I have a few discerning customers either on Computer Support or Website Support plans (you can find out about them here: Computer Support and here: Site Support) The plans themselves are already excellent value for money, however it can be difficult to remember to arrange computer health-checks or to make the most of your site support hours. I wondered if there was a fairly easy way that I could automate a reminder - this ensures that my customers can always get the best value from their plans. What I wanted to do was to send an e-mail something like the one shown below, just before the end of one of the support months (hours do not rollover you see unless that has been taken as an option).
Dear <<customer name>>,
This is an automated reminder designed to help you get the best out of your web site support plan- it is timed to be sent to you on the 1st of each month.
- Each site support month starts on the 6th of each month to the 5th of the following month (I recommend you double check your online advice note to keep track).
- You currently have one hour site support per month.
- You have signed up for 6 months.
- Minimum charge to your support time is 20 minutes - for this reason I recommend that when requesting site support that there is at least 20 minutes worth of work.
- Refer to the terms and conditions published on the website for further details.
Please do not reply to this e-mail. This is an automated message.
All Tech Plus
First of all I came across something called ' Boomerang' which works with Gmail - it was exactly what I was looking for, however once I'd set it up I realised it was only a trial version, so I removed that as I need to keep my costs down being a business on a budget! More Googlingand I found Mail Conductor. I couldn't believe how easy it was to setup and use, plus I could use it from my mobile phone Gmail too without having to install anything further. If you visit the website, there's a big button which says 'Install' - you have to authorise access to your Google account to do this. Once installed you're presented with a page of instructions (recommended print - it's only one page!).
How could it be used?
- Regular reminders to yourself - wash the car (say once per month), pay SUMA on car (once per year), take car for ITV (every 2 years)
- Send a birthday message - setup and forget - never forget to wish someone happy birthday again - don't forget to ask Mail Conductor to e-mail you as well just in case they ring you and so you remember
- Send reminders to your customers (just like me)
- Send out a christmas message each year to a contact list with your revised opening hours (and of course a christmas greeting)
Can you think of any other uses? If so drop me a line and I'll add them to this article.
What do you need?
- A Google Account (and Gmail) - signup
That's it - it's free!Chances are, if you have an Android mobile phone or tablet, you already have one of these. Otherwise click above to signup.
How did I setup my reminders?
First of all, I realised I could actually link my business e-mails to Gmail so the messages appear to come from there rather than my priIVAe e-mail address - so I set that up first (if you are not sure how to do this and would like me to setup the whole thing for you get in touch, shouldn't be any more than an hours work!)
Then for the e-mail above, I created a new message with that content, addressed it to whom I wanted it to go to, and entered this as the subject:
The bit starting from '@' on the subject line is important as this is what the system uses to determine when to send the message. The date is year-month-date and the time which is option is in 24 hour format. I won't explain all the options here since the help guide on the site is just the ticket.
If you setup a scheduled e-mail correctly, you will find it in your drafts folder (where it will stay), then after the checking period you set in the Mail Conductor settings, MC will check the draft and if there isn't a problem will place a copy into the new folder 'Mail Conductor Outbox'. MC will then handle the rest. If you make a mistake MC will let you know - best thing to do in this case is to create a new message fixing the mistake and then delete the erroneous one.
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