Creating a Job/Sale

The purpose of the Callsheets, primarily, is to take down information from incoming callers, document the process, serve as a work-space for follow-through, and so on. Of course, you'll hope that a significant percentage of your callers are placing orders for service. Or perhaps you have someone at your sales counter buying a part. In either case, the relevant information first enters ServiceDesk through a Callsheet. These are the portal, you might say, for initiating every job or counter sale.

So what distinguishes a mere Callsheet (say one on which you've only taken and returned someone's call) from one that's used for an actual job or sale creation?

The secret lies in what you do with the Callsheet. If you wish to use it (and the information you've already entered upon it) to create an actual job or immediate sale, your task is simply to click on the Callsheet's option button that, appropriately, is labeled 'Job/Sale'. Or you can press Alt-J.

In either case, you'll immediately be presented with ServiceDesk's Create Job/Sale form. Though small, this form offers several options, most of which are self-explanatory. Typically, you'll want to leave most everything in its default state, and simply hit Enter or click on the indicated ‘Okay’ button. Now, ServiceDesk will do several things, all in the blink of an eye. These tasks are:

  1. It prints an invoice for the job or sale
  2. It creates a JobRecord under which, assuming it’s a job rather than mere counter sale, all further work and progress on the job will be managed and tracked
  3. If the job involves an already on-the-Callsheet-scheduled appointment, it enters that appointment into your ScheduleList; and
  4. The originating Callsheet's status is changed to show a job/sale has been created from it and that its task is thus done (accordingly, it goes dim and is ready for movement into the Callsheet Archive).

Of course, there are several details you may wish to know about.

For example, as the Create Job/Sale form displays, you'll notice you're immediately placed into a box labeled 'Assigned Tech.' The reason for this box: if you know at the time who you want as the technician for the job (or simply have a pretty good idea), you might as well make the assignment presently (just enter his initials). While you can wait and make the assignment later from your DispatchMap, it's nice to have it done from the start (assignments can be re-juggled later, regardless). Also, you'll notice there are options, immediately to the right, marked 'Tentative' or 'Definite' (it defaults to the former) The purpose: if the job's a recall, special request from a customer, or for any other reason definitely needs to go to a particular tech, you can so specify here (you can click on the 'Definite' option with your mouse, but it's even faster, after entering the tech's initials, to press your keyboard's right cursor key then the down key, as this will highlight and select the 'Definite' option without any movement of your hands from the keyboard).

If you've enabled the option in ServiceDesk that allows you to separate your sales among various company divisions or departments (see page 172), you'll also notice there's a box in which you must select the category to which the job or sale will belong (absent enabling this option, you'll see no such box, and needn't worry about this subject). Just click on the appropriate department title, or tab over to the box and use cursor keys to highlight the appropriate department, then press Enter to select.

At the top of the Create Job/Sale form, you'll also notice a box with several options marked 'Action Type.’ Basically, the default option is to both print an invoice and create a job. However, you can instead specify that you want to create a job without also printing an invoice (handy if you're dispatching the job by telephone to a technician in the field, and he's going to hand-print one from his location, so no additional physical invoice needs printed from your office). Or, you can just print information from the Callsheet onto paper (creating kind of a pseudo invoice, sans genuine InvoiceNumber) without creating a job or sale at all. Finally, if a job/sale was already created from the Callsheet, yet its status somehow got changed to indicate otherwise, you can simply specify that you want its status changed back. Just click on whichever option you prefer (usually it should be the first, default option).

You'll also notice that the Create Job/Sale form specifies the InvoiceNumber ServiceDesk will assign to the job/sale in question. If you've not yet specified a beginning number from the Settings form, for this purpose, you'll be urged at this point to do so. ServiceDesk tracks each of the numbers used, and will assign the next number, in sequence, to each subsequent job/sale. It is possible, if you wish, to change the number assigned in any specific instance (this does not change the number ServiceDesk tracks as the next one properly assigned). However, there should seldom (if ever) be any such need. In general, we caution against changing the number proposed if in fact you’re creating a job, for serious difficulties can arise if out-ofsequence numbers are assigned to items entered in the JobsCurrent file. Similarly, you'll note ServiceDesk displays the CreationDate that will be printed to your invoice. You can also change this, should the odd need arise.

