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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  • The huge New Lead Worksheet has been replaced by a per-job-type customizable all-in-one Job Worksheet.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!

We continue to work our way toward General Availability and have released over 140 new features and fixes since Early Access was opened up to everybody a little over a month ago. We wanted to take a moment to highlight a few of those changes since Early Access launched.

The job viewer has a new Orders page

Several of the recent changes have been to reduce the number of clicks to get at the information you’re looking for (and many more of those on the way!). One of the most noticeable is that we got rid of the Invoices page in the job viewer and rewrote the Orders page, which now includes the invoices and payment history grouped by order.

The job lists are now sortable

With Táve 2 you had to sort and filter your job list yourself and hopefully arrive at the information you’re looking for. With Táve 3 we went the opposite direction by creating separate pre-made highly purposed lists to make it super simple to get at what you’re looking for, whether you’re looking for who owes you money or which leads need proposals still.

A few of the lists make sense being sorted several different ways and it generally comes down to a matter of how you work or how large the list is. Because of that, we’ve brought custom sorting to the job list in Táve 3. Just click any column title to change the list sorting.

Hovering your mouse over the title of the current sort column will show you the current sort order. Clicking the current column a second time will reverse the sort.

As part of this process we also cleaned up the lists themselves a bit, adding the “Expired Proposals” list and correcting some columns (like the “Client Activity” column in the various lead lists) and adding others (such as a new “Payment Due” date column in the “With Balances” list).

New “Mail Activity Log” and changes to the default email layout

Today’s 3.0.7 Early Access release includes several new features for email. To help improve the spam scores of email sent through Táve, we updated the default email layout to move your brand’s email logo to the bottom of the message rather than the top. We’ve also started including a text version of your messages in outgoing emails to further improve the score. In addition, we wrote a short spam tips article in the helpdesk.

The most exciting email update in this release though is the new Mail Activity Log in the Reports section. This report shows a full list of email events, such as opens, clicks, or bounces, since we switched email providers last month.

The details with dashed lines under them have tooltips with technical information, which can often hint as to how the email is being handled even if they’re often rather technical.

We’ve also added a version of the report to the Job’s mail viewer. So if you’ve sent an email, you can access it from the job’s conversation log and get all the activity for just that one message.

Finally, if an email fails to deliver, such as the email bouncing or being reported as spam, we now send a notification email to the studio’s primary email address.

Improvements to the “Offline Payments” page

While this is a relatively minor change in itself, it is on a client facing page that may affect you so we wanted to bring it up here. The offline payment instructions were previously displayed below a sentence describing the payment to be sent. Many of you wanted to customize that sentence as well.

So now instead of the amount and due date being inside a highly variable dynamic sentence, they’re simply labeled “Amount Due” and “Due Date”. To hide or style those details, you or your web designer can use the Brand’s “Advanced Editor” to edit the CSS using the body.payOffline #PaymentInfo {} selector.

Lots of new tutorials

Karen has been creating a lot of new tutorials on the helpdesk.

They’re always just a click away by clicking the Support link at the top right of Táve 3 any time.

 Stability improvements

Many of the changes we released over the past month have been bug fixes and the Early Access system continues to stabilize more and more every day as we respond to helpdesk tickets and work toward implementing some of the top requested features.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to work through the 3.0 release and especially those of you who have filed helpdesk tickets (bonus points for urls and screenshots!) or joined us in our helpdesk’s public chatroom.