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November Newsletter – Spread Some Sparkly Cheer

Amie Parnaby
30/11/2020
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November Newsletter

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Hello to everyone, it’s that time of the year again. The November newsletter marks the beginning of the end of 2020 (thank goodness!). Christmas gifts and decorations dominate stores, and Santa is making his breakthrough with video calling!  

It’s time to add a bit of sparkle to what has been a pretty grim year all-round.

With the Christmas season upon us, many superstores and shopping centres have taken a new approach to keep the festive spirit alive. The potential risks to customer and staff health and safety almost put the regular Santa visit in jeopardy. However, not to worry, Santa is still around for the kids. Now there are options across the world to schedule a COVID-safe visit to Santa or have a video chat with him (while he’s still in the North Pole getting ready for Christmas Eve).

So while we’ve been helping to schedule Santa’s video calls and in-person appearances, let’s see what else our developers have been bringing to the table.

Hot (or not) in November

It’s been an exciting month with some super-speedy developments, and some improvements to existing features. So let’s get started.

Private Booking.page Listing for Enterprises

Earlier this year, we released a new cluster system for our enterprise clients. This enables companies to place a geolocator widget on their websites, which allowed clients to find the closest available location. Now it is possible to add a dedicated page to our Booking.page directory with similar geolocational functionality. It’s also possible to add extra information to the booking page that the enterprise client wants to make available there.

As we offer a 14-day free trial for all users, we’ve now added a week to test the cluster solution too. Meaning that if you like the way we work but aren’t sure if we have the enterprise solution that’s right for you, you can give it a whirl first.

Optimising Gift Card Usage

In the past, when gift cards were issued, the recipients could only use them for a single transaction. So if the service they selected was less than the full value of the gift card, the client couldn’t redeem the remaining balance.

The recent updates to this feature mean that a client can use a single gift certificate multiple times until the balance has all gone. Additionally, admin users of the system can see how much of the gift card balance was used on each visit through the Issued Gift Cards report. 

Enhancements to Ticket Feature

When you issue tickets to clients attending events or for admission to premises (like a shopping mall or an ice rink), there are occasions when clients need to change their booking details or lose their tickets. Our recent enhancements to the ticketing feature now enable resending tickets to clients. Even with emailed digital tickets, sometimes, you just can’t find the email.

Further improvements to the ticket feature include more data on the printable PDF file and search enhancements. Alongside those details is the ability to re-validate tickets when booking information has changed.

December – Time For NEW and BIGGER Things

I may have mentioned that it’s almost Christmas, which means we have some treats in store, just around the corner.

Gift Card Image Upgrades

Our gift card image templates are ready for a facelift, just in time for the holiday gifting season. Of course, we have a new design for Christmas gift cards, but also a new beauty-style theme and an upgrade to the neutral monochrome version (everything goes with black and white  dahling!)

For all the new templates, we will also provide small-sized (business card) versions that will be useful as conveniently sized coupons. So companies can print sales or promotional coupons to hand out at events, to customers or even outside on the street, as an additional method of attracting new clients.

External Validation Plugin

We have had the Intake Forms feature for a long time. However, we now have additional fields, which allows users to add more fields into a booking form. Examples could be birth dates, gender, or queries relating to a specific service. Response fields can be menu selections or even text boxes, where people can describe preferences. 

The new plugin will collect data from intake fields and send responses to a predefined URL for external validation. Right now, this implementation is predominantly for the medical sector. They can validate data input to the booking system against information within their internal patient management systems. While extremely useful for the medical community, any company can use this plugin to validate client and customer information with their existing data systems. 

Booking Algorithm Enhancements

There are always tweaks required within the booking system, and two little one will get fixes in December.

  • Dynamic Calculation of Time Zones. 
    • Sometimes client times zones and company time zones differ because countries and even states occasionally have different time zones. Dynamic calculation of locational time zones will ensure client and company stay in sync, despite any fluctuations in time zone.
  • Approve Bookings and Related Resources. 
    • These two features have not been inclined to work together. Primarily because Related resources ideally would have eradicated the need for confirming the availability of resources. However, ensuring resource availability to carry out a service is not the only reason to use the approve bookings feature. These will soon work in sync.

HIPAA & Google Authenticator Security.

Security enhancements within the HIPAA data protection feature mean that SMS is no longer adequately secure enough to protect patient and client information. 

As the default method of user authorisation, we will use Google Authenticator for 2FA. For back-up access to systems. Authorisation by phone will still be available, but it will only be available if the user has validated their phone number previously.

As it is now possible to create up to 10 reserve codes for one-time usage, with the Google Authenticator, these will be used as another alternative method of user authentication.

The BIG Reveal! 

We’ve been keeping this little beauty under wraps because we know some people have been keeping tabs on our newsletters…

Have you ever thought about having a mobile app for your business that would let clients book easily from their mobiles and effect simple communication between client and company? If the answer is no, then it’s probably because it seems like an awful lot of work and expense.

But what if it wasn’t?

We’re using a new technology to make it possible for our users to create a client app for their booking management system without all the hassle of writing, compiling and submitting to the app approval process. We want to make communication between our users and their clients as simple as possible. 

From an icon on your client’s mobile screen, they will be able to book and reschedule appointments, see past bookings, and our users will be able to send notifications at a much lower cost than SMS.

The great news is that it’s only days away!

We are super excited about the potential this new feature has, and we hope you are too. Stay in touch for more information because it will be here soon, and we think it will be great for your business.

That’s it for November, Folks!

We hope you will keep coming back for our new updates and releases. Stay tuned for more excellent advice from our guest posters, user case studies, tutorials and explainer videos, and much more. 

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