Bear in mind, in regard to InvoiceNumbers, ServiceDesk prints them to the invoice for you. Thus, there is no need to have them advance-stamped to the invoice by your printing company. This saves money, and avoids the necessity of having to verify, with each invoice printing event, that the invoice in your printer is stamped to the same number as ServiceDesk is prepared to print. In the future, please be sure to order your invoices with a blank space for the number, but no number actually stamped in.

You'll find, both as you move from a Callsheet to the Create Job/Sale form and as you execute the form's 'Okay' button, ServiceDesk checks several elements to make sure all is in proper order for creating a job (at least everything it's capable of checking, such as that an appointment is in proper format, for example). A particularly helpful check, done in the background so you're not even aware of it, is to make sure you are not printing a new job with the same P.O. Number (typically involving dispatches from a home-warranty type of client) as was already used on a previous order. If ServiceDesk finds you're re-using such a number, it will bring it to your attention and suggest you reconsider your course.

Another useful check is that ServiceDesk examines your still pending Callsheets to make sure you're not printing from a new one, when in fact you should be printing from an earlier one. Specifically, we've noted that occasionally there will be a home-warranty type of job, on which we already have a Callsheet in connection with which we've been trying to schedule the customer. Eventually, the customer calls back to schedule, but doesn't mention they're doing so under that pending home-warranty dispatch. Formerly, without realizing the connection, we'd sometimes write-up such a person on a new Callsheet, assuming they were a cash customer (while in fact there was still that earlier, home-warranty dispatch pending). This additional check, by ServiceDesk, now warns before such a mistake occurs.

In regard to actually printing your invoice, please bear in mind that nearly every servicer has his or her own, preferred invoice layout. In creating ServiceDesk, we’ve not wanted to make you, as the user, bend to any particular design in this regard. Thus, we’ve setup the system so that ServiceDesk will print job-initiating work-order/invoice information onto whatever format you specify. There are instructions in the Appendix that describe how to setup for your own particular layout (see page 269). Of course, you can simply continue in using the default format that’s provided for you (primarily we provide it just to give you an easy and quick start), but for most operations we don’t think it will be most ideal. The biggest reason is because that default format is designed to print both form image and job-text onto previously blank paper, and we think generally it’s much more efficient to use invoices where the form-image has already been printed-in for you by a local printing company.

In regard to the process of creating the job and printing its invoice, there’s one more matter to note. One of our clients wanted to equip their technicians with a supplementary document that would outline the history of past jobs at the same location. It seemed like a good idea, so we've provided a feature to make it convenient (the printed information will consist of the history of prior jobs, data that you'll accumulate in ServiceDesk regardless). We mention it here because, if this is something you want to do, it probably makes sense to print these histories at the same time you print each new, job-initiating invoice.

The recommended procedure for this purpose is as follows. After printing the invoice, press F12 (thus bringing up the TechInterface form in CstmrDbase search mode, see page 209), then type the first several characters of the address in question. If matches come up, you can click on one, view it, and view adjoining ones simply by using the up or down cursor keys. If there's history you deem significant enough to send with your technician, press 'P' or 'Alt-P' to print it. ServiceDesk will remind you to be sure you've shifted to plain (i.e., non-invoice) paper, and on your consent will print the history of each item thus requested.

A final matter concerns the ability to re-print an invoice after the job-creating process has already been run. Perhaps, for example, your printer jammed, or had the wrong kind of paper in it, or suffered some similar problem when the process was first run—so you didn't get a good paper invoice, but have in fact created the job (i.e., a unique InvoiceNumber was pulled and used, a JobRecord was created, etc.). Or, perhaps you dispatched a job to one tech, and he's got the physical invoice, yet calls in that he can't make it. Thus, you need a new copy to give to a different tech. Regardless, do not ever attempt print an existing job's invoice, once the job has been created, by running through the job-creating process again from its originating Callsheet. Instead, any new efforts to print the invoice should be made from its now existing record in the JobsCurrent form (press F7). There is a utility there provided for the purpose. Simply bring up the record wanted, then click on the command button labeled 'Print Copy' or press Alt-P. Ironically, the correct method is also the easy one.

Otherwise, if you do it the wrong way, you'll essentially be creating a new, duplicate of the original job (i.e., a new and different JobRecord, InvoiceNumber, etc.). We've found by experience that neophytes tend to make this mistake unless warned, so (you may find if you personally make such a mistake) ServiceDesk does it's best to steer the errant user away from such a course.