Monthly Archives: December 2012

Announcement


flowerSoft Silver 2013

flowerSoft Silver 2013 is now available.

Among many other improvements and bug fixes, flowerSoft Silver 2013 now allows you to get credit card authorizations without using ICVerify and be PCI compliant and to interface with Teleflora’s Dove Plus system.

For PCI compliance, you must clear your credit cards through Merchant Warehouse and their Merchantware system.

Tip #111 – How to Route Your Deliveries with Map Quest


Tip #111
How to Route Your Deliveries with MapQuest

Again, before I start, I want to thank David Watson of Flowerama in Las Cruces, NM for making me aware of this new service from MapQuest.

On the previous post, we left off here…

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where flowerSoft was giving you the option to map your deliveries with Google Maps or MapQuest.  Since most of you know how to do it with Google Maps (If you don’t see post #068), let’s see what happens when we select M – MapQuest.

As soon as you press M, flowerSoft will launch Wordpad and display a document containing all the recipient addresses for the invoices shown in the route & receipt form.
The first and last address is your shop’s address.

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When this document is displayed, you must do 3 things in succession, first you must hit Ctrl + A to select all the addresses in the document.
When you hit Ctrl + A all the words in the document will get a blue background to indicate they have all been selected.

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After hitting Ctrl + A to select all the words in the document, you must hit Ctrl + C to copy all the words selected into the WIndows clipboard.
Nothing will happen to indicate that you have hit Ctrl + C to copy the selected text, so make sure of it.
Next, you must exit the document.  You can do this by hitting Alt + F4 to exit WordPad

Now, I try to avoid reaching for a mouse whenever possible but if you are more comfortable clicking on something to achieve the steps enumerated above, you can do the following…

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So remember the order of the steps…

  1. Select all text (Ctrl + A)
  2. Copy text selected (Ctrl + C)
  3. Exit WordPad document (Alt + F4)

After you exit the document, you will go back to flowerSoft and see the following on the screen…

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So now hit M to go into MapQuest.
Note, hitting any other key but M will not take you into MapQuest.

Let’s see what happens when we hit M

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This is the screen that will display as soon as the hit M, now you are in MapQuest’s site.
The first thing you must do is click on the Copy & Paste tab.

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Once you click on the tab, MapQuest will display the following screen…

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Click inside the text box and then either press Ctrl + V to paste all the text you selected before or if you like to use the mouse, you can right-click inside the text box and then click on “Paste”

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Once you have either hit Ctrl + V or used the mouse as shown above, all your copied text will appear in the box.
Then you have to click on the “Get Directions” button.

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Once you click on the “Get Directions” button, MapQuest will attempt top route all your deliveries…

If MapQuest finds a better delivery address or addresses that the one you entered, it will display the following…

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Click on the address that you think best matches the recipient’s address.

You will also notice that some of the addresses may have warning icons next to them…

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That means that MapQuest thinks it has a better address for those items than the one you entered.
Click on the warning icon and MapQuest will display what it thinks to be a better address.

I have noticed that basically you have to accept what MapQuest thinks is a better address as it will not let you continue until you accept it.

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So go ahead and accept all of MapQuest’s suggestions and then click on the “Get Directions” button again.

This time MapQuest will display a map with all your delivery stops…

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You will notice that after the last address on the list, which is your shop’s address there are a few options you can select by clicking on them.
One of them is to make the trip a “round trip”.  There is no need to select this option as flowerSoft is already making your shop’s address the first and last entries on the list.

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The other option you might want to use is to let MapQuest re-arrange the stops on your list.

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If you compare the stops on this map with the previous one, you will notice that some of the stops have changed because we allowed MapQuest to re-order the stops.

Note that if you select that option, the changes to the order of the stops will not be carried over to the printed route & reciept form you got from flowerSoft, even if you re-print it.

You can increase the magnification on the map by clicking on it and rotating the mouse wheel.

You can also move the stops manually by clicking on them and dragging them to the location you want.

So there it is, getting your delivery stops routed by MapQuest.  It involves a little more work that doing it with Google Maps but it might be worth it.

