As you do work for customers, ESC can automatically keep track of the important details of exactly what you did for them. This is typically done as part of the invoicing process, so as you tell the customer what you did, ESC will update their history record at the same time. This information is then visible on the Customer screen and to employees using ESC Mobile so you can see it at a glance the next time you do anything with the customer. It is also available through reports so that you can quickly see generic information such as how many unit replacements you have done in a certain period, regardless of the exact part, manufacturer or model. You can also use this information as part of your advertising campaign to send follow up letters and emails to customers that have had specific work done in a certain period. It is even possible to find customers you haven't done any work for in the past year and contact them to try and change that.
In order to track history well you will first need to determine what information is important to you and setup history codes to capture that information. For example, if it is important to you to see the number of new installations you have done in a specific period - you will want to setup a history code to track this. History codes can be added by going to the Sales pull-down menu.
- Go to Sales → Enter History Codes.
- Click Add New.
- Assign a Code and a Description. Usage Type may be left blank unless this code will be used for tracking usage.
- Click OK and then exit the History Codes screen.
Here are a few tips to consider when you are creating your codes.
- Start simply with just a few codes and add more as you need them.
- Descriptions can be modified when the code is used, so keep them generic when setting them up.
- The Code will not show on the printed invoice, so it doesn't have to make sense to the customer. Pick something that is easy to find and enter on the invoice.
In this example we have added a history code to track all new air conditioning unit installations that are over $10,000.00. You'll notice that the default Description has been replaced with notes that are specific to this particular installation.
The best way to enter history is to add it to the invoice as you're creating it. That way you can tell the customer what you did and track the history at the same time. To do this, create an invoice normally and then type the history code into the Item field in the body of the invoice. If you don't know the history code you can click on the down arrow in that field and to get a complete list of all the history codes you have entered; or use the default History Code 'HIST'.
It is also possible to enter history that the customer will not see by removing the check from the Print box when you put the history code on the invoice. This can be helpful to hide technical information or unflattering remarks about the customer - not that anyone would ever do that.
Note that it is NOT possible to enter a dollar value with a basic history code. These codes are used strictly to tell the customer what you did and track that information afterwards. It is possible, however, to track history using billing codes and parts. This can be a great time saver as you can combine billing the customer, telling them what you did, and tracking their history on a single line on the invoice.
To do this when setting up a billing code, simply check the Post to History box.
- Go to Sales → Enter Billing Codes.
- Click Add New to create a new billing code or double-click on the billing code in the list that you wish to edit.
- Make sure that the Post to History box is checked and that the code it setup as it should be.
- Click OK and then exit the Billing Codes screen.
To do this when setting up a part in the Inventory Entry screen, change the Post to History field on the General tab to Yes. This will send the description of the part to the customer's history when it is used on the invoice. You can also associate a real History Code with the part by selecting it in the following History Code field. This will cause the description of the history code to go to the customer's record instead of the description of the part.
A word of caution: Just because you can make every billing code or part post to history doesn't mean you should. A labor billing code with a description of labor doesn't tell you anything about what you did when you view it. As a general rule, use only one or two items that post to history per invoice. This will allow you to quickly see the major work that was performed and give you good reports on that as well. You can always drill down into the history record to recall the actual invoice and see the line item detail on it, if needed.
If you double-click a history record in the Customer screen or click the invoice number on one of the reports, it should recall the invoice. If the invoices can still be edited, simply make any changes you want and save it when you're done. If the invoice cannot be edited for some reason, such as a payment has been made against it or it has been posted to an accounting system, you will have to create an additional history record instead. The best way to do this is to create a no charge invoice or credit memo with a similar invoice number (such as putting an A at the end of the existing number).