This month we’re all about collaboration, and I absolutely love using the comments feature in Aisle Planner to collaborate with my clients and team members. For me, it’s my absolute favorite feature for keeping clients in the loop, organized and on track. Today, then, I wanted to share with you how to effectively use comments for collaboration. So say goodbye to rifling through old emails and text streams–and say hello to all that extra time you’ll have on your hands.
Why Use Comments
- Using Aisle Planner’s comments feature allows you to easily track your conversations and client responses–helping to avoid any miscommunications or misremembering down the road. It’s all documented for you, in one easy-to-access place.
- Comments are attached to their relevant topic, so you know right where a conversation is documented. If you want to access a conversation you had with a client about catering, for example, you’ll simply head to that vendor record in your AP account (rather than having to search through old emails or text streams).
- Using comments helps you cut-down on email-overload. Rather than being stored in multiple emails, your conversations are all housed under their relevant topic in your Aisle Planner account.
How Comments Work
- When you make a comment anywhere in the system, your client receives an email notification that includes that comment. Our favorite part? They don’t have to login to Aisle Planner to respond. Clients can respond directly to the email, and their response will be posted to the comment thread in your Aisle Planner account.
- There are currently three areas in Aisle Planner that allow for comments: checklist items, images in the design studio, and within each vendor/contact record. Below is a breakdown of how to properly use each:
Comments on Checklist items
I primarily utilize the checklist comment streams to help guide and drive planning, for overall client communications, and to direct clients to other areas of Aisle Planner if needed. I’ve essentially stopped using email to communicate with clients regarding day-to-day tasks, as comments in the checklist are so much easier to reference. I also really love that checklist comments help to keep my conversations documented and organized by topic.
Example 1: Use Checklist Comments to Encourage Clients to Complete Tasks:
I’ll include a checklist item that says something along the lines of: “Visit the notes tool and complete the playlist worksheet” and assign that checklist item to the bride. She will then be notified that she has some homework to do, and will be directed to the right location to complete that task. I’ll usually add a comment beneath that checklist item that says something like, “Hey, Bethany, the playlist will be a fun project for you and Will to work on together. You have a few months to work on this, but go ahead and check this to-do off when your list is complete!”
Example 2: Use Checklist Comments To Introduce Clients To New Tasks:
For example, I’ll have a checklist item that says “Purchase Wedding Insurance.” Then, I’ll add a comment to that item asking the client if they’re interested in learning more about insurance. If they respond that they aren’t interested in purchasing wedding insurance, I simply mark the checklist item as complete. If, on the other hand, they say they would like to learn more, I’ll add relevant info into that comment stream. And the conversation will naturally progress from there–all in one place.
Example 3: Use Checklist Comments in Place of Emails:
Let’s say you have a checklist item that reads, “Review venue options.” Rather than sending an email to a client regarding their venue list and to-do’s, simply add a comment to that item (writing it up just as you would an email). Introduce the venues and direct them to the venue images you’ve added into the style guides within the Design Studio. This way, your venue conversation is documented and organized in one easy-to-access place.
Example 4: Use Checklist Comments to Follow Up on Assigned Tasks:
Comment on checklist items to get an update from your clients on the status of that task. For example, on the “Finalize Bridesmaids Dresses” task, I’ll write something like, “Hi, Bethany! Just thought I’d check in to see how things are going with choosing bridesmaids dresses! Can’t wait to see the official dress!”
Comments on Images in the Design Studio
To discuss certain images or to bring attention to an image that you’ve uploaded into a style guide, simply add a comment to that image. Your clients will then receive a comment notification via email, along with the image you commented on (so all of the information they need is in the email–ensuring they don’t have to login to their Aisle Planner account unless they’d like to).
Example: Use Image Comments to Encourage Conversation About Design Choices:
Create a style guide titled “Layout Design” and upload a preliminary layout. Add a comment that introduces the layout to your client and provides any relevant information. Be sure to end with a call to action so your clients know what to do next. (For example, ask that they that respond with feedback on their likes and dislikes.)
Comments on Contacts/Vendor Records
Once you’ve created a vendor record in the contacts tool of an event, you’ll be able to start a discussion with your clients about that vendor.
Example 1: Use Vendor Comments to Introduce a Vendor:
Comment on the record of a specific vendor you’re recommending with some basic introductory information, allowing your clients to get a feel for the vendor and to reply with their thoughts.
Example 2: Use Vendor Comments to Assign Contract/Paperwork-Related Tasks To Clients:
When I upload a file to a vendor record in the contacts section of an event, I’ll also add a comment explaining to clients what the file is and what I need them to do with it (i.e. review for approval, let me know if there’s anything that needs to be changed, confirm change requests, share feedback, print and sign, etc.). Including a call to action (CTA) is crucial to keeping the planning process moving forward, and the vendor records section is a perfect place to include paperwork- and contract-related CTAs.
Example 3: Keep Clients in the Loop About Progress With Specific Vendors
Since you’ll be doing the majority of communication with vendors, this is a great place to relay that information to clients. A simple “Spoke with ABC Catering today! They’re all set with the main menu. Now they’re just making some final tweaks to the dessert table” is a great way to keep clients informed and in the loop, without oversharing or clogging up your inbox.
Overall Tips for Using Comments
- Teach your clients to respond directly via email. Let them know they don’t have to bother logging into their Aisle Planner account to respond to a comment if they don’t want to.
- Be sure to include a Call To Action (CTA) with each comment. (I.e. Let them know what it is they need to do.) I like to end each comment with a CTA.
- It’s super important to document client approvals/change requests for future reference to avoid any issues down the road. Even if your clients have provided verbal approvals, add a comment in the relevant area that recaps their approval/change request. You want everything documented–and the comments feature is the perfect tool for doing so.
- Comments on “Planner Only” checklists will only be visible to your organization members, and only those members will receive notifications regarding comments on those checklists–making those areas a perfect place to utilize comments for internal communications. (The same goes for planner-only style guides and any tools that are still in planner prep mode)
- Comment notifications are also based on individual user settings, so if the mother of the bride doesn’t have permission to access vendors, she won’t receive notifications regarding comments left on vendor records.
- Every now and then, I’ll have clients who are too tech averse (or simply too busy) to log into Aisle Planner on a regular basis. That’s totally fine–I’ll schedule regular check-ins and manage the details on my end, marking tasks off once the client has completed them. In other words, even if I can’t get clients to log into Aisle Planner regularly, I can at least make the most of comments section for myself and my team. Comments can act as internal reminders and status updates.
- Browse this quick FAQ for more information on client communication within Aisle Planner.
Keep in mind that Aisle Planner will be implementing even more ways to collaborate and communicate on our platform in the future, but the comments feature is a great place to start documenting conversations, approvals and change requests. By keeping all communication within Aisle Planner (and not in stray emails or text streams), you’ll find that you save tons of time in the future when it comes time to reference an old conversation or look up a past change request. And, with all of that extra time you may just be able to enjoy an extra glass of wine or two at the end of your work week. (You’re welcome.) So, cheers, Aisle Planners, to your best year yet in collaboration!