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.

 

Add a Contact to a Company

In Real Scheduler, when we talk about “Contacts” we are just talking about people. People work at companies, whether there role is president or cafeteria worker, it can be important to have their information so that when your filed techs at on site, they know something about who works at that company. When you are in the Company detail screen and want to add a Contact, here are two ways to do that, depending on whether a record for that Contact already exists.

 

How to Add Equipment

Adding Equipment to a company is something we frequently would want to do if there is installed equipment at the company’s site that we wish to work on or maintain. Much of Real Scheduler is optimized for technicians who are performing on site maintenance, upgrades and installation of equipment of various kinds, so it is important that we make it simple to enter data for equipment. Once added to a company, that equipment is in their inventory, and events like service calls can be specific to that equipment. Here is how to add equipment to a company.

 

How to create an appointment in less than 5 seconds

Real Scheduler is known to be very fast and very simple to use. We pride ourselves on leading the industry with these two qualifying traits. Here is a video of how to create an appointment with a client in under 5 seconds. We are including the following actions in this order: 1. Click on calendar to open Quick Event pop up. 2. Start typing in name of client (cursor will already be in client field). 3. Click in type field to select appointment type (this also will default to your most common appointment type so in most cases you can skip this step). 4. Hit return key.

 

 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 7.13.43 AM

 

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.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 8.44.58 AM

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.

 

 

 

How to add an email template

One of the features offered by Real Scheduler is the ability to send reminder, follow up, and other emails to customers about upcoming or past appointments. These emails can be created using a template, and here I explain how to create an email template, and how to send emails using that template.

From any screen, click the Admin tab.

manageemail

Click on the Manage Email templates link (highlighted above).

You will then see all your email templates. By default, there are two basic email templates, Confirmation Email and Follow Up email.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 8.18.04 PM

We will be editing the Confirmation email here. Click on the edit button next to Confirmation Email. You should see a screen like this:

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 8.22.04 PM

Here you can edit the way the email is formatted to your liking, inserting special fields like <first_name>, <last_name>, <date>, <client_name>, <time>, <technician_name>, <technician_email>, and <technician_phone>, where appropriate.

The default template includes some of these “merge” fields already, so you can leave them there, delete some, or add some, as needed. Remember always to leave the “<” and “>” intact, as without those the field will not be populated.

Whatever data is in the field referenced will be populated into the email that is sent. For example, the letter:

Hello <client_name>:

Thank you for making an appointment with us!

You are confirmed for <date> at <time>.

Regards

<technician_name>
<technician_phone>

Will translate to:

Hello Susan Smith:

Thank you for making an appointment with us!

You are confirmed for 12/2/2015 at 10:00 AM.

Regards

Phil Warton
(415) 555-5555

Note: <first_name> and<last_name> refer to the client’s primary contact first and last names. The <client_name> field refers to the company name.

So go ahead and edit the template as needed by changing any of the wording, removing and adding form fields, and then clicking “Update the letter template” at the bottom of the screen.

It is good practice to send a couple of test emails using the template you just created before using it “in the field”.

To send an email, we need to use an appointment (most emails are sent in relation to an appointment).

In the calendar view (http://yourcompanyname.realscheduler.com/index.php/events) click on the appointment or create a new one and click “Edit Details”.

event

 

Edit Details is highlighted here.

Then you will be in the event details screen.

In the Event Details screen, after Technician reminder and Customer reminder, you will see a drop down of the type of email to send, followed by an empty field in which you can type a number, followed by the type of time unit. In the following image I have set a reminder for the technician for 2 hours prior to the event and a reminder to the client for 24 hours prior to the event.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 8.42.29 PM

Make sure for testing purposes that you have set the time increment appropriately so that you can see the emails are being sent on time. Once you have entered that information, click Update this Event. Note: if this is a test, do not use an actual event tied to one of your clients. It is best to set up a test client with an email address you can access to test.

Then look for the email reminder in the technician’s and the clients email.

You can add as many email templates as you need by going to Admin > Add Email Template.