Email Templates & Help Desk Improvements
2015-12-10

This morning we released a couple of significant changes:
 
1) Email templates. See the photo below - emails from TroopTrack now use a nicely formatted template that has been tested to work in virtually all email clients. Notice the image at the top of the email - we will soon release a feature that allows you to upload a custom header image just for your unit. We will also be redesigning the newsletters to use a two-column layout.
2) Help desk changes. Previously if we solved a ticket it would be re-opened if you added a comment to it. This was fine in most cases, but in a number of cases we have had users add comments to tickets we solved months ago, often times with a completely new problem. To avoid this problem we have disabled the ability to comment on a solved ticket after seven days.
 
3) Backlog of really old tickets. As I've mentioned before, we were completely unprepared for the fall rush of 2014. We didn't have enough help desk staff members and we were completely swamped with support requests. We have since hired and trained enough people that we were mostly able to keep up with the 2015 fall rush, but we still have about 1000 unprocessed tickets that are over a year old. :( We started reviewing those tickets and found that many of them were fixed as they were reported by other users. We also realized that it would take us months to get through them all. So... we have made a decision to close tickets that are more than a year old. That should happen later today. If one of your tickets is closed you will get an email. If you feel that ticket is still relevant, all you need to do is log in to TroopTrack within seven days and add a comment telling us that the ticket is still important.
 
I appreciate that some of you may be upset by the arbitrary closing of older help desk tickets. Please be assured that we didn't take this decision lightly and that if you add a comment to your ticket it will automatically be re-opened and re-prioritized with recent tickets (see #4).
 
4) Helpdesk followup improvements. We sometimes struggle to followup on helpdesk tickets when you add a comment. One of the changes we released this morning helps us to better identify tickets that you have added a comment to. This works by bumping tickets you have commented on up in priority.
 
Have a great day!
 
~ Dave
Permalink

Print BSA Youth Applications Online
2015-12-09

You asked for it... You can now print pre-filled BSA Youth Applications with TroopTrack.

Also, for the future... I'm thinking about adding a self-registration workflow to TroopTrack.

You would provide joining members a link and they would fill out an application. That data would go straight into TroopTrack as a pending member (i.e. no access) and they would get a completely filled out membership application. They would sign the app, turn it in to you, you would mark them complete and they would be able to log in to TroopTrack. What do you think?

Permalink

Print Pre-filled BSA Adult Applications!
2015-12-08

How would you like to be able to print your BSA Adult Application pre-filled from TroopTrack? We are re-chartering our units and frankly... the paperwork is a bit of a pain. Sunday night I thought "I can make this easier". I started on it Monday morning and guess what?

Go to Manage -> Members -> BSA Adult Applications and check it out!

Permalink

Multi-day Event Fix
2015-12-04

This morning we pushed a minor update to the calendar. We were not displaying multi-day events properly when there were other events on the same day as a multi-day event. This is now fixed. Thanks to everyone who reported this problem!
 
~ Dave
Permalink

Don't reply to helpdesk emails and two other changes
2015-12-03

This morning we pushed a number of updates, one of which is an important change to our customer support process.
 
1) The mailing list confirmation email listed recipients multiple times. This is now fixed. It was not causing recipients to receive multiple emails.
 
2) Event emails now include the date the signed permission form is due.
 
3) Help desk emails have been changed so that replies to automated emails no longer go to our staff.
 
THIS IS IMPORTANT! When our staff makes a comment on a help desk ticket, you get an email. That email was set up so that if you replied it went to our staff member directly. This was causing serious problems on our side because it took the customer support process out of our help desk and made it very difficult to track.
 
This no longer works - replies to these emails will go nowhere. PLEASE USE THE HELPDESK INSTEAD.
 
Some of you may find this frustrating. We understand. Please be patient with us and understand that this is a short term solution. In the long term we will add the ability to update tickets directly via email.
 
Have a great day!
 
Dave
Permalink

Looking Forward to 2016
2015-12-03

2016 is just around the corner and Ryan, the interns, and I are thinking about things we want to do next year. I'm going to highlight a few of those items real quickly.
 
