Adding Customers

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During normal operations you should just enter new customer information on the New Reservation dialog as you make a reservation.  To enter customer information without making a reservation, such as entering your old customer records, use the Customers / Add a New Customer from the main menu. You can also use the Add Customer button (faces icon) on the toolbar.


At this point you should see Record ID: <NEW RECORD> in the dialog, indicating that you are starting a new customer record.   If you see any other record ID, then you are editing an existing customer record.  The cursor should already be in the Last Name field, so you can just start entering the information, using the Tab key between each field.  You can use Shift-Tab to back up a field, and of course you can use the mouse to jump to any field you like.


Note that most customer fields are free-form, so you can enter the text in any format you like and any length needed.  For example, in the phone number fields you can put "Cell: 123-4567" or "555-1212 ext. 54".  The only exceptions to this are the drop-down fields, which must be one of the selections in the list, and the numeric fields, including the Rig Size and the Adults, Children, etc.  (Length fields can have a single-quote character, for "feet", but it is not necessary.)  If any value is not valid, you will be warned before leaving the dialog and will get a chance to correct it.  Any extra "spaces" typed at the beginning or end of entries are automatically removed, to avoid problems when sorting and searching for customers.


There are a couple fields that will do some auto-formatting for you.  The State field will automatically be capitalized if only 2 letters are entered.  Also, if a phone number is entered as simply 10 digits, or 11 digits with 1 as the first digit (no punctuation, spaces, or any other info), then it will automatically be formatted as (123) 456-7890.


When you're finished with a customer's information, you can click Save -- or you can immediately click Add New to add another record so customers can be entered one after another.  Each time you click Add New, the current customer info will be saved and the cursor will immediately jump to the Last Name field to help speed entry.  Another time-saver is to use Alt-A on the keyboard instead of using the mouse to click Add New.


If you decide not to enter a new customer, even after entering some information, click the Cancel button.  You will be warned if any new information would be lost by canceling the changes to the record, so you can abort the Cancel and get back to the dialog to Save it instead.


The more information you can enter for a customer, the better.  Besides the obvious reasons for having more information, some of the information will help save time later.  For instance, some of the values are automatically transferred to reservations when making a new reservation, such as Adults, Children, Rig Type, and Notes.


There is no limit to the number of customers you can enter.  You could enter every old customer you have information for, just in case they come back.  But remember that the more customers you have in the database, the longer it will take to find a particular customer (for instance, locating a particular "Smith" when making a new reservation).  It can also slow down operations, like loading up the Find Customer list.  So a good medium would be to start by entering customers whom you know come back often. (Any currently booked customers and future reservations that are already booked should be entered through the New Reservations dialog so you can enter both customer and reservation information at once.)



Automatic Zip/Postal Code Lookup


For U.S. and Canadian addresses, you can speed data entry by simply entering the Zip or Postal code in the City field.  When you press Tab or Enter after the code, it will automatically fill in the City, State, Country and format-corrected Zip/Postal code for you. Note that there is no need to enter the spaces or capitalize the letters in Canadian codes, it will do that automatically.  You can also use the Zip+4 format for U.S. codes if you like.



Automatic Mixed-Case Formatting


If you prefer to have names and addresses capitalized but don't want to use the Shift key, you can turn auto-formatting on.  See Maintenance / Program Options / Formats.  Note that if this is enabled and it incorrectly changes something that should have stayed the way you typed it, then you can go back to the field and fix it.  As long as the only change is upper or lower case, then it won't try to format it again.





In addition to the rig type, etc., up to 4 other vehicles can be entered for a customer.  Use these any way you like -- for cars, trailers, boats, bicycles, off-road vehicles or anything else you need to keep track of.  The first vehicle ("car") is shown here, but you can enter more by clicking the More Vehicles button.  While the fields are free-form, we suggest the license plates be entered as state/license (using 2-letter state codes) just for uniformity and ease of sorting if necessary.





The discount options can be used to help select appropriate rental rates. You can enter up to 3 discounts that a customer qualifies for, and optionally enter their membership numbers.  The first discount shown will automatically be used when they make a reservation (but can be changed manually if needed), and the appropriate rates for that discount (if defined) will appear in the rates selection list on the Transactions dialog.  Also note that if transactions are entered later using a discount that's not one of the 3 the customer has, it will be added to the customer record automatically if there's an empty space for it.





The option for excluding the customer from the mailing list can be used if the customer requests to be removed from your mailing list.  While it won't affect printing receipts, you can filter them out when printing mailing labels and envelopes.  The E-mail list exclusion will work similarly, although support for E-mailing customers is not present in the current software version.



Warning Flag


The warning flag can be used to black-list customers or for any other purpose where you need to check the customer's information before making a reservation for them (you should indicate the reason for the warning in the Notes field).  If this flag is checked, then a bright red warning icon (an exclamation point in a triangle) will appear on this dialog, plus the Reservation Details and the New Reservation dialog when that customer is selected.  Customers with warning flags also appear in red on the Find Customer list.  It doesn't prevent any action, it just warns you that you need to check the notes.  You can get a list of all customers with warning flags with the menu function Customers / Customers with warning flags.


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