How GearHost Keeps the Gears Moving with SmarterTrack

RyanKekos

Ryan Kekos is the CEO and Lead Visionary of product services at GearHost, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud built for .NET, PHP and Node.js developers who need to launch and scale applications quickly. We caught up with Ryan to chat about their experience using SmarterTrack for customer support.

 

 

What is GearHost and how did it get started?

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.08.09 PMIn short, GearHost is a cloud host that specializes in .NET, PHP and Node.js developers. We started around 2000 and focused on traditional web hosting in the Windows market. Then, in 2008, we moved to the cloud and started developing applications that we would serve to customers in the cloud. This came through about four iterations of our services. We finally landed on Octane, what is now the GearHost platform, something that we’ve been developing for the last two years and was launched about six months ago.

How many members are on your team?
There are 9 main employees at GearHost that manage most of the architecture that we have. We do have some additional employees fully staffed on the development side and design side, and we’re currently ramping up some additional support members.

But the main chunk of people that aren’t listed are the thousands of customers we have. We view them as part of our team because of the feedback they provide and all the information they’re able to give to us to build a better platform. They’re not listed there obviously, but they’re definitely part of that team.

And about how many users would you say you support?
Right now we’re around 12,000 users, if we include the four different service stacks that we offer.

Let’s talk helpdesks. When did you first get started with SmarterTrack as your helpdesk software?
I think it was around the 2005-2006 era. It was about a year after we got started using the SmarterMail product.

You’ve been with us a long time! SmarterTrack offers a number of methods for communication with users. What would you say your team uses the most to support your customers?
We primarily use the ticketing system. We’ve used all the methods that SmarterTrack has provided over the years before we did our Zendesk migration, and even when we came back to you guys, we continued exploring it. While the other features are good for supporting customers, we feel that SmarterTrack’s emphasis is primarily at the support ticketing level, so we’ve restricted that product to just that.

Tell me more about that Zendesk migration. From my understanding, about two years ago, you switched over to Zendesk for a bit and tried that out. What inspired that transition?
So we were looking for a Software as a Service (SaaS) based solution that has tight integration to other products and services that exist on the market today. And I guess I want to say that was just an idea; that wasn’t a business requirement. We thought Zendesk would be the solution to better integration with other products and services, even though we didn’t need it, and we had no idea what we would integrate with. We were kind of just looking at the grass on the other side of the fence. We saw all of these solutions being brought together. Plus it had other things – just a prettier interface for customers. You have to remember we were using the static platform that SmarterTrack provided. At that time, the Zendesk portal had a much stronger interface for supporting our customers. It also had an iOS and Android app so you can do support tickets on your iPad, iPhone, your Android app, without going specifically to a website. It’s an actual application with push notifications and all that.

During your time with Zendesk, did you feel like anything was missing that you had in SmarterTrack?
We didn’t have the ability to fully control our data, even if it was things like ticket deletions that may be needed… You have no ability for some of these permission controls. You have to abide by their business rules. Follow ups is another one. Zendesk doesn’t have any type of follow-up with customers. There’s also the reporting. As a hosting company, you want really simple but good, detailed reports. At Zendesk, you have to pay a lot of money to get the good, detailed reporting, and when you do pay the money, it’s extremely hard to use. Whereas I can go into SmarterTrack’s platform and select an executive report or a report for specific employees very easily as compared to the Zendesk platform.

Well, we’re definitely glad to have you back, Ryan! What made the decision to move back over to SmarterTrack?
The primary reason is we wanted tighter integration with our solutions here at GearHost. When making Octane and providing this new product, we needed a solution that had very tight integration with our services platform. We did not want to have multiple logins through different providers. We didn’t want to have this whole issue of different portals that customers have to navigate through, and we honestly didn’t want to have to use anyone’s pre-template based solution for providing support to GearHost customers – meaning we didn’t want the look and feel of any integrated KB article system from Zendesk or SmarterTrack. And the reason we chose SmarterTrack is because it provides a very strong API that we’re able to use to manipulate the software to build our own support platform how we want it to feel and look and how we want it to operate. It’s our interface. It’s our look and feel. It’s our design. But it’s fully working on the SmarterTrack backend – all based on your API. That was the strong reason for coming back.

