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History or Notes

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Nickel Super Contributor
Posts: 548
Country: United States

Re: History or Notes

Mike,

 

The problem with combining Notes with Histories is the definition and use for each respectively.

 

We teach our customers that Notes are to be used for commentary information such as background, likes, dislikes and more narrative information about the contact himself.  I might include a note that says something like "John and Mary are going through a divorce and want to separate their assets equally but they do not like each other..." OR "Jim just purchased the business from Jane Smith.  Jim was the lead sales person for the organization for 20 years under Jane's leadership.  Jane retired and sold the business to Jim..."

 

ACT! History, on the otherhand, is a chronological accounting of all things that have been done with or for the contact. It is the point of true "contact management". 

 

If you combine Notes with History, over time, the narrative notes will be driven down into the history causing the user to have to scroll down or further filter out to find and read the narrative.

 

For example, I might have some substantial information regarding a client's likes and dislikes.  These likes and dislikes have nothing to do with the history of his accounts.  If I combine these notes with my histories, I will lose the forest from the trees.

 

If the user beleives that purpose of ACT! Notes is to record contact history, he will disassociate the notes data from the history data.  If the user does what Roy suggests, the user has marginalized the "type" of contact history to simply "a note".  The reality of the actual contact might have been a completed call or held meeting.   If he uses a generic activity type he creates called "Note", what would he use this type for?  Would he use it for other history types that already exist?  (By the way, a completed call and held meeting history will automatically update fields on the contact screen labled as Last Reach and Last Meeting.  These fields are searchable, sortable and reportable.)  If a generic Note was used as a history type, no system date field would be updated on the contact screen.

 

Separating Notes from Histories is smart if the user understand the difference between the two. 

New Member
Posts: 7
Country: United States

Re: History or Notes

It was refreshing to see this thread as it appears to be a common stumbling block for new users and especially for users that begin to look beyond just hack-ish use of ACT and want to use the advanced capabilities.

 

I have one question, and I apologize in advance if it turns out to be a bit vague.  I just heard from one of our salesmen on this yesterday and I've not been able to investigate it myself, and I'm no ACT expert.

 

In transitioning from the "use notes for everything" mindset into the scheduler/history for contact specific activities, a hickie seems to be that a scheduled but related event, say a reminder to phone before an upcoming meeting, never makes it into history or is removed (again, vague, sorry), once the related event is cleared.  The salesman wants to keep that phone call record in history.

 

Any thoughts?

 

/j

Jim Burns
Technology Dynamics
Pearland, TX

Act! 10.0.3.182, hf 1, standard
Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 14,596
Country: Australia

Re: History or Notes


@jimburns wrote:

In transitioning from the "use notes for everything" mindset into the scheduler/history for contact specific activities, a hickie seems to be that a scheduled but related event, say a reminder to phone before an upcoming meeting, never makes it into history or is removed (again, vague, sorry), once the related event is cleared.  The salesman wants to keep that phone call record in history.

 


 

When clearing a scheduled Call, you can mark it as Completed, Left Message, Attempted, Recieved - these will go into History. There is also the option to Erase - that will not go into History

 

If you haven't scheduled it and either make or recieve a call, just press Ctrl-H (Record History) and enter it and the details that way

New Member
Posts: 2
Country: United States

Re: History or Notes

Scotta said,"over time, the narrative notes will be driven down into the history causing the user to have to scroll down or further filter out to find and read the narrative."  One way to prevent a note containing important information from getting buried beneath more current notes is to date that note far into the future.  Since the notes will be displayed by their dates, the one with the important information will always be on the top.
Platinum Elite Contributor
Posts: 6,865
Country: USA

Re: History or Notes


@COPYGUY wrote:
 One way to prevent a note containing important information from getting buried beneath more current notes is to date that note far into the future.  Since the notes will be displayed by their dates, the one with the important information will always be on the top.

