Travel Manager



A number of improvements have rolled out this morning based on feedback from a number of customers. They include:-

  • Ability to choose to generate quotes, invoices and confirmation letters in word format as well as PDF, so you can edit accordingly
  • Ability to add fuel costs to the mileage manager functionality
  • Improvements to the “Accept Quote” process to auto generate a job (so it shows up in the calendar) and then quickly create an invoice
  • Improvements to the “Quotes Accepted” but not yet invoiced process so that reports and graphics are easier to read
  • Improvements to the “Outstanding Invoices” report to also show “Quotes Accepted” but not yet invoiced
  • Improvements to the take deposits on Private Hire process and monitor the remaining payments

Next week we are focusing on a number of usability improvements across the application as well as starting the “Bulk Edit” functionality (we should be in a position to show screenshots within the next week)

Also, the User Manual is nearly completed and will be published within the next couple of days.

Reminder:

We believe that if we deliver a good quality product with good quality service we will be rewarded with good quality customers. We also believe in keeping our costs down, so we wont spend lots of money on expensive advertising or marketing. We much prefer to work through word of mouth referrals.

We have therefore, started a new referral system, where we will pay you £100 for each business which subscribes to a standard annual subscription to TravelManager. So if you refer 10 other businesses we will send you a cheque for £1000. It couldn’t be easier. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact me for more information or take a look at the terms.

Regards

Mike

p.s. We have customers from all sectors of the people transportation industry using our software from Chauffeurs, Private Hire, Minibus, Coach & Bus Operators and Community Transport initiatives. We rely on your feedback to make TravelManager the best it can be today and tomorrow – so keep the feedback coming icon smile Whats new this week?

This morning we rolled out a number of new pieces of functionality which ca be seen from within the Account Information section of MyAccount.

accouninfo.thumbnail SMS Alerting & VAT / Sales Tax updates

In the screenshot above (click on it to see a larger image) you can choose your “Out of Hours” / “SMS Alert” mobile number (See icon No. 1). This is the number that all SMS alerts get sent to .

You can then choose the times of the day where it is acceptable for you to receive an SMS alert (See icon No. 3). In this example we have chosen the times to be between 9am and 5pm.

Any quote which comes from your website using the online quoting widget will then alert you if it comes in between these times. If the quote comes in outside of these times then it is stored up and an SMS is sent the following day at the time set in the “Alert Time Period (Start)” field.

You continue to receive email alerts at the exact time that the quote is sent.

You can also now set your default VAT / Sales Tax rate (See icon 2) – which will be used on all Private Hire / Chauffeur quotes given. You can change these tax rates on each quote from hereon in – so work for charities or private hire work can be given a zero tax rate and chauffeur services can use the standard 17.5% VAT rate in the UK.

We have also made some cosmetic improvements to the quoting tool (on the “Create Quick Job” for now) which auto updates the quote price as the form is being filled in (See icon 1 in the screenshot below). We have also changed the layout of the journey times to accommodate the three main journey types (Single Trip, Return Trip where the vehicles comes back for the return pickup and Return Trip where the vehicle stays for the duration of the trip) – See icon 2 in the following screenshot.

Depending on which journey type you choose the time / date fields are accessible or not (See icon 3 in following screenshot)

new quote tool.thumbnail SMS Alerting & VAT / Sales Tax updates

We hope you enjoy these new features as much as we enjoyed developing them.

As always, if you need any help in using these new tools just give us a call on 01452 417 567 or drop me an email at mike@travel-manager.co.uk

Regards

Mike

This weekend we will be rolling out a number of improvements as requested by you the users.  They are:-

  • Ability to choose the VAT amount on work. eg. Charity work at 0% and 17.5% on chauffeur type jobs
  • Ability to move the roster forward for service contract a week at a time and copy the current week to next week
  • Ability to choose the invoice date as opposed to have it use the date the invoice is generated.
  • Conversion of all time formats to the 24hr clock
  • Add the quotes outstanding (ie. Quotes accepted but invoices not raised as yet) to the daily summary email
  • Ability to take deposits on jobs and monitor the outstanding values on Invoices
  • Employee records report showing date of CRB check, 5 yearly medical, number of defects etc.. raised by employee
  • Ability to set the SMS alert times for online quotes. ie. Ability to decide that you only want to have an SMS sent between the hours of 8am and 8pm and not get woken up in the middle of the night when an international inquiry comes in via the online quotes tool.
  • Improvements to the design of the quoting functionality to make it easier to read and get to relevant areas of TravelManager.

Next week we are focusing some development effort on:-

  • Ability to choose PDF or Word documents to be generated for Invoices, Quotes & Confirmation letters. If you want to be able to change specific sections of the aforementioned you can do directly in Word (or Word compatible word processor)
  • Improvements to the Mileage Manager functionality to allow you to monitor actual spend on fuel consumption
  • Improvements to the quoting section to take into account starting points not at your premises or to include the mileage for multiple pickups.

and expect to have them rolled out within the fortnight thereafter.

Regards

Mike

The Internet is still an adolescent in terms of years, but it seems to be growing up faster and faster every week. The rise of social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, Linkedin & Bebo are proving that people want to connect to each other for all sorts of reasons.

You may have heard of the sites above. The reality is that these sites have been around for many years and have recently gotten into the mainstream press. Other, newer services, such as Twitter, Yahoo! Pipes, Google Android, OpenSocial, Ribbit are still in their ascendency within the technology sector and have not as yet crossed over to the mainstream like the others – but they do offer a glimpse of what is coming our way. Especially when you look at the hype and phenomenal success of mobile phone / PDA’s such a the Apple iPhone.
So what is coming our way and what should we be thinking about 2-3 years out?