The highlight of GearHost is simple cloud hosting, and when you log into our control panel, you’ll see that the hosting architecture that GearHost provides is a very complicated set of technologies, but we make it very, very simple in the control panel for you to do what you need to. And that’s what we needed: a simple ticketing system from a customer facing standpoint that we could drive via an API, so we chose SmarterTrack.

Tell me about your overall experience with SmarterTrack. When answering, think not just about the software but of your overall experience with SmarterTools as well. Features, ease of implementation, pricing, customer service – these all work together to make a difference.
The experience with SmarterTrack and SmarterTools is a really good experience for GearHost. We’ve been a customer nonstop for over 10 years, and we enjoy that relationship, especially as you guys have grown over the years into what you are now. The SmarterMail platform is great. The SmarterTrack platform has always been great.

Dealing with a company that’s highly focused on these items for a hosting company is a real key. Zendesk is a great platform, but it’s not designed for hosting companies. While SmarterTools is not designed specifically for hosting companies either, that’s where you got your start, and you can see a lot of that in your software.

Working with your management team over the years over issues has been great. From a support standpoint, we’ve had nothing but great experiences for the most part. Overall we just really enjoy working with the people at SmarterTools, so coming back to them for this product was a real native thing for us.

Are there any areas of improvement you’d suggest?
I have no recommendations for changes on a company level. I think what you’re doing is great. The pricing is extremely competitive and fair. You guys are committed to those frequent development cycles and improving the product. The fact that SmarterTools allows Partners to give software bundles to other customers is a huge plus. Hopefully it’s a win for SmarterTools as well, but that’s a huge win for customers that are able to engage in that platform, so we obviously appreciate that.

In terms of suggestions for SmarterTrack, overall the only main areas I’d hit on are:

  • Integrations with other products, like Dropbox or GitHub or anything that makes it a more centralized focus for the team would be really good. That was a key highlight for Zendesk on the administrator side – that we can hook into third party vendors or analytics systems or whatever we wanted to do that could feed data from Zendesk into their own platform.
  • A mobile app with push notifications that gives very strong integration natively, rather than in a website.
  • Better ability to know when a support engineer is working on, or even looking at, a case. Right now, you take a ticket and own a ticket. But at GearHost, we like to see everyone’s tickets so we know what everyone is working on. Something for more of a collaborative effort on the queue as a whole would be extremely helpful.

But like I said, we’re really happy with the product and this fits our business needs perfectly from the API standpoint. The API is so good; we really enjoy working with it.

 

Thanks for using SmarterTrack and supporting us through the years, GearHost! Check out their latest and greatest platform, Octane, at www.gearhost.com

Interested in sharing YOUR SmarterTools story? Get in touch with our Communications Team at communications@smartertools.com!

2nd Quarter Recap!

This quarter has been a busy one at SmarterTools! In the past three months, we’ve had two major version releases, as well as a fun promotion to reward customers for sticking with us through the years. Below you’ll find a quick recap, and as an added bonus, you can participate in the $100 Credit Giveaway! 

Customer Appreciation Game on TapFoo

PrivateGameThe Customer Appreciation Game held on TapFoo was a great way to say “Thanks!” for allowing us to serve you for the last 12 years. Customers had the chance to download TapFoo, a mobile gaming app, and play to win over $14,000 in free prizes, including a 40″ TCL Roku TV, 1TB external hard drive, Roku 3, HP Elitebook, 10″ Galaxy Tab 4, SmarterTools products and more! Customers had fun winning free prizes, and we had fun giving back! Based on TapFoo’s location, this game was limited to U.S. players only. So if you missed your chance to win, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with the upcoming…

$100 SmarterTools Credit Giveaway!

10 lucky winners will receive a $100 credit for any SmarterTools purchase! Anyone can participate, and you have two ways to enter to win!! Contest ends Thursday, July 16th at 3:00pm MST. Participants will be gathered via Facebook and Twitter, and winners will be selected at random. Check back to see if you’re one of the lucky 10!

Follow the steps below to enter the giveaway:

Twitter

  1. You must Follow @smartertools on Twitter.
  2. Retweet the giveaway post posted earlier today, July 13th.
  3. Check back Thursday, July 16th to see the lucky winners!

Facebook

  1. You must Like SmarterTools on Facebook.
  2. Like the giveaway post posted earlier today, July 13th.
  3. Check back Thursday, July 16th to see the lucky winners!

