One key to managing service agreements is being able to quickly determine which agreements are about to expire, so that marketing efforts can be made to the customers who have invested in those agreements. The Service Agreement List is used to do just that.
From the main menu, click Customers | Service Agreements List.
List will appear, automatically having any displayed agreements grouped together by customer.
A filter can be used to determine which agreements are about to expire. After the filter is setup and saved, finding agreements which are about to expire can be done with a single click. To create this filter, do the following:
- In the Service Agreement List, click New Filter in the Filter Center. The “New Filter” form will appear.
- In the New Filter form, give a name to the filter.
- In the top line of the left-hand column, select “End Date” from the drop-down list.
- In the top line of the right-hand column, select a target time frame from the drop-down list (Next Month, Next Week, etc).
- Click the OK button when finished. Your new filter will appear in the User Filters area of the filter center.
How to Use This Information
Once any list has been filtered to display a desired set of information, that information can be exported for use in other programs. For example, in popular word processing programs template marketing letters can be setup and used over and over again using different data each time (data like customers, addresses, end dates, etc). As of this writing, Microsoft Word® refers to this functionality as “mail merge”. Typically, the target word processing software requires that the source data file to be in a particular format which Total Office Manager can usually accommodate. This is usually a Tab-Delimited ASCII text file.
Said another way, you can setup a template marketing letter in Microsoft Word® which says something like:
<City>, <State> <Zip>
We hope you have enjoyed the performance and piece of mind from your investment in your <Type> service agreement. It has, however, come to our attention that your current service agreement will expire on <end date>.
As a valued customer we want to ensure that your benefits from service agreement ownership never lapse. An automatic renewal of your existing service agreement will appear on your credit card statement next month, based upon your card info on file. Shortly thereafter, we will contact you personally to schedule maintenance making sure your equipment is running powerfully, reliably, efficiently, and safely.
Thanks again, <First Name> for the continued investment in your <Type> service agreement. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
Then in Total Office Manager, export the file which Word looks at to replace the fields like <Customer> and <Type> in the template letter.
Creating an Export File
- Once filtered for desired information, right-click anywhere in the list and choose “Export List” from the pop-up menu. The Export List form will appear.
- In the “Delimiter” field, select “Tab” (or Comma, Pipe, Colon, Semicolon, or Other — depending on the requirements of your word processor) then click the Export button.
- An “Export – Save As” dialog box will appear. Give a name to the file then steer to where to save it and click the Save button. An export confirmation dialog box will report that the export was successful. This source file is now ready for use by other programs (like word processing or spreadsheet software).
- To allow all Total Office Manager users access to a filter, edit the filter and tick the “Global” checkbox. The filter will be moved from the User Filters area of the filter center to the Global Filters area, where all Total Office Manager users can use it.
- If you plan to perform this type of activity (export and create marketing letters) over and over again, exporting the text file to the same place with the same name each time. It will take less keystrokes when printing the new marketing letters in the word processing program because you won’t have to track down a new filename and location each time.
- Microsoft Word® has wonderful built-in help topics on setting up and using mail merge functionality. Just open their help system and search on that topic. (Sorry, but Aptora cannot support Microsoft products)
- Once a permanent location and name is established for the export file, and once a permanent template marketing letter is setup in your word processing program, familiar users have been known to open Total Office Manager, isolate the service agreements about to expire, conduct the merge in their word processing program, and have hard-copies of their marketing letter begin printing in less than 60 seconds (Really!).