As a general rule, deleting information in ESC is a bad idea. Once it is gone, there is no way to get it back or see that it was ever created. So if a customer were to call in and cancel a dispatch you created for them, you would have no way of knowing the dispatch ever existed. This can cover up the fact that you might be losing business because the customer thinks your rates are too high or you aren't able to get to them in a timely fashion. It can also cause confusion if the person canceling the appointment was not the same person that made it and they don't communicate well (which is a very funny story that I might tell in the future). So rather than delete the dispatch, cancel it instead. Here is a quick break down of how to do just that.
First, we need to create a non-billable dispatch type that will let us know the call is canceled and prevent it from appearing in our list of dispatches to invoice. To do this, go to the Dispatch pull-down menu and select Enter Dispatch Types. Click on Add New and set the name of this new Dispatch Type to CAN. Make sure Active is checked but Billable is NOT, then click OK to save it..
Next, let's edit your user permissions so that no one but the administrator can delete dispatches. This will force them to cancel them instead, which should give you a much better view of what actually happened throughout the day. This can be accomplished by clicking the Company pull-down menu and selecting Edit Users. Select the first non-administrative user and then click Edit. Click Next to go to the permissions screen. In the Selected Security Options section, scroll down until you can see the Dispatch → Screens → Delete Dispatches and make sure the box is NOT checked. Repeat this with each nonadministrative type user.
When you have a dispatch that you need to cancel, simply change the Dispatch Type to CAN on the Dispatch Entry screen (F4) and put in your dispatch notes (preferably with a time stamp). Change the status to Complete and save it. This will remove the dispatch from the board and prevent it from showing in the list of dispatches to be invoiced.
You can view the canceled dispatches at any time by going to theDispatch pull-down menu and selecting Dispatch List. Click Add New View on the left-hand side and name it Recently Canceled Dispatches. Once you have done that, change the Date Completed field to one of the pre-made options, such as Today or Yesterday, or choose Custom and pick your own date range. Click and drag it to the top of the list. Next, select the Dispatch Type filter and choose CAN. Click and drag that under Date Completed. Finally, on the Promised Date and Time filter, leave it blank but change the sort to Ascending and drag it below Dispatch Type. Save the view by clicking one of the default views, such as Open Dispatches, and selecting Yes when prompted to save it.
You can then recall the view at any time by simply clicking the Recently Canceled Dispatches on this screen to track why customers are calling to cancel.
Written by Vishal Bikhari
Featured in December 2011 Newsletter