 

 DON'T DO THAT! You risk corrupting your database. I just had to refer someone to database repair because they had done that in their ACT! 6 database and then it would not convert to ACT! 2009. 
 
 
Roy Laudenslager
Retired ACT! Certified Consultant
ACT! Report Expert
Durkin Impact Report Designer
www.techbenders.com
royel@techbenders.com
541-343-8129
Copper Contributor
Posts: 42
Country: United States

Re: History or Notes

To Jim and other New Users,  I think one issue that will help you and help your sales people to use Act with more CERTAINTY is to start with reports and see how they are created, often automatically, in Act.  This will resolve some of the questions about Notes, History or why I have to schedule something like a phone cal, just to clear it five minutes later.  Here are two examples - the History Summary Classic is a fast and easy way to see how many calls, meeting and letters have been accomplished with your customers. The data only gets into the report if the action is scheduled and cleared.  Thus if you want to see why sales are up or down, this is a fast check on work with either the entire database or with only one contact.  In the Contact Staus report it too gets data about actions with the clients/contact but it also has notes and history - presented differently, but still helpful in the sales process.

 

Finally, when sales people ask, why should I do all of this? Think of it like two car companies GM and Honda one builds a car that is very reliable and costs less to operate. That company follows a system and takes extra effort to create customer satisfaction by building their product using touches the other company does not use. These tools I described above allow you to be more like that company if you use Act properly.

Copper Contributor
Posts: 15
Country: United States

Re: History or Notes

We are about to start using our new ACT db as both a prospect db and a client db. We have sales agents that need to enter information, but we will also have admin staff that will record any client service calls, etc. We have considered telling sales agents to use only the notes tab & admin to use only the history tab so that prospect and client correspondence and information will be seperate. But...thinking more long term I can see where we might regret making that seperation. Would it be better to go ahead & allow them all to use whichever is most appropriate based on the info in other posts?

 

Any thoughts or guidance?

Thanks!!

Copper Contributor
Posts: 42
Country: United States

Re: History or Notes

You are entering an interesting new world - you have customer activity and prospect activity mixed into the same database - this can be a great learning experience for your people.  For example, a sales person may make many promises as they attempt to get a customer...someone must fulfill them.  It can be a great thing if the people doing the services KNOW what are the expectations of the customer. You may find that in a long time frame some of your sales people - knowing that they are watched via their piers will make promises that are consistent with you deliverables. Conversly, if you customer service people know that what is said or done with a  customer can be seen by many - your support may improve.

 

It is also possible that you may need to have a prospect database for people that are getting mail but not much sales activity - until the activity builds to a point that the record is moved into your more active database.

Copper Contributor
Posts: 42
Country: United States

Re: History or Notes

I have one other thing for you to consider in the preperation of your customer service and act db.  You can add fields and a tab for those things which you want seperate, like data that the customer service people may collect vs. the sales people who may be working on process - closing business.  But, when you consider that both sales and service may find value in knowing birthdays or the anniversary of when someone becomes a customer - then you can see the POWER of Act in new ways. You see teh service people can give your sales people a heads up on the level of satisfaction a customer is experiencing.  This can help you retain customers via the cooperation of team work.
Gold Contributor
Posts: 3,756
Country: United_Kingdom

Re: History or Notes

To my mind the piece of functionality currently missing from ACT! is that you can't set up a dashboard to report on History, only Activities (+ Opps). This is a problem for many many users who just want a quick visual check on things like "How many telephone calls did we make last week", especially in a telesales environment. Expecting a telesales operative to schedule a call, then clear it again is often asking too much. Similarly, when incoming calls are logged, are we really going to schedule a call then clear it just so we can see the numbers in the dashboard? Probably not.

 

The one click Record History is not the perfect answer but it's is the quickest way at the moment of recording this sort of information.

 

Jeff

Jeff Granger
UK ACT! Specialist and Trainer

ACT Training Throughout The UK
www. bigbluemarketing.co.uk