An incredible engineer diary every office member will love to use

Marine Klein

The engineer diary is the most used part of the application, we have spent a lot of time understanding customers needs and we've come up with the best diary we've ever built.  We have completely rewritten the diary with the aim to provide two key benefits.  The first is to improve the speed in which we open the diary.  The second is providing a more comprehensive user experience.  I'm proud to say we've accomplished both of those goals.

 

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Back to basics
In redesigning Commusoft, we went back to basics and questioned every decision we’ve ever made. We asked ourselves if there was a better way of doing things, and looked at hundreds of diary systems on the market, working out what we liked and disliked about all of them – with the specific requirements of service companies in mind. Based on our nine years’ experience of working with gas, electricity and heating engineering service companies’ challenges, we set out a technology roadmap to implement the engineer diary features that would accommodate our customers’ priorities. Then we implemented our ideas using the latest in software technology.   

The result is a diary that enables more effective job management than ever before and delivers a more satisfying user experience.

Flexible viewing
With the Commusoft upgrade launch, the new diary gives you several views: daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly view.  The weekly diary is also improved so that you can easily view availability at a glance. We think you’ll love the new confirmation feature. When you book a job or estimate into the diary, you will be able to send a confirmation email or SMS to the customer.

Drag & drop gets more “intelligent”

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Drag and drop is one of the Commusoft features that customers like best. It enables you to drag and rebook jobs straight into the diary. Drag and drop is what makes it easy for you to rearrange engineers’ schedules, which is fundamental to effective job management. So we thought long and hard about how we could make it even more useful and convenient (or, as we software developers say, more “intelligent”). When you now drag and drop a job into the diary, you will automatically see information about the job’s status, telling you whether it is ready to be rebooked (e.g. if parts are available and ready to be picked up). This should help to eliminate doubts such as “why was this job on the list?” saving unnecessary calls. We’ve also extended the number of job management tasks that you can execute simply with drag and drop: for example, you can now abort or invoice a job directly from the list.

We’ve also sped up job creation by allowing you not only to select existing customers but also to add new ones all from a single quick job screen.

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Another job management feature of Commusoft that many of you have asked for over the years was the ability to re-order the engineer columns on the diary. We’ve responded to this and implemented a very simple way for you to drag and drop whole columns. 

A more precise indication of availability

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One thing that has become clear to us working with customers is that for service companies, a traditional diary set-up simply doesn’t cut the mustard as far as job management is concerned. So with the upgrade we’ve designed a diary around the way you work. For example, a diary “event” traditionally corresponds to a time slot with a set start and finish time, such as 9:00-11:00. But what if the job only takes an hour (or less)? In the new diary you can more flexibly define the length of individual “events”. That means you get a more accurate view of availability, at a glance.

A fantastic feature of the old product was the ability to drag and rebook jobs straight onto the diary.  This simple yet powerful tool worked incredibly well, however, we felt something was missing.  We wanted this to be more intelligent, while at the same time provide you with more information.  We've redesigned this feature to provide you with at a glance information about whether the job is ready to be rebooked (i.e. parts are in and need picking up), or whether the job was previously rejected.  Our aim was to give you a greater understanding of why this job was in this list.  We also wanted to allow you to abort or invoice a job straight from this list.

More information – without even having to look for it!
Given that you spend more time in the diary than any other part of Commusoft, it makes complete sense to provide as much useful information in the diary as possible. So with the Commusoft upgrade, when you hover over a diary event you will see details about the customer and the job. If you want further information, a single click will open up a side panel, without you having to leave the diary screen. Consequently there is no need to shuffle back and forth between different parts of the system. 

Printing
Although printing is something we all want to get away from (as a paperless business is the way forward, especially with customers using mobile devices) we did want to improve the ease with which you can print job sheets. We’ve therefore introduced a number of newly designed print-outs:

1) One sheet per job
2) One sheet per day per engineer

It will now be easy to print these sheets straight from the diary, reducing the time it takes to prepare engineer paperwork. 

Cutting fuel costs

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We're providing a simple, powerful tool to help your office staff book in estimates and jobs in a much more efficient manner.  When choosing a time-slot, Commusoft will search all existing future events and present you with a list of existing visits in a particular area.  For example, type in SW3 and Commusoft will find out when and who will be in that area today and in the future.  You can then select the option and book in a job in proximety i.e. before or after.  This will geographically keep estimates/jobs book close together, reducing travel and fuel costs.

Technology: going real-time
Designing a system is all very well, but at the end of the day, you need the technology to make it work. We have used the most advanced software to make the Commusoft V4 diary a real-time job management system. This means that changes show up immediately in everyone’s diary as they occur, without needing to refresh the system. I can assure you that this is a lot easier said than done! But the end result is the most efficient diary system on the market. In practice this means, for example, that if an engineer who is out on the road accepts a job, you will see this immediately on your PC back in the office – which will eliminate inefficiencies and enable you to manage and run your business more effectively. The business benefits are clear: better use of everybody’s time, less frustration, greater customer satisfaction and more profit for your company in both the short and the long term.

We’ve worked for nearly four years on this V4 launch of Commusoft, spending nearly 200,000 man hours with the single aim of building the best, most user-friendly experience possible for our clients. Much of this time was focused on redesigning and redeveloping the diary: we regard it as the most important part of Commusoft.

We are convinced that this new diary will not only be well used, but well loved!

 

 

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