Tip #110 – Routing Your Deliveries eith Mapquest


Tip #110
Routing Your Deliveries with Mapquest

If you go back and look at tip #068, you’ll see how to display your deliveries on a map using Google maps.  Google maps, however, does not optimize your route.  There are companies that do optimize the routes but they charge for that service. As we mentioned on that post, one such company is myrouteonline.

However, it just came to my attention yesterday (thank you David Watson of Flowerama in Las Cruces, NM) that MapQuest is now offering that service for free!

So after doing some investigating on how to be able to send your deliveries to MapQuest, I’ve come up with this method.  It requires a little work on your part because there is a section of Mapquest where you can upload a file with the addresses that is not working, at least not for me, at this time.  Maybe in the near future it will be and then routing your deliveries will be even easier.

But for now, here is what you need to do:

Route your deliveries using the Dispatcher’s menu option “Q – Route & Receipt Forms” and then select option “R – Request a Route & Receipt Form

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Route you deliveries as usual…

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When finished, save you list as usual…

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Print your route and receipt for as usual

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After printing the form, flowerSoft would normally ask you if you want to display a Google map of the deliveries requested.

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This question has now been eliminated.
After the “Print Again? (y/N)” question normally following the first print request, flowerSoft will do something different than in the past.
Instead of taking you back to the menu, it will take you back to the route & receipt for just printed.

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From there, you will now be able to select whether you want to use Google Maps or MapQuest to display and route your deliveries.

The Google Maps function remains the same, see post #068.  How to use MapQuest will be explained on the next post.

Tip #109 – Changing the Account Number


Tip #109
Changing the Account Number

Yesterday, a long-time flowerSoft customer called me and asked me to refresh his memory on the way to change an account number.
I told him that the only way was to enter the new phone number in one of the other 2 phone number fields.

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Then, after leaving the Cell/Fax Number field, flowerSoft would ask him what phone number it should use to generate the account number.

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After he selected the field containing the new phone number, flowerSoft would use that number to generate the new account number.

He told me “No, there is an easier way to change an account number.  I’ve done it before, but I don’t remember what I did.”
Well neither could I.
I could not remember a way to change an account number without doing what I described above, but since he is a pretty savvy user I told him I would look through the code and call him back if there was another easier way to change an account number.
I also suggested to him to give the account an alias, but that is not what he wanted to do.  He wanted the account number to change.

So, I looked through the code and guess what, sure enough there is an easier way to change an account number and I had even documented it!  Now, this method was not originally written with the purpose of facilitating the changing of an account number.  It was written to allow flowerSoft customers to give accounts an alphanumeric account number, such as fsoft2013.000.
However, that method also works to change an account from 1111111.000 to 7186980298.000.  Here is how:

Simply bring up the client record and press U to update.  You will notice that at the bottom of the screen there is a message reading “Press F8 to Enter an ALPHANUMERIC Account

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After you press the F8 key, flowerSoft will open up a window asking you to enter the alphanumeric account number, but there is nothing preventing you from entering just numbers.

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Then after you enter the supposedly alphanumeric account number, flowerSoft will change the account number to whatever you entered.
Please note that if you are to enter an alphanumeric account number, you are limited to 10 characters, as flowerSoft still needs to add the .000 to the account number.

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So there you have it, a fairly easy way to change an account number.  Be aware, however, that if the change in the account number is because the customer has a new phone number, using this method will not save the new phone number.  So in those cases, it is better to use the first method, which was intended for that eventuality.

Warning!  Do not use this method to combined two accounts into one.

See tip #008 or click here http://wp.me/p24nOe-2J for instructions on how to do that.

Announcement


I will start installing flowerSoft Silver 2013 in your systems starting January 1st., 2013.

This upgrade will allow you to become PCI compliant with your handling of credit cards.

flowerSoft Silver 2013 has been certified as completing the integration with MerchantWARE Transport.WEB

integration certificate

 

What this means that, if you choose to become compliant, you will have to clear your credit cards through the internet using Merchant Warehouse as your clearing house and you will no longer be able to keep customer’s credit cards in your system.

What does this mean to you?
If you become PCI compliant, all your customer credit cards currently kept in your system will be erased.
They will be erased because although encrypted, they are kept in your system’s hard drive and that makes you non-compliant.
The next time an existing customer calls or comes into your store and wants to pay his or her purchase with a credit card, you will have to enter the credit card information again, only this time will will enter it into a web page instead of flowerSoft.
flowerSoft will still keep some information on the customer’s credit card, such as the card type and expiration date, but will not keep any of the sensitive information like the credit card number and security code.

