you shortcut your way to a clean, organized customer communications system. Let us know how we can help! Contact us at 866-418-3838 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.