1) Android version of TroopTrack Mobile. We've had lots of requests for this. These requests ranged from polite requests to heated demands. We heard you. It's on our list.
 
2) More features on TroopTrack mobile. We haven't decided exactly what's next, but RSVP'ing for a family member is on the list. We will probably run a poll at some point to help us narrow the list.
 
3) Subdomains, subdomains, subdomains. We currently support subdomains (ie. troop9.trooptrack.com), but using them is optional and logins are limited to subomains. This creates all sorts of problems, such as links in emails not working for people in multiple troops.
 
We're going to make this simple. In the future subdomains will be used at all times and for everything. If you are in Troop 5 and you log in to TroopTrack.com, it will redirect you to troop5.trooptrack.com. If you are a multi-troop user and you switch to Pack 5, you will be redirected to pack5.trooptrack.com.
 
4) Emoji, why do you hate us!?!?!
 
The number one cause of crashes and failed email deliveries is... emoji characters that aren't supported by our database configuration. People love emoji, and they try to use them everywhere. Unfortunately this crashes in TroopTrack right now because of MySQL's implementation of UTF (if you're not a nerd you probably just totally zoned out). We are going to fix this in 2016.
 
5) Context sensitive help. We've already started this, but we want to expand this dramatically throughout 2016. We want you to be able to get help directly related to the task you are performing without searching the user guide.
 
6) Calendaring shouldn't be so complicated. We want to make it simpler, especially recurring events. We want to add the ability to RSVP to events from emails without logging in. Also, we need to add support for manual event payments (this one is critical).
 
7) Usability improvements, especially in fundraising, money accounts, checklists, and sign up sheets. We want these features to be intuitive and more effective.
 
8) Public events. Want to sell tickets to a pancake breakfast or organize a regional camp? We want to make it easy for you to do this.
 
9) Intern level up! We have great interns, and they've been a lifesaver with customer support. We've also been teaching them to program (2 of the changes released this morning were Zach's first contributions to the TroopTrack code). In 2016 we want to help them continue down this path so that we can move even faster, tackle more feature requests, and make TroopTrack a little bit better every single day.
 
2016 is going to be a great year.
 
Important note: Many of you will want to know when we will ship these features, so I'm going to say this: We don't publish release schedules in advance.
 
Also this: This is what we want to do in 2016 as of this moment. Other things will come up. We may change our minds. We do the best we can and we try to be open about everything, but we can't predict the future reliably. Plans will change, and that's a good thing.
 
Have a great day!
 
~ Dave
 
Permalink

Eagle Progress Report Improvements
2015-12-01

Good ole Spencer. He was our very first intern, and he's awesome. Today we released an update, courtesy of Spencer, that is a big improvement to the Eagle Progress Report. I've attached a before and after picture for you to check out. This is going live even as we speak, so if you try it right away you might get one last glimpse at the old report.

Before

After

Permalink

Holiday Hours:
2015-11-24

TroopTrack customer service operations are CLOSED Thursday, November 26 - Saturday, November 28. We are also closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day.
Permalink

Coming Soon: Email confirmations
2015-11-19

Do you ever send a message to a TroopTrack Mailing List and wonder about any of the following:
- which members did it actually go to?
- what email addresses was it sent to?
- who didn't get it?

Yeah, me too. That's why, sometime in the next week, we are going to release an email confirmation feature. When you use a mailing list, we will shoot an email back to you, like the one show below. Now you will know who it was sent to, who it wasn't sent to, and why. Yay!

Permalink

Den Progress Report
2015-11-10

This morning we are pushing several technical bug fixes that improve performance and reliability, as well as an important change to the den progress report for Cub Scouts. The progress report was showing the old cub ranks by default, and we have updated it to show the new ranks instead.

Also, I get a lot of questions about how many photos you can upload to TroopTrack. When I respond with "as many as you want" people are surprised and say something like "that's so generous". I want to clarify something about that.

It's not generous. Storage is cheap. Charging you for space is stingy. Let me break down just how cheap it is for you.

We pay for the space we use to store photos, for the bandwidth required to upload and download them, and for the server capacity to post-process the photos. We currently store 280,000 photos for our customers. In October, you uploaded 18,627 new photos. 

