New Features- Enhanced To Do features

We recently had a request from a client to add some elements to our To Do feature list.

The suggested features made sense to us and we thought they should have universal appeal, so we added them. Here they are.

In the To Do detail screen, we added “creator” field, which default to person creating ToDo.

We also added email notifications, which will update both the assigned technician and the creator when the status has changed or if someone has added notes.

We explanded the notes field.

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In the Manage ToDo screen, we added the ability to export to Excel, the ability to move items up or down in the list to change priority, and we added the status field.

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That’s it for now! Check back soon for more updates.

 

Slack Integration

Real Scheduler now offers Slack integrations. For those not yet aware of what Slack is, it is an awesome communication tool that allows people (and bots) to communicate with each other about what is going on. But it is so much more than that. People, Teams, and Companies that start using Slack come to love it for its power and effectiveness in the workplace. It is a phenomenal tool that we feel will leave email in the dust.

Real Scheduler can be set up to post all sorts of important events to your Slack channels. Here we will show you an example of how it can work.

A field tech changes a job status to “closed”:

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 10.31.25 PM

 

As soon as the status is changed, the staff in the office (or whoever in your organization that is set to receive the listening channel in Slack) sees the Slack feed:

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The implementations we offer can include features that take advantage of Slack’s power, including messages about techs running late (that can be conveyed to the client), a tech’s current location (can be triggered when they are on site or when they are not where they are supposed to be), alerts about equipment needing maintenance, or any messages that need to be conveyed by Real Scheduler.

For those who have not yet tried Slack, we highly recommend it as a productivity tool.

 

Working with Work Orders

Some jobs need to be tied to specific work orders. This post explains the basics for creating a Work Order and adding appointments to it.

1. Go to Work Order tab. You will see the current set of work orders that will look something like this:

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 6.05.54 PM

 

2. To add a new Work Order, click “Add Work Order” link just below the tabs. You will see a form that will allow you to enter the details for that Work Order like this:

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 6.08.06 PM

 

3. If the client is an existing client, enter their name in the Company field. It will auto-complete for you and populate the rest of the fields with their data.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 6.09.38 PM

 

4. Once the details of the Work Order are entered, including any notes, you can start adding appointments for this Work Order. The grid on the right called Events has a calendar icon above it which you can click to add an event:

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 6.11.40 PM

 

5. Those events will now show up in the calendar and can be assigned to one or more techs.

 

Send Confirmation, Follow Up and other emails from Eveent Detail Screen

Previously the only email that could be used directly from within the Event Detail screen was the confirmation email, which, when set by the user, was destined to be sent a chosen number of minutes, hours, or days prior to an upcoming event. But there are of course many cases where one wants to send a confirmation right away (for example after having just discussed the appointment with the client), and of course there are other situations where one wants to send, from within Event Detail, emails other than confirmations.

At the bottom of the screen there is a drop down which allows users to choose the type of email to be sent. Next to that is the Send button. By choosing the type of email in the drop down and clicking Send, the user is then shown the email they are going to send, having a chance to edit it before finally sending.

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Click to Add Service

We have just added a new (and simpler) way to add a service entry to the service grid in the Event page.

Instead of the somewhat cumbersome method we had previously, which was to first choose the service type to add and then click the big green “+” button to the left of the service grid, we now let you add an entry with just one click, by clicking in the next available row in the service grid.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 5.40.31 PM

Now, any time you are in the Event Detail page, you can click into the service grid on the next available line to add a service, rather than going through the 2 or 3 step process of using the buttons and drop down outside the grid and then clicking in the grid to edit.

We are always striving to make the app even simpler than it is- and we think it is already, in most cases, pretty straightforward. If you are finding some part of the app needlessly complicated and think there is a better, simpler way, please let us know in the comments section. We are all ears.

 

To Do Feature added

We have added a feature which we have been eager to add for a while- the to-do feature.

I think for any event-scheduling system, the ability to add a to do is essential. Sometimes we have a job we want to do for a client but we cannot schedule it. It becomes a to do. When we are able to schedule that to do, we want to be able to put it on our calendar. Then it becomes an appointment (in RS we simply call these events- more on why that is in another post).

For now we have a simple to do list, a way to add new to dos, and a way to convert a to do into a time-based event (an appointment).

Here’s how it works now.