The following terms and conditions apply: Only two entries per person (one via Facebook, one via Twitter). Those found to use multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible. $100 credit will be applied to the customer’s account in the SmarterTools customer database. Credit does not expire but cannot be transferred among accounts. Winners will be notified via Facebook and Twitter and must contact SmarterTools within 30 days to provide an account email address to credit. $100 credit is valid toward ANY SmarterTools purchase. To use the credit, contact the Sales Department for a discounted price quote. This sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or Twitter. 

Updated Business Hours

Effective May 19th, the SmarterTools business hours are: Monday-Friday 7:00am-4:30pm MST (GMT -7).

We are always looking for ways to better serve customers, and adjusting our business hours proved to be one of the easier methods found. Over the last few months we’ve tracked calls and have found that these hours provide customers with the best coverage and availability to our team.

New Versions Available!

Let’s give a shout out to the developers who were kept extra busy this quarter! With over 120 release notes combined, SmarterTrack 11.x and SmarterMail 14.x are two of the larger releases we’ve had, combing new features and efficiencies that continue to make both SmarterTrack and SmarterMail extremely popular with end users and administrators alike. A detailed list of new features can be found on each product’s What’s New page, but here are some of the highlights:

SmarterTrack 11.x – Released April 30th

  • A complete overhaul of the Settings section makes everything incredibly easy to find and rids the interface of unnecessary settings. We consolidated features and functions, reduced the number of settings and pages and drastically improved the overall structure.
  • The users and Organizations section in SmarterTrack’s Management Interface allows agents to view all communications from multiple users within the same organization. By associating multiple users to an organization, agents will no longer have to browse through tickets or users; they can simply choose the company the customer is associated with and they’ll see all the information they need.
  • New ticket views are now available: Recent Activity and Recently Transferred. All tickets that have been modified in any way will appear in the Recent Tickets view, whether you’ve simply added a comment, changed the priority or sent a ticket response. The Recently Transferred ticket view will list all tickets that have left your queue altogether, regardless of whether they were taken by another agent or transferred out.
  • Users can add a personal touch to each of their posts in the Community with the ability to add signatures! On the management side of things, new community reports have been created that show just how engaged your employees are with your community, making quality control simpler than ever.
  • See a more comprehensive list of What’s New in SmarterTrack.

SmarterMail 14.x – Released June 8th

  • Administrators can customize the SmarterMail login page to add a company logo, provide additional branding text, or simply adjust the default “Login to SmarterMail” text to be more in line with an overall brand message. Because specific domains can be chosen to override the login page settings, Web hosts and ISPs can choose to offer this customization for free or to use it as an upsell opportunity for their hosting plans.
  • Message Sniffer is now offered as an optional third-party add-on. It complements SmarterMail’s built-in antispam and antivirus features and accurately captures more than 99% of spam, viruses, and malware right out of the box.
  • With a more recent version of Exchange Web Services, a data synchronization protocol that allows communication between an email client and the mail server, more third-party email clients are now supported, including Outlook 2015 for Mac from Office 365 and the Outlook client for iPads.
  • Users can create additional personal calendars for their account and adjust the default calendar selected when creating new appointments. Additional account calendars can also be synced using Exchange ActiveSync, Exchange Web Services, CaldDAV and SharePoint.
  • See a more comprehensive list of What’s New in SmarterMail.

We Want Your Feedback

Our developers are back at it! Third quarter marks the start of production on the next versions of our products. While we’ve got some features planned and ideas on what else to include, we’d like to know what YOU want to see in the next major versions of SmarterMail, SmarterTrack and SmarterStats. Tell us in the Community! Vote up the Idea threads that you’d like to see implemented, or create your own if your idea hasn’t been proposed. Add your input. Ask questions and let us know the features that matter the most to you! Now is the time to participate in the conversation.

Visit the Community

SmarterMail 14.x BETA Now Live!

We’re excited to announce the BETA of the next version of our popular Windows mail server: SmarterMail 14.x! Over the last few major releases we focused on building upon our incredibly powerful email platform and improving upon the features and tools that System Administrators need. With this latest release, we focused on bringing the features that users love and that improve their day-to-day use of SmarterMail.

