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Streamlining a process

yveskleinsky

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WildAmbitions and I are trying to streamline our communication, as well as our processes. Here is where we are having a bit of trouble. Does anyone have any insight as to how to make things smoother?

Here's how things go currently:

1. A customer books a reservation.
2. I run their card through our online merchant services.
3. I email them policies.
4. They email back confirmation of policies.
5. I email them directions/ checkin/out times, keycode info.
6. I email a request for cleaning.
7. I update a master calendar (on excel) and state what has cleared (ex: cleaning scheduled, amount paid, directions given, keycode given).
8. I then update our online calendar.
9. I email the master calendar to WildAmbitions when it is her turn to be on call.

Just seems like a lot of emailing and updating. Any thoughts on how to get from point A to point B with less steps- or at least less steps done by us?
 

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yveskleinsky

yveskleinsky

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lol- yes I know that Apto will be able to help with most of this. I am just curious if anyone has additional insight. ...Everyone is smarter than someone. :)
 

AroundTheWorld

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There has got to be some sort of software for your industry. It can store all those steps and data and help you know where you are in the "process" of each customer.

For example, in self storage we have software that automatically records when people need to be locked out, automatically locks them out, when the need a letter, automatically generates the letter, when they need a phone call, etc.


Beyond that... I love using logmein (thanks Russ for this reco) - this really helps for communications between partners and with employees.

We have one "master computer" on which everything is done. Various partners or employees just log into the PC and have all the info on each customer available in our software program. no email updates required.

I also - for a time was looking into salesforce.com. I saw someone else in my industry use that very effectively to manage a business remotely, communicate with partners, and employees - all in different locations.
 
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yveskleinsky

yveskleinsky

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I will check that out. We did look into webervationz, and they seem to offer a lot, but I don't like the layout as far as how the customer has to search for properties.

I will look into what you recommended.

Thanks!
 

White8

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I would definitely do a Google search for industry software. If you can't find software that fits your needs, use on of the programmer sites such as www.rentacoder.com. It can be quite inexpensive depending how complex the software is.
 

nomadjanet

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We use a shared google calendar that any of our "shared" people can access. There is also a version of Google calendar that can be publised onto the web and clients can actually see bookings & use it to request reservations. I have never used the public one but I have had someone recommend it to me, it is working for them.
Janet
 

australianinvestor

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I agree with the software option. All the stuff you described can be automated. Once you perfect that system, you can spend time automating others and marketing your business.

:)

Check out the "E-myth revisited" by Michael Gerber. It talks about process automation in an interesting way. :)

Daniel.
 

LightHouse

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I agree its all in automation software. Hopefully by mentioning Tom you are implying he is doing some sort of a automated website for you. Hopefully this solves most of your issues.

And x2 on the thank yous to Russ for logmein.com recommendation. I use it everyday now.
 

AroundTheWorld

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I am really happy with logmein.... I had been trying a different one - with nightmarish results, so logmein is a blessing after that experience.
 

slim_jim

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yveskleinsky

yveskleinsky

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Thanks for asking. It's been a real roller coaster ride that's for sure. Right now I am focusing on what I know needs to be done, and chip away at the bigger challenges as they come up. We still have yet to figure out the gateway; I spoke with both Aptohosting and SlimJim this morning about it, and both have some ideas as to how to make it work. We'll see if they pan out...and hopefully we'll know sooner than later! ...The site itself is about 40% done- so seeing it come together is really exciting. As soon as we get a solid test version of the site done, I'll post it here to get feedback.

...How are the farm animals doing, and when are we going to see pictures?
 

AroundTheWorld

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We just got our lambs home yesterday. The babies are just so darn cute - about the size of a cat.



They are about 2 weeks old.

We've also got...

baby chickens
baby turkeys
a pregnant rabbit
and a broody chicken - trying to hatch some eggs

When I get some good shots, I'll post them.
 

Russ H

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yveskleinsky said:
1. A customer books a reservation.
2. I run their card through our online merchant services.
3. I email them policies.
4. They email back confirmation of policies.
5. I email them directions/ checkin/out times, keycode info.
6. I email a request for cleaning.
7. I update a master calendar (on excel) and state what has cleared (ex: cleaning scheduled, amount paid, directions given, keycode given).
8. I then update our online calendar.
9. I email the master calendar to WildAmbitions when it is her turn to be on call.
How 'bout:

A.Customer books reservation online (fills in all info). They MUST check a box saying they agree to all policies, or the engine won't let them book. They automatically get an email response, saying that their request was rec'd, and we will get back to them within 24 hrs.

B. You download all of this info w/ONE click-- it goes into your PMS (property mgt software). You now have a calendar, showing all the days that were booked. And you have a fully filled out customer card, in the system as well.

C. You process the card online (we do 100% full prepayments in advance; almost completely eliminates no-shows).

D. You send email confirmation of paid reservation to guest-- it's a boilerplate, ONE click. Includes any directions, keys, etc.

E. Cleaning forms are part of the PMS

F. The PMS is the ONLY calendar you need. Everyone checks-- and works on-- the one computer* via logmein

*You have all of this hooked up to a computer that is on 24/7 and you don't really use. Log in anywhere in the world using logmein.com, and either one of you can do this. Or you can hire someone to do it!

Total software required:

1. Webervations (for online booking engine)
2. Rezovation (PMS, automatically downloads all reservation info from webervations)
3. Logmein.com account
4. Online CC processing acct (hooked up to your main PC, you can access via logmein)
5. Fastmail.com for all emails sent in/out (online based, both of you can be working on this at the same time).

That's it.

***********

Step A requires zero time on your part

Steps B-D takes (total) about 5-10 min MAX per reservation, incl CC processing

This makes taking a reservation a ONE STEP process (i.e., you do all of your steps at the same time).

Note: We process 10-20 reservations per day this way (over $300K so far this year).

********

Life is good. :banana::banana::banana:

-Russ H.

PS Webervations is VERY VERY configurable. Just look at the websites for 10 different B&Bs that have it-- you would never know, save for the URL.
 
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yveskleinsky

yveskleinsky

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Thanks for all the thought there Russ!
++rep.
 

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