Product Update

Enhanced Activities & Emails Now in Beta

2-Mar 2018
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Hugh Cowling PRODUCT MANAGER

Today, we're excited to announce the Beta release of enhanced Activities and emails. This complements our popular Rich-Text upgrade that went live earlier this year, to further improve the process of creating emails, notes, meetings, and calls in Accelo.

With so much hype around rich-text editing & formatting, we wanted to give you more highly-requested upgrades to play around with. The team here have been pushing hard to ensure this Beta release exceeds all expectation, so we've got 5 features to share with you, including:

Forwarding Activities

Yep, we've really bitten the bullet here to accommodate more of your everyday email-client features. This change adds a simple new option for forwarding any email, note, call or meeting that's visible in Accelo. No matter whether the email was captured or created in Accelo, you can forward it to your team or clients either way. Just look for the little forward arrow to try it out:

fwd button

There are a few key reasons why users need this feature:

  1. Using the standard reply feature and including others in the conversation didn't guarantee that the quoted "previous message" would be included in the email sent from Accelo. This led to users getting emails without any context. The new forwarding feature explicitly copies the original message - including rich text and inline images - into your new email/note so it can't be missed.
  2. Sending attachments on the original email/note to others was a bit tedious. Now these will be automatically attached to the forwarded message you are composing.
  3. Users want to stay in Accelo and track their time & notes accurately, so having to switch between Gmail or Outlook just to forward an email means lost billable time!

fwd email

Note: While we allow any type of Activity to be forwarded, forwarding a meeting just means you're sending someone a copy of the meeting email in terms of the subject and body/description of the meeting - not actually inviting them.

Including Any Accelo Contact as Recipient

When you're composing an email to Client A, by default Accelo would only return contacts from Client A as possible recipients. Of course, the Contributors feature allowed contacts from other companies to be included, but this side-step for making contributors disrupted the Create Activity flow. We've overhauled the recipient's search process so that you can now easily include any contacts from across our Accelo client database as recipients.

This change means you'll see three distinct result areas when typing in the recipient fields:

  • Contacts: those directly associated with the client whose work you're making an Activity, plus any other contacts you've linked as Contributors for the client work.
  • Staff: your internal team/users.
  • Other Contacts: this is the new piece; matching contacts from any other client in Accelo will appear here.
As you can imagine, the results area for Other Contacts could be very long, so to make the process of finding Other Contacts easier, the search will support firstname, lastname, email or company name - and you can mix & match your search terms, and even include partial matches

other contact

 

Creating Contacts On-the-Fly

Because Accelo has a CRM at its core, sending an email to an address without a client or contact behind that email address was never possible. This might have been good in the sense that it forced some users to do the right thing and set-up company and contact records in the system, but for many, this was too restrictive and downright tedious. We admit it.

Fortunately, we've overcome it by introducing a nifty little "Add Contact" prompt so you can create that missing contact in-line as you're composing an email/activity.

add contact inline

As you can see, it is super light-weight - just the bare minimum to save the contact and get you back to the Create Activity window with the new contact inserted as a recipient. If you happen to remove them, don't stress, they've automatically been saved to be searched as normal!

If you happen to search by name (rather than email) you will still see the option and we'll speed things up for you by intelligently moving the text into the firstname and lastname fields.

We'll also use the email domain to suggest existing clients which this new contact might belong to - or even fill in the Company field for you if we find only one company with contacts that have the same email domain.

Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) recipient line

Being able to BCC staff and contacts when composing an email or note in Accelo is also now possible as part of this beta release. Simply toggle to show the Cc line and the Bcc line will also appear for you.

bcc lineAs you'd expect, any other users viewing the details of an activity in Accelo won't know who was Bcc'd, but we do store this detail and display it only to the sender.

Internal Reply

Lastly - and we couldn't help ourselves here - this cheeky little option allows you to quickly emulate a Reply-All but without any client contacts, hence you're doing a reply to just the staff (internal team) who were included on the activity/email. Since we're not sure if this will be used as heavily as the new Forward button, we've opted to keep this guy in the 3-dot menu available on the right:

internal reply

How can I get Beta access?

Just shoot an email to beta@accelo.com - be sure to include your Accelo account - letting us know you want to be a part of the Activities Beta and we'll come back to you with details for getting access. We should point out these features will be available in your production account so you're battle-testing while working with your real colleagues and clients in Accelo.

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