Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Creating Ideas with Clicktools..

This blog entry looks at how you can use Clicktools to create Ideas. If you don't know about Ideas, it's a great tool to capture and organize any suggestions from anyone whether they be internal users, customers, partners etc. One of our customers recently asked us to look at ways of capturing Ideas from a survey and this outlines what we came up with.

The use case is fairly simple. The customer loved using Ideas internally but didn't want to expose the Ideas interface to their customers. They wanted a way of enabling customer to capture ideas, suggestions or even praise following a survey and in support emails. They would then manage the Ideas, to share praise (and criticism!?) as well as vote within their product management team on features. Once, the product management team had voted they wanted to issue a survey with the top ten Ideas, collecting comments from customers (again added to Ideas) and then voting.

Sure, it's not a pure use of Ideas but some organizations are just not quite ready to put the whole of their product roadmap in the hands of customers!

This blog entry looks at the first element in the use case - capturing ideas.

1. The survey in Clicktools
You can see an example of a survey to capture Ideas here and is shown in the mini-screen shot:

click image to magnify

The area we are focusing on is an area at the bottom of the survey. A light bulb indicates that start of the 'Ideas' area and, in Clicktools, there are three questions used to create the Idea.

1) A text question asks for a summary of the idea. This will be used to capture the Idea 'Title'
2) A radio question alongside the text asks the user to categorize the idea (these should match the categories you want people to create)
3) An essay question collects the detail to create the 'Idea Body'.

2. The mapping
is quite simple. You simply create an Idea using the questions in the survey. Additionally you may want to consider adding a custom field to your Ideas object to capture a link to a Contact or Account. That way, you can easily see which ideas your customers are creating...

This is a very simple but exceptionally powerful application for Clicktools. Please let us know if you think of any ways to expand on this...

Clickthru agreements..

It's been a while but it's back - the blog that is. We have been including more and more hints and tips in the help but we decided it was time to bring the blog back. This is simply because there are so many good ideas and uses of Clicktools with Salesforce - we just have to tell everyone about them.

Ok, for the first new entry we are going to talk about using Clicktools for clickthrough (click-sign) agreements.

The use case is quite simple. You need to get a customer or partner (or someone) to agree to your terms and conditions before proceeding with the relationship. Usually, this involves sending a word document or pdf to the customer/partner. them printing, signing and returning. It's a simple but potentially lengthy process that can, using Clicktools and Salesforce be completely automated...

1. Decide how to record agreements in Salesforce.
There are several options here. The most obvious would be to use the standard Contract object in Salesforce. However, there are some alternatives that other Clicktools customers use. Some record the fact the agreement was signed, the date is was signed and by whom - all against the Account. Others record agreements against the Contact or Opportunity. Or perhaps you have a custom object called "Agreements" and link to both the Account and Contact. You may of course consider a combination of the above. For the purposes of this example, we are going to create a new Contract and link it to an Account and a Contact.

2. Build form in Clicktools.
The form in Clicktools is quite simple and consists of three main elements. a) Hidden text questions to connect the form back to Salesforce. b) The agreement text and c) a checkbox question so the individual can confirm the agreement. Here is some more detail:

a) You will require hidden text questions for each of the elements you wish to link back to in Salesforce. As we are creating a Contract and linking to an Account and Contact, we need two hidden text questions. One for Account and one for the Contact.

b) Entering the agreement text can be done in many ways. You can display the whole text as a standard text element. However, this could take up a lot of screen real estate. The standard approach appears to be to use a 'window' with a scroll bar with only a small amount of the agreement visible at any one time. There are two approaches to this. One, use an iFrame. An iFrame enables you to reference text on another web page which eases potential maintenance however the downside is that iFrames are not particularly well supported in all browser environments (e.g. Safari). The other option (and the one used in the example) is to use a 'textarea'. You will need to enter this html directly in to the 'Source' of a Clicktools text block. To do this, create a text element, show the formatting bar and click the 'Source' button. Then, enter the code below, replacing the text with your own:

-- sample code begins --
<textarea cols="80" rows="10" readonly="readonly">Your agreement text in here.</textarea>"
-- sample code ends --

You can change the number of rows and columns to show more (or less) of the agreement whilst the readonly setting ensure the text cannot be changed. Please see http://www.w3schools.com/TAGS/tag_textarea.asp for more help on this html.

c) The final element is perhaps some thank you text but, importantly, a single checkbox which the user has to check to complete the form. Make this question 'Required' which forces this.

You can see an example here or, click on the mini-screenshot:

click to magnify screenshot

3. Define mapping from Clicktools to Salesforce.
Obviously, the mapping will depend entirely upon what you want to do with the information in Salesforce. In our example, we are creating a Contract, then using the answers to the two hidden questions to populate the links to the Account and Contact. We can then use some additional items like the date completed to record and use some fixed text to record the status of Draft, the length of the contract term and place a link to the completed form in the Description.

4. The email to send.
The final element is to create an email in Salesforce to send to the contact to sign. Obviously, each person will use their own text but the important element will be the link to the survey. It is important because the link must pass across information to Clicktools. We do this by appending two merge fields on to the end of the survey link like this:


The bold element at the end of the link is what you would need to add. So, when you send the email the values {!Account.Id} and {!Contact.Id} will be replaced by the real values in Salesforce which allows Clicktools to link the newly created contract to the correct people. You could hide this URL behind some other text or an image using Salesforce's html email editor to produce a very smooth email.

That completes the example - it's a fairly simple process and can vastly reduce the amount of effort involved in getting click-thru's implemented!