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Preview Táve 4 at WPPI 2014

We’re back in Vegas this week to participate in WPPI 2014 and and preview the next big thing this spring…

Táve 4

What started out as “just” our biggest release since the launch of T3, is now on its way to become our biggest and most exciting release in the history of Táve. One of our top priorities is to improve the experience on tablet and mobile browsers. While we initially planned to make that change over several releases, with tablets first and full mobile responsiveness across the application added in a subsequent release, it became clear that separating them would lead to far more time and effort than doing it all at once, even with mobile responsiveness requiring a completely new theme.

This release is focused entirely on the manager. With just a couple of exceptions, we’ll be focusing the rest of 2014 on your client interaction, from exciting new options in the booking process and going mobile responsive in client access, to adding new email options.

The list of features in T4 is impressive. Even listing the top features is a challenge as there are so many massive improvements, but I’d have to go with:

  • 100% mobile and tablet responsive (the entire system on your phone).
  • Jobs have been split into Leads and Jobs and we’ve added more lead tracking features.
  • A new homepage with a host of new mini-reports and an email activity summary.
  • Workflow is now a breeze as we’ve split them into two parts, Task Lists and Automations, which are far easier to use while letting you do so much more.
  • The huge New Lead Worksheet has been replaced by a per-job-type customizable all-in-one Job Worksheet.
  • Placeholders are now called Tokens and can reference anything on the job worksheet in your emails and contracts, be it a bride’s name, a 2nd shooter’s phone number, or the location and time of a particular session.
  • The questionnaire editor has been rewritten from the ground up. We’re adding a few new fields and responses can now update any information on a job that can be referenced by a token.
  • Most forms now have help text under the save button. Even better, this help text is can be improved by any user.
  • And much more…

Profit Centers

I must admit to being inspired by the PPA’s Studio Management Services (SMS) Manager Bridget Jackson’s Imaging USA presentation “Know Your Number”. Once we were all back up to full speed a few weeks after returning from the show, I took some time to clean up and extend our expense categories and introduce Profit Centers. Expense categories can now have sub-categories and by classifying each category as either cost of sale, owner’s compensation, or general expense, we can put together some really useful reports.

Most studios have between 2-4 profit centers, allowing you to easily compare your performance between Weddings and Portraits or Senior and Family, etc. We’re automatically creating a profit center for any job type that accounts for more than 10% of your business as part of this release to get you started. This screenshot shows a studio who gets the vast majority of their income from a single profit center and who hasn’t been entering their expenses into Táve (a common issue we’re improving with each release).

 Profit Centers report in Táve 4

 

Don’t miss our WPPI 2014 Sale!

You have until the end of Sunday, March 9th, to save up to 50% on pre-pays. Based on previous years, this will likely be our last sale of 2014!

As always, we operate in your local studio time, so don’t wait until the last minute or you’ll have to wait for Imaging USA in Nashville next January.

 

Learn more about Táve 4

It’s not just the best place to get answers from other Táve users or learn new ways to use the system; the Táve Users Group on Facebook got the first look at the screenshot above, along side several more screenshots of T4 (including a page in iOS Mobile Safari and another scaled for tablet). After ImagingUSA the group also got to see 20 other early screenshots of our work in progress from before we adopted the T4 mobile plan.

As always, this is a free upgrade to all users and your existing data will be upgraded automatically. There’s no harm in starting with T3, as the overall concepts are the same, you’ll just be getting more new features when T4 rolls out.

If you’re attending WPPI 2014 in Las Vegas this week, stop by booth 1361 to see T4 in action and meet the team!

Reminder: Google Checkout closing soon

If you’re using Google Checkout with your Táve account, you’ll need to find an alternative online credit card processor before Google Checkout closes on November 20th. We recommend switching as soon as possible to avoid any interruption to your business.

We use Braintree for our subscription system and recommend them, as they don’t charge any setup or monthly fees and have a low 2.9% + 30¢ fixed rate (even for American Express cards). Be aware that they were acquired by PayPal last week, so their reputation for amazing support, speedy services, and data portability may well fade in time.

We currently support the following payment gateways:

  • Bank of America
  • Beanstream
  • Braintree
  • Merchant Warehouse
  • PayPal Standard
  • Stripe
  • WorldPay

Contact information and tips can be found on the Payment Gateways setup page, just click to add credit card support and select the gateway you’re interested in.

2013.7 – New Payment Gateways

Over the past 2 weeks I’ve published support for 6 more payment gateways. In fact, several studios have already set up and started using these new payment gateways. The list of new payment gateways includes Bank of America, Beanstream, Braintree, Merchant Warehouse, Stripe, and WorldPay.

 

2013-7 New Payment Gateways

Have another gateway you’d love to see added? Please let us know (besides Square that is, as they unfortunately don’t provide a third-party API, as they note here). While I’m now switching gears to join in on Adrian’s next major release, the framework is in place to easily add additional payment gateways outside of our standard release roadmap.

To utilize one of these new payment gateways or to get contact information for priority registration, head over to the Settings section and visit the Payment Gateways page.  Add the credit card option at the bottom of the list and then select the gateway you want to use:

Payment Gateways section of Settings.

 

One last thing: For those of you using Google Checkout, don’t forget that the service joins the frustratingly vast ranks of beloved yet retired Google services soon, so you will need to switch to another payment provider by November 30th, 2013. They suggest Braintree, which offers a simple flat rate fee structure without maintenance fees or minimums and supports merchants located in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Braintree also happens to be the gateway we use to manage all subscriptions inside Táve.