1. When we log in to Real Scheduler, we are always directed to the calendar screen where we can review, edit and add our appointments for that week. We have added to the list of options on that screen, New to Do and Manage to Dos, to the right of Manage Events and Calendar links.

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2. To review the current To Dos, we click on the Manage To Dos link. This brings us to a screen very similar to the Manage Events screen, but with To Do rather than Event information listed.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.45.48 AM

3. As expected, we can sort and filter this list as we can any other list in Real Scheduler. We also have the familiar Edit button next to each row.

4. When we click on the edit button we get a detailed view of this To Do. Like a simplified version of the Event Detail screen. Here we can edit it. We can also convert it to an event.

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.54.57 AM

5. Converting the To Do into an event is simple- we just click the “Convert to Event” button on the To Do detail screen. In this case we would get:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.55.29 AM

Viola! We have added an event and can move on, right? Hold on. We have to make sure the date and time are what we want. A To Do that has been converted to an event defaults the data and time to today’s date and the next half hour. Usually we can to change this- unless we have just completed a To Do and we are using this as a way of marking that job done.

So we would normally change the date and time here just as we would any event, then save or go back to the calendar.

6. Creating a new To Do.

A new To Do is just as easy to create as a new event from the calendar page- just click the New To Do link and you are in the familiar-looking Quick event style pop up. Just enter the client (there does not have to be one, this can be a To Do without a client and be converted into an  Event without a client.

When you close that pop up the To Do it saved.

Our next improvement on this feature is to have a way- without annoying the user, to remind the user that they have some pending To Dos. This will have to mean we will add Due By fields to the To Dos, and perhaps have a message when the user logs in that they have upcoming or overdue To Dos.

 

 

 

New Filters in Company Grid and email feature for contacting old customers

We recently updated the existing list of filters for the company grid, to include filters for “last event”. This is particularly useful for looking up customers or clients who you have done service for in the past, but have not seen recently. Reconnecting with customers, even those without an immediate need for your services, is quite a valuable tool in generating more business.

There are two parts to the feature, and they work together. One is the filter itself, which lets you see a list of customers who you have not seen within a certain time frame, or have only last seen before a certain date. The other feature is a mail button that allows you to email each customer on the filtered list with an email indicating the last time you have seen them, and any other custom letter info you want to include.

The grid, showing the drop down of available filters:

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And the pre-populated email screen invoked by clicking the green mail icon:

email

 

In a later post I will explain the email template system in detail. This allows users to create their own custom email templates for various common emails like follow-up, introduction, service reminder, invoice reminder, etc.

 

Subtracting is Adding

As stated in an earlier post, we think subtracting rather than adding is preferable when it comes to user interface design. Today we added value by subtracting a feature. The feature was that the user had to click a check box next to the email reminders on the event detail screen in order to activate the reminders. Quite frankly I am not sure why we ever required this. It may have been as a precaution so that the user was not inadvertently spamming the customer, but that would only be the case if somehow hundreds of records were set with reminders.  In any case we are still testing this subtraction, and as long as the cron jobs function, it has been working. It should be released into the live version within a week.

reminder2                                                                             reminder1

 

Above is ye olde busy interface (a detail of the event screen, showing the reminders), and below that is the new, cleaner and less clicky version.

The email templates, which are created by the user, are accessible under the Admin tab. Using merge fields, a sample letter can be created. Once created, these email templates will show in the drop down selection next to each reminder, and different reminders can be selected depending on whether the email is going to the customer or the tech.

letter

 

Adding components

With Real Scheduler, there has always been the ability to add equipment, edit equipment or otherwise manage equipment at a client’s location. When a service job is entered, it can be associated with that equipment. Now we have added the ability to install, remove, edit and manage components installed on equipment. Examples of equipment might be PCs, engines, instruments and so on. Components installed might be RAM (on a PC), Supercharger (on an engine), Keyboard (on a piano); you get the picture. Just like equipment, component information is kept track of, including date installed, make, brand, capacity, condition, etc.

equipmentdetail

 

Here we have the equipment detail screen, with the event and components associated with the equipment in familiar grids.

When adding a component to equipment, a pop up opens, and allows the user to either add components that are already recorded, or to add a new component on the fly.

addcomponent

 

The drop down list that appears using auto-complete, shows only equipment that was marked for “use as component” when it was created. By default, components that are added on the fly using the Add Component pop up are marked as “use for component”.

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A component can be added to a component which is installed on equipment. There is currently no limit to the number of layers of installations.