Unlike most other online collaboration products that insist you use their system to send emails, AffinityLive is actually designed to let you keep working the way you always have, sending emails from your desktop, webmail client, or even your smartphone - we'll just use our magic email capture to bring in all your important client emails and project related conversations so you dont have to change a thing about how you prefer to work.
But, as many of our users know, we also support the ability to send emails from AffinityLive using our Activity feature.Â
Unfortunately, we've always had a bit of a shortcoming when using the Activity feature to send emails - it isn't a direct replacement for an email client. While we're not trying to compete with the likes of Gmail and Outlook (sorry, no bold text for you), there is one feature that our users have found frustratingly missing - the ability to include arbitrary contacts in the "To:" and "CC:" fields of a message.
To be clear, AffinityLive already allows you to include a contact who's involved in the work you're sending the email about - such as the contacts at a client if you're working on a sale, project, or an issue - but what if you want to include someone else? Perhaps their lawyer or other third party.Â
Until now, you've had to actually link that third party up-front as a Contributor before you could send them an email from the activity system. Yep, we know, that sucks.Â
So we fixed it!
Introducing Contributor Quick Add
Today we rolled out the first of a number of fixes to make it a LOT easier to send emails to anyone in AffinityLive. This feature is what we're calling "Contributor Quick Add".
You can access this feature from any Activity creation screen by clicking on the Email tab (or by clicking the "Send Email," under the "New Activity" navigation heading on most screens.Â
Once you're looking at the screen for sending a new email, you'll see a link in the top right, next to the "To" box, which will allow you to find and link a completely unrelated contact, in your AffinityLive client database, to be part of this email.
When you click on that icon, you'll be presented with a search box. As you type, AffinityLive will be searching its database and looking for a person who's name matches what you're typing in. When it finds a match, it will show you the options listed below in a grey box, including the client/company name if the contact is linked to a company.
When you find the match, you simply need to select them, describe from the drop-down list of Contributor Types (which you can customize in the admin area), what type of relationship this contact has with what you're working on, and then save them, and the contact will be instantly linked as a Contributor to the sale/project/issue/contract, making it a simple process of just typing their name into the "To" or "CC" box to add them as an email recipient any time in the future.
One more thing
If you like the sound of this, we also have another bonus - the same functionality is available if you're scheduling a meeting with your client!
This is perfect for situations where you're wanting to schedule a meeting with the client and include, for example, your lawyer and a contact, on their side. As long as everyone is already in AffinityLive *somewhere*, you'll be able to find and add them in just the same way, and even send them an invitation to the meeting too.
More improvements coming...
This isn't going to the end of our improvements in this important area of AffinityLive - we know that sending emails from AffinityLive is especially powerful because it allows you to both log billable time at the same time as you're emailing, and because it makes sure the rest of the conversation with the client - even if it happens entirely in Gmail or through your iPhone - will be captured against the right sale/project/etc. in the system.
In the future we'll be supporting the creation of new contacts just by typing in someone's email address, and other improvements - if you have other ideas of what would be useful, make sure you share them in our ideas forum.