Our total bill for all of this for October? $120.

Yeah, so... unlimited photo storage isn't generous. It just appears that way because so many products charge for it.

Permalink

New phone number, better bulk achievements for cubs, and the "Fall Flood"
2015-11-06

Two changes going live this morning, both of them are important, plus a note about customer service.
 
1) We changed our phone number. We have been having trouble with our phone service (the phone went straight to voicemail 70% of the time!) AND we have been under constant attack from a robo-dialer most evenings. We have updated our contact page with our new phone number. Hopefully the robo-dialer will leave us alone.
 
2) Cub scout electives have been hard to use within the bulk awards and individual progress pages. You had to select the rank the electives are associated with, then scroll through all the requirements to find the award you need. We have fixed this - you can now select the award directly.
 
One other quick note... every year, from late July to November 1st, help desk ticket volume increases dramatically. Every fall is a super busy time for us and it's tough for us just to keep up with the questions, let alone fix bugs and implement features. This year we worked really hard to be prepared for the fall. We hired more interns (TroopTrack currently has 11 employees), we refined our support processes, and improved our support tools.
 
Here are some quick stats about the 2015 "Fall Flood":
- Help desk tickets received: 3117
- Help desk tickets solved: 2068
- Help desk tickets that are waiting for information from the customer: 270
 
That's a lot of customer interaction!
 
This has been our best fall ever in terms of customer support, and I want to say thank you to everyone who made it happen. So... Sam, Wesley, Ryan, Matt, Claire, Reese, Zach, Spencer, Melissa, and Coleman... THANK YOU.
 
Even with all this help, there were a few times when we were totally overwhelmed. We appreciate the patience you exhibited when this happened. We are grateful for all of you who stuck with us while we dug ourselves out of big piles of help desk tickets.
 
It's been hard for us to provide good customer support and deal with all the feature requests we get during the fall flood. Things are starting to slow down now, and as a result we are shifting gears - it may take us a while to get through the 600 feature requests we received between July 15 and November 1, but we are going to get it done.
 
I'm personally very tired, pleased, and anxious to start crushing that big pile of feature requests. But first... I need a break. Shannon and I are leaving town for a week (only the second vacation we've taken with just the two of us EVER). We are excited beyond belief - this time next week we will both have stepped on British soil for the the first time ever!
 
Have a great weekend and thanks for being part of the TroopTrack user community.
 
Dave
Permalink

Bulk Transaction Bug Fix
2015-11-05

This morning we deployed a bug fix for bulk transactions that are transfers. If you were transferring from many accounts to one, the bulk transfer was reversing the values and having the opposite effect. This bug is now fixed. 

Also, coming soon... a new version of the mobile app that includes an easy user search, improvements to uploading avatars, and a placeholder image on the photo uploader page.

Have a great day!

Permalink

Two minor updates
2015-11-02

A couple of minor changes released this morning:

1) The proper date a youth joined a unit is now displayed on the summary and detailed member reports.

2) A person with the proper privileges can edit the items on a sign up sheet even if they didn't create it.

Have a great day!

~ Dave

Permalink

TroopTrack Mobile Update Available
2015-10-29

Yesterday our latest update to TroopTrack Mobile for iOS was approved by Apple. This release includes:

- Better support of iOS 9
- We added 3D touch shortcuts for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus (this is really cool - when you force touch the TroopTrack Mobile Icon a menu pops up that lets you go straight to certain actions, like sending a message)
- We fixed crashes that occur when you prepare for offline mode
- We fixed crashes related to RSVP'ing for an event
- We fixed assorted HTTP timeouts and errors

Please update TroopTrack Mobile as soon as the update is available to you in the app store as this release fixes several critical bugs.

Thanks!

Dave

Permalink

Perl Library for the TroopTrack API
2015-10-28

Our very first user-created contribution to the TroopTrack developer program is out: a perl library for making use of the TroopTrack API. From TroopTrack user Stephen Ludin, this library makes it easy for you to use Perl to interact with the TroopTrack API. You can check it out here:

https://github.com/sludin/trooptrack

Thanks Stephen!

~ Dave

Permalink