In the section Scheduling parameters on the customer detail page, you define whether and how the customer should be taken into account by portatour® for planning your sales routes if you do not provide differing parameters as shown under Next call (see Next call) or New appointment (see Upcoming appointments).
These settings can be changed by clicking the edit icon . The editing page opens:
If you want to use the specifications which are set in the portatour® Options (see Scheduling parameters of customers) (= 'Default' values) for individual scheduling parameters, select in the selection boxes the entry Default.
Specify your customers' call frequency with a call interval in days. Either select one of the intervals suggested in the drop-down menu or enter a value between 7 and 730 days (i.e. between weekly and once every two years). You can manually enter a number if you select Custom... at the bottom of the drop-down menu. Now, you can manually enter the interval in days:
If you do not want to call a customer regularly but only when necessary, set the call interval to None. Use reservations or appointments to manually include the customer in the schedule in case you would like to visit them (see Reservations).
If automatically calculated call intervals are provided through the integration with other systems – e.g. according to the sales performance of customers – switch to calculated to use them.
Schedule calls automatically / manually
Customers can be Automatically scheduled by portatour® according to their call urgency. Call urgency is determined by portatour® by looking at the period between the last call and the current date, and comparing it with the specified call interval.
When scheduling is set to Manually, customers are only considered in the schedule if you have set appointments with these customers (see Upcoming appointments) or if they have been manually included in your schedule (see Reservations). portatour® will remind you to do so when these customers are due (see Reminders).
The setting Normal works well if your territory has the right dimensions, i.e. it is realistic to visit all customers during your working days at the desired call interval and taking into account travel times.
If your territory is too big (i.e. you have too many customers or call intervals are too short) it will no longer be possible to adhere to the customers' call intervals. Calls will take place too late. However, portatour® will keep the proportions right, i.e. a 30-day customer will still be visited twice as often as a 60-day customer, however not every 30 days but later.
The setting Preferred helps you to avoid that the call interval is exceeded - even when your territory is too big. portatour® takes care of the creation of an 'internal reservation' once the call interval has expired.
Two important hints for this setting:
- Use it sparingly! Use the Preferred setting only for your most important customers for whom you do not tolerate any delayed calls. As a rule of thumb we recommend a maximum of 20 % of your regularly called customers. If you set too many customers as preferred, the desired effect will vanish as too many reservations cannot be accommodated in the schedule. In addition, route optimization will be pushed into the background.
- Make sure in advance that your territory has the right dimensions. Request the portatour® report for that purpose. The section 'Structure of customers' shows the 'Necessary calls per day to satisfy call interval'. If this value does not comply with reality, you have to adjust the number of customers or the call intervals (see Description of the content).
Here you can select the estimated duration of a call at this customer. The manual input is analogous to the call interval. The value must be between 1 and 480 minutes. Do not only take into account the duration of the call itself but also time for finding a parking lot, preparing the call, walking distances from the car to the customer, possible registration and check-out formalities and waiting times.
If a customer is to be visited by two or more field reps but not in the same week, enter a scheduling restriction here on a calendar week basis.
If, for example, a customer is to be visited regularly by two colleagues, the first colleague sets the scheduling restriction to Only in even weeks at this customer and the second colleague selects Only in odd weeks. Thus, the customer will never be proposed for a customer call to both colleagues in the same week.
Hint: Editing the scheduling restriction of customers is also available via the extended customer search and subsequent mass editing (see Extended customer search and Selection mode and mass editing). For example, the scheduling restriction can be quickly applied to a zip code. In addition, the import also allows to set scheduling restrictions.
- The scheduling restriction Only in even weeks does not automatically mean that the customer is scheduled every 2 weeks. The frequency is still determined by the call interval set. The scheduling restriction simply means that a customer call may only be proposed in even weeks. The shortest reasonable call interval when using this scheduling restriction is therefore 14 days.
- Both colleagues must set the scheduling restrictions separately for the jointly managed customer - in the opposite way. It is not sufficient if only one of them sets the restriction.
- Manually created appointments at a customer have the highest priority and are also possible in weeks with a scheduling restriction. However, in the Find suitable day scheduling function, days with scheduling restrictions are highlighted in gray to remind you that a colleague may visit this customer in that week.
Enter the next vacation period of the customer here. Despite any configured call urgency, portatour® does not schedule any calls during this period. You can either use the drop-down menu to select a date within the next 30 days, or click the Calendar symbol to select from a scrollable calendar view, where you can select a date which lies further ahead in the future. To delete the vacation, select the top entry (=empty) in both drop-down menus.
Press Save to apply your changes, which will be included immediately upon the next schedule calculation.