In addition, SmarterMail 14.x brings several new features, server side optimizations and fixes that continue to make SmarterMail compatible with the latest Internet trends. As with all releases, we worked closely with customers and partners, and while we couldn’t incorporate everyone’s ideas into this release, we prioritized our users’ wants to create a new version of SmarterMail that we think you will really like.

Let’s take a look at what’s new!

Unique Logins for Each Domain

Brand Identity

SmarterMail 14.x allows administrators to create unique login screens for every domain. Small businesses using SmarterMail on their own servers, or even companies using SmarterMail from their hosting provider, will benefit from the ability to customize the SmarterMail login page to add a company logo, provide additional branding text, or simply adjust the default “Login to SmarterMail” text to be more in line with an overall brand message. Imagine that Howie’s Home Design has 100 employees who regularly use SmarterMail. By adding custom login text, Howie’s can aid employees having trouble accessing their mail by providing links to their own documentation or adding information on how to contact support – directly from the login page!

Additionally, these customizations are especially beneficial for Web hosts and ISPs, where each domain represents a separate entity. Because administrators can decide which domains are able to override the login page settings, Web hosts and ISPs can choose to offer this customization for free or to use it as an upsell opportunity for their hosting plans. They can give their customers the choice of whether users see the default SmarterMail login page or one customized to that company’s brand. Furthermore, since hosted domains are able to provide their own contact information and support links, Web hosts and ISPs will see a reduction in calls and support requests from users who belong to a company they host.

White Label Your Installation

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 5.16.02 PM

A powerful brand identity is a vital component of any company. For this reason, SmarterTools allows companies to white label SmarterTools products at no additional charge. This can be done in conjunction with the customized login page mentioned above and the recent change to the End User License Agreement allowing administrators to completely remove the SmarterTools copyright information from the Web interface. Whether you’re creating your own private email platform or attempting to market email as your brand or service, you can present to your users a completely customized experience! Add to this the ability to include custom text in the Help menu, that can direct users to your own help documentation or contact page, and you’ve got an entire email platform dedicated to your company’s brand, from login all the way to support resources!

Multiple Calendar Support

MultiCalendar

SmarterMail 14.x introduces the ability to add multiple calendars to a single user account. Do you prefer managing personal and work appointments separately? Do you have a separate project that you want to track alone? Well now you can by creating a new SmarterMail calendar for your account! Along with being able to add as many calendars as needed, users can add their own custom color to the calendars they have available. When viewing all calendars together, the customized color can help dictate the calendar for the appointment being viewed. Even better, users can sync their additional account calendars using Exchange ActiveSync, Exchange Web Services, CalDAV and SharePoint. This means they have access to all of their personal appointments, not only within the SmarterMail Web interface but in their preferred email client or application as well. (For the initial BETA, users can sync multiple personal calendars through EAS alone. However, the additional protocol support for EWS, CalDAV and SharePoint will be added throughout the BETA.)

Connect and Share Using Dropbox and OneDrive

OneDrive_DropBox

We take file storage to the next level by adding support for Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive! File storage was adopted early on in SmarterMail, making file sharing a breeze. Continuing to build upon that, and similar to the Google Drive file sharing that was made available in an earlier version, we’ve added the ability to connect SmarterMail to your Dropbox and Microsoft Onedrive accounts.This means you can link to files two ways: using SmarterMail’s built in file storage or linking to files you’ve stored in your preferred cloud storage account. Even better – you don’t have to manage the permissions for your files with any of the integrated services as SmarterMail will automatically modify the file share so that anyone with access to your linked file can easily open it, view it or work with it!

EWS Support for Office 365 for Mac

EWSOffice365SmarterMail 14.x adds support for a more recent version of Exchange Web Services, a data synchronization protocol that allows communication between an email client and the mail server. Support of this updated version means users can seamlessly sync SmarterMail messages, contacts, calendars and tasks to third-party email clients like Microsoft Office 365 for Mac. (Though currently not available in the initial BETA release, SmarterMail 14.x will include support for this newer EWS version in the final version release or the minor immediately thereafter.)

Create a Disposable Alias

Disposable-AddressSmarterMail has always included Plus Addressing, a variation of your email address that allows you to automatically filter incoming mail into folders without first creating a content filtering rule. This is a useful way to sign up for newsletters and subscriptions without cluttering your inbox. But what about those times when you only need a temporary sign up or don’t want to give out your email address and get inundated with spam messages? With SmarterMail 14.x, you can now create a Disposable Address!

