January 24, 2013 2 Comments
We’re excited to announce the BETA of the next version of our popular help desk: SmarterTrack 9.x. Over the last few major releases we focused on providing a Web interface for SmarterTrack that agents, managers, administrators and end users would find as simple as it was powerful. With this latest release, we kept the same look and appearance but rewrote the underlying architecture with the latest Internet technologies to dramatically improve the speed, reduce the size and increase compatibility with all the latest Internet browsers and tablets.
In addition, SmarterTrack 9.x brings several new features, server side optimizations and fixes that continues to make SmarterTrack 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 SmarterTrack that we think you’ll really like.
So let’s take a look at what’s new…
Tremendous Performance Increases
We spent a great deal of time benchmarking SmarterTrack and then making changes to increase the level of performance across the board. In many instances we’ve seen increases of 70% or more in the speed and responsiveness of the SmarterTrack 9.x interface. We’ve also seen huge decreases in memory and CPU usage, even under extremely heavy loads. All of this means that the product runs much quicker and much more efficiently than previous versions. Some of the changes we’ve made include:
- CSS files have been converted to LESS, making stylesheets much smaller and more efficient.
- The button bars were re-factored to be lighter weight controls.
- The context menus were re-factored to be lighter weight controls.
- The date pickers were re-factored to be lighter weight controls.
- The tree view controls were re-factored to be lighter weight controls.
- Greatly increased performance of the Web interface.
- Replaced the message editor control with a more lightweight control.
As we mentioned in a blog post late last year, we feel efficiency IS a product feature, and SmarterTrack 9.x really proves that point.
Simple Customization for the Portal and Management Interface
SmarterTrack 9.x introduces a much simpler way for users to customize the look and feel of their management interface as well as the entire customer-facing Web portal. Now, rather than having to access system files to create custom styles, users can simply override existing SmarterTrack styles with their own variables or, more simply, by modifying the overall color scheme of the primary, secondary and hyperlink colors. Users can even drastically revise the look of the management interface. For example, by moving the navigation icons to a horizontal position versus their default vertical position. Of course, if an Administrator prefers the defaults, customization at the user level can be disabled, thereby preserving branding and corporate identity. Regardless, with these changes to the customization experience, web developers can more fully integrate a SmarterTrack help desk into an existing Web site.
Streamlined Knowledge Base Suggestion Process
Both live chat and ticketing are integral parts of any company focused on customer service. However, they shouldn’t be barriers to customers finding out information on their own. In fact, companies can cut support costs by better positioning self-help resources, making them more apparent and easier to use for their customers. With that in mind, SmarterTrack 9.x better integrates self-help options for issues prior to a live chat being sent to an agent or a ticket being submitted from the Web portal. After an end user types in their initial query they are presented with a new page that lists suggested knowledge base articles based on keywords and phrases that are contained in the live chat or ticket text. End users can then see potential solutions before communicating with customer support agents and possibly resolve their issues themselves.
Improved Spell Checking
No one likes to send replies to tickets or live chats with spelling errors. SmarterTrack 9.x offers a completely revised spell checking engine that greatly increases the accuracy of the spell check as well as adding in grammar support. The new spell check also ignores things like URLs and email addresses and allows agents to add words to their own personal dictionaries.
Better Mobile and Tablet Support
SmarterTrack was architected so that the experience a user gets from a browser on a tablet mirrors their experience in the browser on their desktop. With this latest release, the experience is even more fluid and enjoyable due to a complete revision of the HTML editor used to create and/or reply to tickets, create knowledge base articles and more. Now it’s even easier, and more efficient, for agents to work from anywhere, at any time, using the laptops or tablet devices. And of course, the mobile interface is still available for devices with smaller screens, like smart phones.
Greater Support for
SmarterTrack is a truly international product. With customers in well over 120 different countries, support for languages other than English is a priority. In addition, as SmarterTrack’s adoption across the globe continues to rise, support for non-Western character sets is also essential. With SmarterTrack 9.x we’ve not only included support for right-to-left languages in the management interface and on the portal, but we’ve also gone through the entire product and greatly simplified our language strings to make things much easier for automated translations and for customers who create their own translations files.
17 Different Spell-check Dictionaries Included
In addition to the improved spell checking, SmarterTrack also includes dictionaries for 17 different languages. The languages supported include:
- English (US+UK Combined) – DEFAULT
- English (US), (Australia), (Canada), (UK)
- German/German (Switzerland)
- Portuguese/Portuguese (Brazil)
These dictionaries are fully editable as well, so agents who speak multiple languages and use the dictionary of their choice and add words as needed.
Is that it?
Of course not! SmarterTrack 9.x has many more features and improvements. You’ll find them in the release notes we’ll post in the SmarterTrack 9.x BETA forum, but here are a few more that might be of interest:
- Phone numbers now carry over from the login and user creation external provider.
- Incoming or outgoing tickets created by agents can now be pinned to an agent when they are created.
- Status messages and tip text now drops down from the top of the page and no longer disrupts page flow.
- Language strings have been simplified so that they are much easier to translate.
- SmarterTrack Communicator users can now designate calls, either incoming or outgoing, as “Personal” in order to prevent automated call logs.
- Canned replies are now inserted into a ticket or chat wherever the cursor is located.
- Duration now appears in the ticket grid so that agents and managers can see the total time a ticket has been worked on.
- All default system emails were reviewed and rewritten to make them easier to understand.
Getting started with the BETA
To get your hands on the BETA simply visit the SmarterTools BETA forum, 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