Also, if the credit card will have to be swipe, you will need to get a magnetic card reader from Merchant Warehouse.  These mag readers will encrypt the credit card information being swiped, which is another PCI requirement.

The next time the same customer comes in, you will not have to enter the credit card information again, as it will be kept in Merchant Warehouse’s system.  All you will have to do is select which credit card the customer wants to use, if the have more than one, for a list flowerSoft will show you.

Of course, you always have the option of continuing to remain non-compliant and keep using ICVerify and your current clearing house, but sooner or later you will be forced to become compliant by whoever you are clearing your credit cards with now.  At that point you will still need to switch to Merchant Warehouse to clear your credit cards because that is the only other option flowerSoft will offer at this time.

Merchant Warehouse has very competitive rates and they should be able to match or beat your current rates.
Also, in the very near future, you will also be able to obtain a Genius device from Merchant Warehouse.  This device, similar to what you see now at supermarkets, will allow you to accept debit cards and gift cards.

Here is some information on Genius:

The Genius platform is the first acceptance solution designed to securely handle all current and future payment types as well as value-add gift, loyalty and promotion programs.

Boston, MA – June 12, 2012 – Merchants and point-of-sale developers are struggling with rapidly evolving consumer payment technologies, rewards and loyalty programs and other value-add offers designed to enhance the merchant-consumer experience. From the number of mobile payment options available to ensuring new transaction types maintain PCI compliance, emerging payment technologies and related programs have been viewed as a source of confusion and disruption. Today, Merchant Warehouse®, a leader and innovator in payment solutions, ushered in the future of customer engagement and value-add merchant programs with Genius, the first acceptance solution designed to securely handle all current and future payment types.

Genius Features:

The Genius Customer Engagement Platform is able to aggregate and integrate every conceivable transaction technology, payment type and customer program – both present and future – into a single countertop device. Genius was created to address three common pain points felt by merchants, POS developers and payment providers: choice, security and access.

  • Unlimited Choice – Genius seamlessly incorporates payment and offers alternatives through a configurable Customer Engagement Device (CED) that displays the payment and program offer applications. Genius accepts all types of mobile payments including NFC, QR codes and mobile wallets as well as loyalty, gifting and rewards programs. Both merchants and customers will realize a significantly enhanced merchant-customer experience from the flexibility to choose among payment types, offers and value-add programs for each transaction. Now, merchants and POS developers can choose to implement the payment options that best suit theirs and their customers’ needs.
  • Unified Security – With Genius, Merchant Warehouse is helping merchants and POS providers solve their biggest security and compliance challenges while simultaneously preparing them for the future of payments and value-add programs. A PCI compliant solution, Genius combines end-to-end encryption and tokenization that splits sensitive and non-sensitive data to reduce the risk of merchant security breaches. POS developers are taken out of PA-DSS scope.
  • Open Access – Merchants and POS developers using Genius have access to all payment types and value-add programs such as gift, loyalty, couponing and others. For example, Genius’s payments solution partner LevelUp gives merchants immediate access to a mobile payments solution with zero processing fees. Further, Genius’s cloud-based architecture constantly and seamlessly updates the platform, giving merchants and POS developers the opportunity to easily integrate current and future payment types without business disruption. Access to new payment types means merchants are able to quickly adapt to consumer payment trends and avoid using antiquated solutions.

 

The Genius Customer Engagement Platform helps merchants and POS developers grow their business and realize the promise of the future.

  • Gain new customers with such a simple approach to having so many options;• Add value through combinations of offers and programs to retain existing customers;
  • Reduce hardware costs; and
  • Reduce compliance costs.

 

flowerSoft 2013 will also give you the option to switch from Dove Legacy to Dove Plus.  This will allow you to free a telephone line and also perform additional functions not available in the Dove legacy system.

This upgrade to flowerSoft 2013 is free of charge if you are currently paying support and your account is not in arrears.

If you do not wish to receive this free upgrade to flowerSoft 2013, please let me know asap.

Thanks.