A Disposable Address is a randomly generated address, completely independent of a user’s current email address. This address acts as a timed alias, forwarding mail to the designated folder for however long the user specified. When the time limit has been reached, the address is no longer valid and mail will not reach your mailbox. You get what you need from the newsletter or service and can rest easy knowing you won’t receive an increase in spam messages.

View Multiple Resources Simultaneously

MultiViewResourcesIn this version, we bring collaboration to the next level by adding the ability to view all calendars – shared and native – in one calendar interface. The same holds true for viewing contacts, tasks and notes as well. This is an easy way to have all of your similar data presented together without having to switch between what’s natively in your account and what is shared to you! By simply checkmarking the resources you want to view, you can check out your own calendar appointments along with any that have been assigned on your Domain shared calendar, easily compare your own tasks with a coworker’s shared list and so much more! The ability to view like-items together gives you less time managing displays and more time focusing on what’s important.

Is that all?

Of course not! SmarterMail 14.x offers many more features and improvements. You’ll find them in the release notes posted in the SmarterMail 14.x BETA category of the SmarterTools Community, but here are a few more that might be of interest:

  • Using Mailbox Migration, users can import tasks from Gmail!
  • Administrators can customize the messages sent for certain automated emails. (For the initial BETA, this is limited to only the messages sent out to users for expiring passwords or password violations, but additional uses will be added throughout the BETA.)
  • When a folder is deleted from SmarterMail, along with being removed from the Web interface, it’s also deleted from the hard drive! Restoring a user’s account will be much faster as SmarterMail Administrators will no longer have to manually remove previously deleted folders. Furthermore, SmarterMail 14.x will do a one-time cleanup all of the current orphaned folders.
  • Unsubscribe links for mailing lists can now be given friendly text instead of displaying the unsubscribe URL.
  • For better spam handling, blocked senders will now block on the From address in the header of the message, in addition to the Mail From address given in the SMTP session.

Getting started with the BETA

To get your hands on the BETA simply visit the SmarterMail 14.x BETA Information thread, where you’ll see how to:

  • Sign up for the BETA
  • Get a special BETA license key
  • Download the latest BETA release (we update it regularly)
  • Communicate with other BETA testers and the SmarterTools development team
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest release note and BETA news

Sign up for the BETA

Dell Inspiron 13 7347 Review

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 Tablet

Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 Tablet

So in my last few posts, I’ve reviewed things like the Microsoft Band, the HP Stream 11 and, of course, my initial feelings about the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. While many of my reviews have been somewhat critical of Microsoft and their direction, I hope you’ve seen that, in my heart, I really do want Microsoft to succeed. Being a long-time Windows guy, I just can’t fathom a world without Microsoft.

I’m happy to say that with some recent changes, especially from the top down, that Microsoft really seems to be making a comeback. And this is what prefaces this review of the Dell Inspiron 13 7347.

First off, some specifications:

CPU: Intel i5 1.7GHz native
RAM: 8GB DDR3 memory
HDD: 500GB 5400 RPM drive
DISPLAY: 13.3 in. IPS display at 1920 x 1080 resolution
SLOTS: HDMI 2560, 3 USB (2 – 3.0, 1 – 2.0), SD MMC, Security
OS: Runs Windows 8.1 out-of-the-box, more on this later
BATTERY: 43WHr, 3-cell battery with 5 hours of battery life
DIMENSIONS: .75” (19.41mm) x 12.99” (330.12mm) x 8.74” (222mm), 3.68 lbs
MISCELLANEOUS: Passive stylus
PRICE: $699.00 from Costco – the 11″ version is available for $499.00

With that out of the way, here are some of my original stream-of-consciousness notes: The keyboard is great; Overall feel of this is awesome – almost a rubber feel to it, easy to hold, the perfect texture; however, it is a big bit when using as a tablet; Screen is a little on the dark side, but the resolution is fantastic; Great deal when compared to the Surface, though the Surface has a better profile and is lighter; Wi-fi works perfectly and better than both the Surface and MacBook Pro, which have had issues.