Release 2012.10 – Order Revisions, Invoice Numbering, Split Payments and more

Another month, another big update: Release 2012.10 is now rolling out to all Táve 3 studios and includes some frequently requested improvements for orders and packages. Your current version and build number can be seen at the bottom of Táve 3, above our logo.

New Unified Orders Page

Over the past few releases we’ve been gradually improving usability, adding utilities like flyouts, and better organizing the information you want to see. Today’s release continues that process by unifying the Orders page, eliminating the dedicated Order Viewer and Invoice Viewer and thus means less clicking to get to data. Here’s an example:

The order totals flyout includes more details, including taxes and discount totals:

 

Order Revisions

Modifying an order after it’s booked is verboten, so when a client wants to make a change you needed to void the order and modify a duplicate. Unfortunately, that process could get a bit tedious and error-prone as you also had to reallocate all payments to the new invoices after booking the revised order. Now there’s no need as we’ve introduced a new revision action that will automatically create a new version of the order, leaving the original version untouched. You can access the previous versions any time by hovering over the revision icon and clicking on one of the snapshots.

Automatic Invoice Numbering

Our advanced object IDs aren’t the easiest things to read, so we’ve added much more understandable numbering to all orders and invoices. With the exception of order revisions (which include the revision number, like R1 or R2), the new numbers are numeric and thus much easier to understand and convey over the phone. The new numbers are based on the job’s event date (or if there isn’t one, the date the order/invoice was booked or created). The final 3 Numbers are a counter for that date. One of the conveniences of this numbering scheme is that the invoices numbers will be sequential and similar to the order itself. These numbers are now used throughout the app, including printouts and client facing pages:

The printout button seen above is a new addition to the client facing invoice page in this release as well.

Split Payments

When a client pays you for more than one invoice in a single payment, you no longer need to merge your invoices to match, as you can now split a payment between multiple invoices.

% Discounts in Packages

When % discounts were added to Táve 3, they were only added to the quote and order editors. As of today’s release, you can now add % discounts to packages as you’d expect.

Job Date Conflicts

While the New Lead Worksheet and the Event Editor include an agenda so you can easily see potential conflicts when scheduling an event, there was nothing on the job overview itself to alert you to potential conflicts on the job date. Today’s release adds a schedule flyout when you move your mouse over the job date text on the job overview. If we find a conflict, we add a warning icon next to the date as seen here:

General Improvements

Most of the remaining changes in Release 2012.10 are bug fixes or minor tweaks (such as the invoice editor’s new option to evenly divide the balance across all open invoices). One of the more significant improvements behind the scenes has been a completely new incoming mail processor, which has dramatically improved the reliability of the BCC system. The previous system was using Google Mail and was having issues with the high volume of very similar incoming messages. The new system uses Sendgrid, our outbound email provider. This new system has exciting possibilities and we look forward to adding even more email features using it. We hope you enjoy our 2012.10 release!

Accept payments with your Authorize.net merchant account

Authorize.net logoAnother feature straight out of our industry’s only Idea Bank—you can now use your Authorize.net merchant account to accept payments from your clients inside Táve Studio Manager’s Client Access system without having to send your clients to PayPal, Google Checkout, or your PickPic.

To set it up, just head on over to Settings and look for the payments link.  Once you enable Authorize.net, it’ll ask for a few pieces of information from your Authorize.net account.  As always with new Client Access features, we suggest creating a test client and booking it online (perhaps with a $1 payment) to get a feel for what your clients will see.  You’ll be able to preview client access behavior in our next release.

Recently Released

While most of our work is going into our big mid-April release, with some huge new features and great usability improvements, we’ve managed to release a few other little bits since last week’s post:

  • Email Reminders. Just set a date and time and we’ll send you a reminder by email.
  • Get rid of your sample data. There’s always the “Delete Sample Data” link on the left, but if you’re ready to get started and you want a clean slate, including all the stuff you created during the trial, you can use the “purge account” tool in Settings, with the new “Re-create sample data” option unchecked. This tool is like formatting your hard drive; once you do it the data will never come back even if you’re browsing deleted data.
  • Extend your trial. If you have less than a week left on your trial, or it’s already expired, and you’re not quite sold yet, just head on over to the “purge account” tool. Whenever it runs, we now make sure you have at least a week left on your trial, extending it if needed. And then why don’t you give us a call at 800-560-TAVE or Skype-to-Skype user TaveStudio and we’ll walk you through the system and answer any questions you have.
  • An updated look! Okay, it’s not that big of deal, but we think that it makes the application a lot less drab and easier to follow.

Client Access payment updates

IMPROVED: PayPal Website Payments Basic.  When using the PayPal payment gateway, your clients’ payments will automatically appear inside Táve Studio Manager so you’ll no longer have to manually enter the payments.

NEW: PickPic payments.  You can now process payments through your PickPic system.  When enabled here, users will be sent to your PickPic cart with the amount already added to their cart.   You’ll then be able to process the payment as you normally would inside PickPic.  These payments will not automatically appear inside Táve Studio Manager, so you will have to log the payments manually.

NEW: Google Checkout.  Basic Google Checkout support has been added and can be enabled here.  Once the “integrated cart” feature is completed, payments will automatically appear inside Táve Studio Manager.  Until that time, you’ll need to manually add the payments. 

While several users have voted for Google Checkout support in Idea Bank, there has been some debate in our users-only forum about using Google Checkout because of potential issues with their seller policies.  Also, if you wish to only accept the retainer through Client Access, you’ll find a new setting for that in the page editor.