Tip 108.1 – Improvement to Tip #108


Tip 108.1
Slight improvement to Tip #108

I’ve improved the Personal Message feature by making it accessible from the Client’s Profile record by hitting P + M, and from within an order by pressing F6 and going to the Client’s Profile record.

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From the customer’s profile record you can now hit P not just to see the customer’s previous payments on account, but now you can also select to enter a new or view an existing personal message.

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After you press P, select M to access the Personal Messages database instead of the Payments on Account database.

If not personal message exists for the customer, flowerSoft will allow you to enter a new one.
If a personal message exists for the customer, flowerSoft will allow you to view it, edit it or delete it.

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Please remember that only one personal message is allowed per customer and flowerSoft will not allow you to enter more than one.

If you can think of any other way to improve this new feature, please let me know.

Tip #108 – Personal Customer Messages


Tip #108
Personal Customer Messages

With flowerSoft Silver 2013, you’ll be able to add personal messages to statements and emails sent to customers.

In order to accommodate this new feature, we had to make some changes to the Client Operations option of the Manager’s menu.

Here is how the menu will look now:

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Instead of all the options being in one page, I’ve moved some of the less-used options to a second page.  This also gives me the ability to add more options to this menu in the future.

The next page of the menu will look like this…

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and highlighted you will see the new Customer’s Personal Messages option.

What this new option will do is send a personal 1-line message on statements and  emails sent to the customer.  Here is how it works…

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You will add a record for each customer you want to send a personalized message to.  Let’s say you have a customer who hasn’t paid his bill for a couple of months, you can send them a message saying “Your account is overdue!  Please pay as soon as possible.” and only that customer will see that message printed on their statement.

Here is what the screen will look like…

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As you can see, the message is limited to 1 60-character line and the message can be included in statements or emails sent to the customer.

Below are some examples…

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Most of you will not have this feature available yet as it is only included in flowerSoft’s new version, flowerSoft Silver 2013 and I am reluctant to install updates before a major holiday.

If you can think of any way in which this new feature can be improved, please let me know.

Tip #107 – Multiple Orders, a Different Way


Tip #107
Multiple Orders, a Different Way

Most of you know how to do multiple orders by selecting option #4 from the New Orders menu.
I guess that works well for orders where the customer walks into the store or phone orders when the # of recipients is 5 or less.

However, some of you are lucky enough to have customers that give 20, 30, 40 or more orders during a holiday, especially during Christmas.

Such large orders (we have one flowerSoft user that gets well over 200 orders from one single customer every Christmas, all going to different recipients) are obviously not meant to be entered while the customer is on the phone with you.

Most those orders are received through an email or a paper copy, indicating what is to be sent to each recipient.  Many times the product and value of the product are different for each recipient.

There is no getting around it, the first time you enter such an order is a lot of work, as there is nothing save in the system.

However, the following year if you are fortunate enough to get the same order from the same customer, flowerSoft can make entering the order a lot easier to manage with a lot less work on your part.

I know you are going to want to know how, except for the few of you who already know how to do this, but here it is for the rest of you that are not aware how to easily get these huge orders into flowerSoft.

  1. Go into the New Orders menu and start entering an order the way you normally do for the customer.
  2. When you get to the “Ordered By” field, press F8 to display the customers order history.  Remember, to do this the customer must have placed a similar order with you the previous year and you must have entered them into flowerSoft,
  3. Once the customer’s order history displays, you will notice that at the bottom of the screen, one of the options flowerSoft gives you is to “Mark/UnMark” the highlighted order.

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After you hit M on each highlighted order that you want to mark, flowerSoft will display  a check (v) mark to the right side of the order on the screen.  See below.

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Now please also notice that there is another option that reads P – Process Marked.

Once you finish marking all the existing orders that are repeated on this new orders, you can hit P to process the new orders.

What this will do is cause flowerSoft to start bringing up each order marked to be processed and allow you to make any necessary changes to the order, such as the delivery date.

flowerSoft will bring up each order in the order in which they were marked.  Make the necessary changes and save each one individually.

One thing, after the first order is processed, the method of payment cannot be changed.
In other words if the marked orders have different methods of payment, the new orders will all have the method of payment of the first ordered processed.

Once all the marked orders are processed, flowerSoft will display the message shown below.

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There you have it, an easier way to enter those huge orders from your wonderful customer(s) into flowerSoft.