My initial reason for getting this laptop was for my kids. As I’ve documented in the past, I’ve wanted a device that was cost effective but that offered a high degree of flexibility and power for my kids. The HP Stream 11 was great as it’s really inexpensive and is a great media device for the kids, perfect for YouTube, Netflix, etc. when their outside, when they go to friends’ houses, etc. However, it lacks a certain amount of power for some of the things they’re starting to get into now, like editing movies and doing some more involved graphics. That’s where this Dell comes in.

As a convertible — yes, the Dell Inspiron 13 7347 converts from laptop to tablet just like the Lenovo Yoga — this “laptop” can replace the HP for my kids without too much concern on my part. Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I *did* make some modifications to this after I got it. I do have to say, however, that these changes were extremely easy to make and really make a great machine even better.

First, I replaced 5400 RPM hard drive with a SSD. Then, instead of running Windows 8.1, I put the latest Tech Preview of Windows 10 on it after the hardware upgrades. All-in-all, a painless process that really made a lot of difference. It appears that making hardware changes to this laptop — hard drive, battery, RAM, wi-fi card, etc. — are REALLY simple. That said, the laptop is great right from the box. I only modified it to a) see how easy it was and b) well…because I could.

Regarding this being a “convertible” laptop, I’ve used the Surface Pro 2 and the Surface Pro 3, which are marketed as half laptop, half tablet. The Dell is primarily a laptop with the ability to convert to a tablet. I see this as a much better combination as the Dell has the benefits of a true keyboard but with the ability to change to a full touchscreen tablet. I think people in general will see this as well as they need all the functionality of a laptop but want the portability and usefulness of a tablet. You get that, and much more.

To put the finishing touch on this review, let’s talk displays. I may be the odd man out, but higher resolution displays are not all that important to me. This is partly due to how poorly Windows deals with DPI scaling and some other things. The Surface Pro 3 at 2160 x 1440 is just a bit too small for me, though the display is better overall, but the 1920 x 1080 on the IPS display of the Dell is pretty good. Angles are great but brightness and whites seem a bit dark and sometimes show a hint of yellow. Regardless, they’re minor inconveniences and I think I only noticed them because I was specifically looking for problems.

Overall, the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is a great, reasonably priced convertible laptop, offering the functionality of a laptop with the convenience of a tablet. Had Dell put a slightly better HD graphics card in this, I dare say I’d consider it a perfect device.

Now, I can’t end this without some commentary on Windows 10. I’ve been running it for awhile across a number of different devices, and I have to say I’m impressed. Microsoft seems to be taking the right approach to Windows 10. My perception is that they’re stepping away from building a “tablet only” interface that works on a desktop and, instead, making a “better” desktop OS that also works well on a tablet. In my opinion, THAT’S the way to go, and Microsoft is making commendable headway. I see Windows 10 becoming quite a formidable platform.

SmarterTrack 11.x BETA Now Live

We’re excited to announce the BETA of the next version of our popular helpdesk: SmarterTrack 11.x! Customers using the hosted solution at http://www.SmarterTrack.com will continue to run the latest production release until SmarterTrack 11.x is fully released to the public in the first quarter of 2015.

Over the last few major releases, we’ve focused on providing you tools to effectively communicate with your customers through an intuitive, self-service Portal and an interactive, online Community. With SmarterTrack 11.x, we focused on bringing two additions that have been heavily requested throughout the years: the ability to group all communication from a company/organization while also simplifying the initial setup and day-to-day administration of SmarterTrack. You’ll see both of these features in SmarterTrack and much more! While we couldn’t incorporate everyone’s ideas, we prioritized the wants of our users and partners to create a new version of SmarterTrack that we think you’ll be really happy with.

Let’s take a look at what’s new!

Easy Setup and Day-to-Day Configuration

Old and New Settings

With every major release, SmarterTrack has continued to grow, with new features added as well as improvements made to the already extensive feature set. With this release, it was time to take a look at the overall workflow and redesign the Settings area to make the initial setup and the day-to-day administration much easier.

SmarterTrack 11.x brings you a complete overhaul of the Settings section, making everything incredibly easy to find and ridding the interface of unnecessary settings. We looked at which settings were being used most by agents and administrators and how those settings interact with each other. We consolidated features and functions, reduced the number of settings and pages and drastically improved the overall structure. We think you’ll find it as efficient and streamlined as we do.