The Web is currently whats in its 2nd stage of life – often called “Web 2.0″ and it represents the social / networking nature of the web. ie. You can find out just about any information on any product available for sale today. Not only that but you can actually read literally thousands of reviews on each of those products from people all over the world. We are no longer limited to what the marketing department of that product manufacturer wants us to know but are able to hear from real users.

Businesses too are being subjected to this peer review model. If a famous high street chain launches a product / service which isnt up to scratch them in a short period of time – people usually get to hear about it. You only have to take a look at the comments / reviews on Amazon to see where this is heading for all types of products & services going forward.

That means than any business anywhere in the world is soon going to be under the spotlight with regard to customer reviews. This is great news for businesses which really do mean “The customer is always right” or “Always put the customer first” but for those customers who continually look at the bottom line and cut corners in intangible areas such as customer service are going to be in for a rude awakening as revenue starts to dry up.

The next phase of the Internet (which you would expect to be called “Web 3.0″ but is actually being bounded around as the “Semantic Web” in technology circles) is all about the computer understanding what you want and showing the relevant information only. eg. If you are a consumer looking for “a quality chauffeur or coach operator” then it needs to understand what makes up “quality” and why you would be interested in certain reviews pertaining to poor or great service from previous consumers.

So what should you be doing?

First and foremost, you should be aware of where these trends are going?

Then you need to ensure that your web presence and customer relationship processes are locked down and are continually being improved. Make sure your website is professional (as in created by a professional and not timmy from the end of the road). Make sure you have all of your contact information easily and readily available.

By focusing on delivering a quality product / service at a decent price, revenue and profitability will undoubtedly look after itself.

We at TravelManager, understand the Internet and where it is going. If you want to take advantage of our knowledge simply sign up for an account or contact us for how best to ensure that you are ready for the next phase of the Internets growth.

Regards

Mike

We have another widget in testing which will be rolled out in the morning for you to play with.  Its a simple widget which helps with working out the VAT content of values.

vat widget.thumbnail Another Widget to play with.

Regards

Mike

Over the coming couple of weeks we are focusing on a number of significant improvements to TravelManager. Namely:-

  • improving usability in a number of key areas. Whenever we can remove a mouse click or the requirement to type in some information we will do so. So for example, we are making some improvements to the weekly roster solution so you can “copy and paste” rosters from one week to the next with near zero data entry.
  • the launch of our first (of many) online widgets which you can embed directly into your websites with very minimal effort. The first such widget is the “online quoting” widget – which will enable visitors to your site to enter in private hire related information to request a quote. This information is then directly stored into TravelManager as though it were a quote that you generated yourself and you can then provide the customer with a price and move to a booked job which shows up in your calendar / roster.
  • the ability to have the system alert you via SMS of key events (such as meetings or if a quote has come in from your website)

We are also working on a user manual to assist new users to get to grips with all of the functionality available.

We believe that if we deliver a good quality product with good quality service we will be rewarded with good quality customers. We also believe in keeping our costs down, so we wont spend lots of money on expensive advertising or marketing. We much prefer to work through word of mouth referrals.

We are therefore, starting a new referral system, where we will pay you £100 for each business which subscribes to a standard annual subscription to TravelManager. So if you refer 10 other businesses we will send you a cheque for £1000. It couldn’t be easier. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact me for more information or take a look at the terms.

Regards

Mike

This is an update on the customer focus items we have in the “Customer Functionality Voting” system. Since we launched the concept on 6th December 2007 (12 weeks / 90 days ago)  we have:-

  • Received 53 customer generated ideas
  • Received 631 votes from customers on those 53 ideas
  • Delivered 20 customer generated ideas
  • Partially delivered a further 2 customer generated ideas

That is an average of 1 customer generated idea delivered every 3 days.

We have also listened to your feedback on the navigation and usability of the software solution and improved the:-

  • Dashboard with user definable widgets
  • the monthly, weekly and daily calendar sections with 1 click access to key functions
  • reports sections with graphical representations as well as tabular data format

We are always looking at ways to improve our service, so please keep the suggestions and ideas coming as they are what keep up excited icon smile Customer Focus Update

Remember, we have now implemented a referral scheme which enables you to earn £100 for every new subscriber to TravelManager that you refer. (See the referrals page for terms and more information)

We have listened to your feedback on the navigation of the quoting module and are currently looking at a number of improvements that can be made to make the whole process quicker.

quote.thumbnail Quoting Improvements

We will be looking at developing these improvements and launching them within the next couple of weeks, along with improvements to the online quoting widget for your customers to generate quotes from your own websites.

Regards

Mike

We currently have the online quoting widget in development.  This allows you to add a customer facing quoting facility to your website or even within emails that you send out by just adding a couple of lines of text.  It takes no more than 5 mins to set up and allows your customers to self-serve 24/7.

quote widget.thumbnail Online Real Time Quoting Widget

We will moving this into testing within the next couple of weeks with a view to launching it towards the end of the month / beginning of next month.

Regards

Mike

We have now rolled out the ability to create statements from multiple invoices so you can send your corporate accounts (schools, hospitals etc..) a weekly / monthly (or any other time period you wish) statement instead of numerous invoices.

This functionality is a direct result of the feedback we got from the community, so keep that feedback coming icon smile Bulk Invoicing now live

Regards

Mike