Is it possible to get coaching in using Office 365/my basic IT systems effectively?

Discussion in 'IT & Internet' started by K0608, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. K0608

    K0608 UKBF Regular Free Member

    147 6
    Hi, I run a small mountaineering company in the Scottish Highlands (search for West Coast Mountain Guides). It's a limited company that I run, by myself, and I do a lot of the guiding and all of the admin myself. Needless to say, it's pretty time consuming and I'm wondering whether my (simple) IT system, all of which has been developed by myself, mainly through trial and error, are as efficient as they could be. I suppose what I'm aware of when it comes to the admin/IT side of it all is that I'm aware that I don't know what I don't know.

    Our website has been built on Wordpress and I use Office 365/Exchange for emails (although I use Thunderbird as the client as I find it more intuitive)/calendar/storing files etc.

    Does anyone know whether it's possible for someone to work with me for an hour or two (or more if required) to see my processes and whether any improvements can be made to lessen my workload? There may be some very obvious and more subtle bumps in my road that are eating up my time, without me realising.

    Posted: Jul 30, 2019 By: K0608 Member since: May 22, 2017
  2. TargetICT

    TargetICT UKBF Contributor Free Member

    69 11
    Are you having any issues with your current processes?
    Those are the issues your IT person would look out for preferably someone local to you

    If the setup works well and like you said it’s intuitive I’d say you’re fairly ok.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
    Posted: Jul 30, 2019 By: TargetICT Member since: Feb 26, 2018
  3. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

    3,133 1,132
    @ffox is the resident 365 expert. If I wanted help with it, it would be him i'd be contacting.
    Posted: Jul 30, 2019 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
  4. WESH.UK

    WESH.UK UKBF Contributor Free Member

    90 22
    Hi K0608

    We do this for all of our hosting customers at no cost. Sometimes it runs for minutes, sometimes a few hours a day over several days.. We can also do it ad-hoc at our hourly rate
    Posted: Jul 30, 2019 By: WESH.UK Member since: Aug 11, 2018
  5. Mark Dodds

    Mark Dodds UKBF Newcomer Full Member

    15 2
    What are your current processes that you believe could be improved?
    Posted: Jul 30, 2019 By: Mark Dodds Member since: Mar 30, 2015
  6. K0608

    K0608 UKBF Regular Free Member

    147 6
    Sorry, since I wrote this post I've been away.

    I'm finding that my methods, whilst work fine, are rather time intensive and was wondering whether there were any ways to make the whole booking process for clients a bit more efficient...

    Currently, here's how it works:
    1) Back and forth with email enquiries (some emails are from the website, others directly via email).
    2) Once a client is keen to book, I raise an invoice on Quickbooks, asking for a 50% deposit, unless within 6 weeks of the start date. The invoice includes payment details.
    3) Clients pay a deposit (often via BACS), which I then need to have a lookout for and acknowledge receipt of payment.
    4) Client submits a booking form (one per person, created via Contact Forms 7 on our Wordpress site), which I then upload as a text file to a Sharepoint folder (when then is shared with the guide that's booked in).
    5) I put the booking details onto an Outlook Calendar so that I can see what is booked in and when.
    6) I then need to remind them to pay the balance when it's due (I need to check QBs to see when outstanding balances are due).
    7) Nearer the date, I send a link to the booking forms to the guide, who then contact the clients.
    8) Post course, I send an email asking for feedback, which if good enough, I then send a link to various review platforms.

    I could go the whole hog and have a true eCommerce site, but the nature of our bookings often require a bit of back and forth via emails before we can ask a client to commit to a course. That and many of the courses we run are bespoke.

    We do accept card payments via Stripe and I was wondering whether it's worth asking more clients to pay by card and for an invoice to be automatically generated, rather than me generating one each time.

    Also, is there a more effective way of clients filling in booking forms and how it's saved on Sharepoint and distributed to the respective guide.

    Any other suggestions based on my above processes would be hugely appreciated, as keeping on top of it all is pretty time consuming!
    Posted: Aug 30, 2019 By: K0608 Member since: May 22, 2017
  7. Ilfracombe

    Ilfracombe UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    7 3
    What you need is a fully integrated system but this is not going to be cheap, or anywhere near it.
    Your next solution is a simple database system that can also act as a calendar and reminder system.
    Once the info are entered, each day when you start up, it will run a report of who is due for the balance, which guide to email (or even generate the email as part of the system). The beauty of something like this is you now have every bit of information when you need to mine the data or check for any mistakes, it can also be part of your invoicing because everything you need to invoice the clients are all stored already within.
    While payments and feedback will have to done separately as its no simple task for you and also taking payments directly with CC will open you up to lots regulation and protections required.
    Posted: Nov 19, 2019 By: Ilfracombe Member since: Nov 19, 2019
  8. gpietersz

    gpietersz UKBF Enthusiast Full Member

    825 176
    A bit of an old thread to revive, but as @illfracombe has done it, an integrated system will be more expensive than what you have at the moment, but probably cheap enough to pay for itself in saved time pretty quickly.
    Posted: Nov 19, 2019 By: gpietersz Member since: Sep 10, 2019