Pop Quiz: What's the most popular screen in AffinityLive by pageviews? The answer - the View Company/Client screen.
While this isn't surprising given how important clients are to your business, it also means we give this screen more thought, time and attention than others in AffinityLive.
Or, at least, we should.
Problems with the old screen...
Unfortunately, there were a few problems with the old View Company screen, including:
- Actually seeing a list of the contacts against a company/client required too many clicks. If you wanted to call someone, you'd have to load up this screen, toggle to the "Contacts" tab in the center, and then scroll down or search to find the one you want, expand them, and then see the phone number. A touch cumbersome.
- Managing relationships was too hard to find/use. Our automatic email capture uses the relationships you're able to set between yourself, your staff and groups to define whether a captured email is able to be seen by other people in your business, so we needed to make this much easier to use. Now you can define your relationship with the entire client (and thus the default visibilty of any captured email you send to or receive from the client) or alternatively with individual contacts right from the company/client view screen.
- For big/active clients, the activity stream could get overwhelming. Odds are, the biggest, most active clients you have are the ones you care about the most. If you and your team are dealing with a dozen contacts on a range of different sales, projects and more, trying to see what's been going on with an individual contact from this stream has been painful.
- If you have a lot of contacts with a client, finding the right person shouldn't need scrolling. While we had a search feature in-place previously, it wasn't particularly fast, smart or obvious, so you probably just found yourself scrolling down through rows of blue/grey trying to find a name.
- You couldn't have persistent, easy to edit/update notes. From time to time you just want to make a note/comment against a client so your colleagues, particularly new ones, could quickly see the important notes or details about the account - and update as necessary!
The good news is that we've solved all of these issues with the new company screen. Here's a quick tour of the highlights.
Contacts & Activities - more powerful together!
The first thing you'll notice about this screen is that we've moved things around. We've kept the popular Activity Stream front and center, but we've moved the equally useful contact list to the left hand colum. Now, you don't need to choose between looking at activity and looking at contacts - you can do both!
While we'd never design a screen so ugly as to be covered in red text, we thought this diagram below might highlight the ways you can focus on the conversations that matter with a client/account.
With this new layout, we've also been able to give you the power to filter or zoom in on the activity stream so you can see just the conversations and activities related to a single client contact. This is really valuable for your bigger, more active (and probably more important) clients; now if you've got lots going on with different contacts, you can click on the arrow to the right of the contact row and the Activity Stream will reload to show you just the activities that have been going on with that contact. Super handy!
Making relationships easy (and obvious)
Relationships are unfortunately one of the best kept secrets of AffinityLive. Well, not anymore.
As a quick recap, relationships allow you to do the following:
- Manager Relationship: if you're a manager of a company or even just a select group of contacts, you'll benefit by getting CC'ed in on notes, meeting reports and emails created in AffinityLive to a client by your colleagues. So, if you're an account manager, you can always be in the loop.
- Confidential Relationship: if you're sending and receiving sensitive things with a client or a specific contact, you can set your relationship status to be confidential. This means that other users won't be able to see the details of what was captured via email or in notes, but they will be able to see that something happened and come and talk to you about it if they're also working on something with the client. When you have a confidential relationship, we also ignore attachments on emails, just in case there's something sensitive there too.
- Private Relationship: if you have a private relationship with a client, you and ONLY YOU are able to see that the activity occured. Your colleagues will be completely in the dark - ideal in cases where a friend or loved one happens to work for a company that your company does business with; they need to live in AffinityLive for the benefit of your colleagues, but you don't want your private emails getting exposed.
- Group Relationships: we also support "group" relationships which work in much the same way as the individual relationships, but they apply to a whole group of people. Confidential Group Relationships are particularly handy; if you've got group of senior staff who need to keep their interactions with select clients confidential, you can turn on this setting and then members of the group will be able to see the activity in all its glory, but people who aren't in the group will be locked out.
With the new View Company screen you're now able to see, add and remove relationships quickly and easily. You can maintain relationships "company wide" by using the "Add" link on the right hand side of the screen, but if you want to be more fine grained you can add relationships on specific contacts by expanding the contact box on the left hand side.
Easily add client comments
One of the things we've been asked for a lot is a way to put in quick, easy and persistent client comments. While the ability to add notes against a client is already in place and super powerful, there are times you want to leave a big, obvious note that doesn't get pushed down the screen as new things happen.
To make this easy, we've introduced a new "Comments" feature. Now you can just go in and add a comment against a client, and if you need to update it, you can do it in-line and edit it at any time. Think of it like a whiteboard for important notes that you want to be reminded of every time you look at this client page.
(We know you're already thinking it - wouldn't it be awesome to add comments against jobs, issues and more? Well, we're working on that too - watch this space...)
Faster Search, Easier Access
Another thing we've done with the new version is try and make it easier to find the client contact you're interested in. If you've got a big, important client account with lots of contacts, you can now search quickly and easily to find just the person you're looking for.
We also agonized as to whether we should open each of the contact rows up by default, but we've decided for now to leave them collapsed. We know this creates another click - which is why we agonized - but for now we've elected to make it easy to scan through the names. We'd love to know what you think though.
These changes will be shipping over the weekend of the 28th-29th of July; you'll receive a yellow notification in your AffinityLive interface when they've been pushed out and are ready to use.