Thursday, May 10, 2012

Messages System Improvements to Help with Employee Scheduling Communication

We know that on of the big draws to online scheduling is communication with your staff and always having that access at your fingertips. In the past Your Next Seven has had an "Alerts" window that allowed you as the manager to send out a SMS Text and Email to all of your employees with the push of a button. Now, even though that was awesome, we decided to make it awesomer (I think I'm going to coin that word.)

Introducing... Messages. Wait, messages? We've had that since the beginning. Not like this though, with our new Messages section you can now send out an email and/or a SMS Text to all or some of your employees. With advanced options available to both management and employees alike, communication is easier than ever. Here, enjoy some screenshots of the Messages goodness:

Dashboard View
On your Dashboard you will now see the messages (formerly alerts) widget. This will show the latest three messages that were sent out  as well as give you the ability to quickly navigate to your inbox and send a new message. Click on any of the previews to view the full message.

- So, we know that Dashboard View is pretty awesome. Now, on to the full view -

Yes, we're aware this is just simply beautiful. Feel free to leave any comments you'd like below. Now, for some substance let's walk through viewing messages from employees. You get a preview of the message left (100 characters to be exact) as well as the last time a message was added to the thread. What's a thread you ask? It's something like this:

The Thread
The message thread will allow all of your managers or employees that are tagged on the message to openly communicate. Need to discuss the upcoming meeting with your management staff? Planing a surprise birthday party? Need to put a message down for history letting your GM know what the last deposit was? Create a message and start a thread. It's really extremely simple to do and is always stored in history for your convenience.

- How do I create one of these magical "messages" you keep talking about? -

The best place to start when creating a new message is pushing the button that says "New Message" either from your Dashboard or your Messages page. (We like to keep things intuitive.) It's the features you want to know about. The features are something to behold for sure. Let's break down that page section by section.
  1. This shows your name. You know, in case you forgot.
  2. Quick and easy sending options. Send a message instantly to all of the management and employees by clicking their respective checkboxes, or drill down to specific recipients by clicking "Select Employees".
  3. Enter a subject line so the message content is easily recognized.
  4. Your message is what will be shown both in the "Messages" section and when the email is sent out. There is no limit to the amount of characters you can write.
  5. Easily copy your message to the optional SMS Text that will send to your employees. It automagically truncates your message to 140 characters.
  6. Optionally send out an SMS Text with your messages (up to 140 characters.) This can be the same or different than the original message written.
  7. Send it off! If the SMS section is filled out it will send an email and SMS to all of the employees tagged on the message. This will then create a message thread that employees can comment on. Ah... communication is great isn't it?

Well, that's all I have for you today folks. As always if you have any questions, comments or suggestions I'm always available to answer. Enjoy the new messaging features as we continue to make online scheduling easier than ever!

Feel free to watch our video on the new messaging features as well:

Your Next Seven, Inc - intuitive online employee scheduling
President / Lead Developer

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