While a change this big could sound overwhelming, there’s no need to be concerned: Along with being more intuitive, every change will be updated in the Online Help, and we created a handy KB article, SmarterTrack 11.x Settings Redesign, so you can see where each setting is now located and what, exactly, has changed.

Introducing Users and Organizations

Organization_Filter1

SmarterTrack 11.x introduces a new Users and Organizations section into SmarterTrack’s Management Interface, allowing agents to view all communications from multiple users within the same organization. Often times, multiple people from one company will be in communication with your agents and now all that information can be collated in one place. Common scenarios where this can be used include multiple customers from the same organization inquiring about purchasing a product or multiple employees from a company requesting a resolution to a similar issue. By associating multiple users to an organization, agents will no longer have to browse through tickets or users; they can simply choose the company the customer is associated with and they’ll see all the information they need.

Easily View All User Information

User Details

User Details has always been an important tool in viewing all interaction from a single user. With SmarterTrack 11.x, we’ve made it even easier to get to and it now provides more useful information! Simply click on a user’s email address, whether in a ticket, live chat, or call log, and you’re presented with all the communications through tickets, live chats, calls and surveys, as well as their profile information and any roles they are assigned. You can add a comment about the user that other agents can see, modify any custom fields, view their history, such as their login dates and dates of their latest interactions, and even see statistics on how often they’ve been in contact with your company. Having all of a user’s information easily presented in a neat layout brings yet another CRM attribute into your powerful helpdesk system.

View All Recent Ticket Activity in One Location

Recently_Transferred1

When things get busy, and agents see a large number of tickets coming in and leaving their queues, it can be difficult to remember where every ticket has gone. SmarterTrack 11.x resolves this with the new Recent Activity and Recently Transferred ticket views. Say you added a comment to an old ticket but can’t recall if it’s in your Waiting or Closed queue. Worry no more with Recent Activity! All tickets that have been modified in any way will appear, whether you’ve simply added a comment, changed the priority or sent a ticket response. Using the Recently Transferred ticket view, you can even see tickets that have left your queue altogether, regardless of whether they were taken by another agent or transferred out. SmarterTrack continues giving agents the tools they need to improve their workflow and give them the time to focus on what really matters: your customers.

Community Improvements for Both Customers and Agents

Signature_Settings1

The Community has been a great addition to SmarterTrack by allowing agents and customers to collaborate on problems or ideas and get questions answered. In this latest version, we continue to amp up the Community with features that make it more intuitive and user friendly. Customers will be pleased to see that they can now add a personal touch to each of their posts with the ability to add custom avatars, as well as signatures! On the management side of things, new community reports have been created that show just how engaged your employees are with your community, making quality control simpler than ever.

Numerous Security and Efficiency Improvements

Recent Hacks

With each major version of SmarterTrack that’s released, we do our best to include a large number of back-end improvements to keep help desks performing at their best and to ensure the security of the software. Many of these changes are in the back-end code, so they’re not easily seen by end users, much less by system administrators – except when they notice how much better SmarterTrack runs. In this most recent version, we spent a great deal of time benchmarking SmarterTrack and then making changes to increase the level of performance and security across the board.

Is that all?!

Of course not! SmarterTrack 11.x offers many more features and improvements. You’ll find them in the release notes we’ll post in the SmarterTrack 11.x BETA category in the SmarterTools Community, but here are a few more that might be of interest:

  • Sort settings for Tickets, Chats, Tasks, and Call Logs are now stored in a cookie allowing for the same settings to be applied across sessions.
  • It’s now possible to limit an agent’s workload with an overall ticket limit.
  • URLs posted in the Community will now automatically hyperlink to their destinations.
  • Agents and end users are now subscribed to threads automatically that match your specified criteria with system events.
  • Time logs can be automatically created for call logs, tickets, and live chats.
  • More profile information can now be stored for users.

Getting Started with the BETA

To get your hands on the BETA simply visit the SmarterTrack 11.x BETA Information thread, where you’ll see how to:

  • Sign up for the BETA
  • Get a special BETA license key
  • Download the latest BETA release (we update it regularly)
  • Communicate with other BETA testers and the SmarterTools development team
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest release note and BETA news

Sign up for the BETA

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