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Tutorial: Customize the Workflow

Appointment Making Process Flowchart

You can customize the workflow on the process page that you find by clicking the blue “Configure” and then selecting the “Process” tab. The first thing on the process page is a flow chart that details the steps someone has to go through to make an appointment. This does not include the steps to create a login name; those are shown on the ‘Access Control’ page and discussed in detail here. The flowchart updates dynamically as you make changes to the rest of the page. For example, if you select ‘Send a confirmation’ then that additional step will appear in the flowchart.

Below the flowchart you can indicate what information is asked with each booking. Note that if you require that visitors log in using their email address then their email will not be asked again with each booking because the system already knows about it.

If you ask the user to fill out information that he already supplied when signing up then the value he used when signing up will be used as a default value. For example, if you ask for an address when creating a login name, and then ask it again when creating an appointment, the first value entered will be shown as a default so the client does not need to retype it.

Custom User Interface

Most entry fields are simply text fields except for the address field, which is a multi-line text box, and country, which is a drop down menu. You can add two custom text fields when creating a login name on the ‘Access control’ page, and an additional two here, giving you four custom fields. The two custom fields on this page can be customized further to be a larger text area or a drop down menu by clicking on the link ‘Customize’ next to them. If you offer your users a choice of products or services, a drop down box can be a good way for your users to select one. The customizing screen explains how to list the options. You can also set a product identifier that gets stored with each selection to allow easy integration with your back office if you download the schedule to Excel, for example.

If you need more fields than are listed then you can create a custom form that can have an unlimited number of fields and can include comments such as usage instructions. On the dashboard page you will find a “New Form” link in the right-hand menu that will take you to a form editor where you can design a form with fields of any kind, including “check boxes” and “radio buttons”. After you give a title to the form and save it, the “Process” tab will contain an option to connect the form to your schedule, so you can have it filled out by everyone signing up or by everyone making a booking. One example use of this is to show a “Terms and Conditions” page to your clients before they can make a booking.

If you created a ‘supervisor field’ on the Access Control page then you will see an option to show or hide this field to your visitors. A supervisor field is useful to store information that the end-user should not modify, like a membership number. You can also use the field to give a discount to an individual customer. If you put the text -10% in the supervisor field that discount will automatically be applied on the checkout screen for payments made through the site by that customer.

You can allow people to create a series of repeating appointments in one go, or even force them to create a repeating appointment. The latter option can be useful to ensure a student signs up for an entire series of lectures, for example. By default the option to create repeating reservations is switched off to avoid cluttering up the interface. When you enable this option a new “Repeat” option appears in the “New booking” dialog box. The option behaves differently for a “Resource” type and a “Capacity” type schedule, the “Service” schedule does not offer repeating appointments yet. On a “Resource” type schedule this will show an option to repeat the reservation daily/weekly/monthly/etc. until a certain date. The dialog box to change a repeating booking has an additional option that offers a choice between changing only a single booking or changing all bookings from then on. On a “Capacity” schedule the repeat option will only be visible if you first create a repeating slot. The visitor can then select from a list which dates that he wants to repeat, or you can force him to sign up for all repeated dates at once.

You can further change the booking process by selecting "Request approval…" or "Complete payment…" in the next section. When you select “Request approval” appointments will only be tentatively booked. The administrator or a superuser will need to confirm the booking before it is committed and a confirmation sent. You can instruct the system to send notification to the administrator each time a booking is pending approval by following the set up link.

There is a check box to automatically approve appointments made by superusers and the administrator. If a user has been given “unlimited credit” then those bookings will also be approved automatically. This is a useful shortcut to allow certain people that you trust to bypass the approval system. To give someone unlimited credit first switch on the credit system on the “Payment Setup” page, you can then bestow him with unlimited credit on the “User management” screen. There is a lot more to be said about payment so there is a separate tutorial about setting up payment.

By default the customer will stay on the same page after he has completed a booking. His booking will be highlighted on the schedule with a message saying that his booking was successful. You can modify this behavior by entering your own URL where the person will be redirected after booking. To aid tracking of successful bookings you can use the magic words $name, $id, $price, $slot_id, $email or $full_name in the URL, which will be replaced by the appointment’s login name, ID, price, slot ID, email or full name respectively. If you do provide your own URL it is strongly recommended that page clearly shows that the booking was completed successfully. Redirecting to your homepage without any confirmation as to what happened would be confusing to the customer (and PayPal explicitly forbids it in case you use their payment process). If someone clicks the log out link on a SuperSaaS page he is taken to the URL specified on the “Layout Settings” page. This can be a different URL and using your homepage would be appropriate there.

The next couple of settings deal with email messages. Note that most messages are not sent when you are logged in as administrator, since that would quickly flood your mailbox while you are working on the system. So to check if you receive the appropriate messages first log in as a regular user, as explained in testing your schedule.

You can let a change on the schedule generate several different messages:

The messages to your users can be customized on the ‘Configure Layout’ page. In addition to the messages generated by the schedule you can send a message to new users when they sign up, optionally including a link to confirm their email address. This message is configured on the ‘Access Control’ screen you reach from the dashboard.

Creating appointments for someone else

When an appointment is created the system stores it with the login name of the creator. This way visitors can be presented with a list of appointments they made in the ‘Agenda’ view and their appointments can be visually differentiated in calendar views. If you receive a booking via another way, by phone for example, you may want to add it to the schedule yourself. But if you are logged in as administrator the booking will show as belonging to the administrator. In that case you may want to act on behalf of the person who the booking is for. To act on behalf of someone else go to the ‘User Management’ screen that you can reach from the dashboard and click the blue arrow next to the person you want to pretend to be. If you now make a booking it will get listed as created by that user, followed by a slash and then the name of the person who performed the actual booking. This will ensure the booking gets listed in the agenda of that client and it will also send automatic confirmation and reminder emails to him, if applicable. To stop acting on behalf of someone else simply click his name in the top right corner of the screen. While you are acting as someone else you retain your own privileges, so you will still be able to see the information from other people for example.

If you make most or all of your bookings on behalf of other people and you do not care that they get listed as your own appointments there is also a quicker way of working than the one explained in the previous paragraph. This quicker method will just allow you to change the email address of the outgoing confirmation email. To enable this way of working go to the ‘Access Control‘ page and uncheck the box next to ‘Use email address as login name’. If you now return to the Configure Process page you will see an entry for ‘Email address’ has been added that you can enable. When you now enter an appointment as superuser or administrator the email address entry will be used to send confirmations and reminders. If a regular visitor makes an appointment and does not fill out the email field the system will use the login name instead.

The last section on the page allows you to specify how long in advance an end-user can add or change an appointment. The system uses a “sliding time window”; it calculates how much time is left between the start of the appointment and the current time at your location and checks if that falls within the specified limits. For the limit on how long people can add in advance you can use an alternative calculation. For example, suppose you’ve set that limit to “Cannot add more than 1 day in advance” and you open for business at 9 and it’s now 9 o’clock. Then with the sliding window users would be only able to make an appointment for 9 on the next day, and they would have to wait until 10 to make an appointment at 10. However, if you’ve checked the box “Make entire day available at opening time” then they would be able to make appointments for the entire day from 9 onwards. As the administrator you can still make appointments outside these limits so to verify that this works correctly you need to be logged in as end-user.

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