RecChat: Pool Season Prep - 04/06/2023
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The temperatures are rising (mostly), and the snow has stopped (mostly), which can only mean one thing... Pool Season is coming!
Traditionally pool season causes a spike in call volume and we don't want anyone to be left out to dry! Join Vermont Systems Senior Support Specialist Nick Salvatori and Technical Consultant Ross Tenaglia for a discussion all about how to get ahead of the curve when it comes to making sure your pool equipment is ready for Prime Time!
Zach Malloch 0:08
Well, I just found out you can draw on the intro song from our side of the zoom Window. Today is a very special edition of RecChat getting ready for pool season, we were just talking before the session about how it actually feels like you could consider swimming in a few weeks here in Vermont, has not felt like that more recently. We're joined as always by Bret Alarcon and Cullen Barber, and we have some special guests here today, Ross and Nick from the senior support and technical side of the operations crew. And we're going to be hopefully preparing everybody for pool season, it always tends to be a pretty heavy call volume here. And we don't want you to get stuck behind a long line. So the more you can do beforehand, the better off you're going to be. That being said, we do hope that this is a question driven session. So please ask any questions that you might have as we go. And I'll go ahead and get started. Unless anybody wanted to say anything. Before we do that. I think of a better way of asking that question before too long. So we're going to just start in going and go through this checklist. If nobody has any questions, then we'll just post this with the recording of the video afterwards, we have a nice succinct session. Otherwise, ask questions come up, please ask them and we will respond to you. Particularly that will make Nick and Ross very happy. Otherwise, they'll just be very bored for the session.
Zach Malloch 1:35
So to begin with, do your computer's start, you walk into your pool building, maybe you haven't been in there for a couple of months, everything just had maybe a dust cover over it. Maybe it just was turned off. And there's a slushie that got left right next to it. But does it turn on can you boot it up at the workstations that you're going to be using for processing those transactions. Note that we are not currently Windows certified. So Progress has not officially been certified for Windows 11. So be aware of that. You don't necessarily need to update the OS on those computers. And then the question about the peripherals that you're using. Of course, during the supply chain issues during the pandemic, a lot of people got kind of creative with finding devices to work with the system, but they aren't officially supported by us. So if you do have anything that you know you bought from third party maybe get ready a little bit earlier. So you have a little bit more lead time. So you can do your own troubleshooting on those. And of course, we want to make sure that VIC is up to date, and you should probably have RecTrac up to date. And we recently had some of those server tune up sessions for this RecChat and those recordings are certainly available. As long as you're on 184.108.40.206 or newer, there is a newer version of VIC and it should automatically update. But if your workstations in the pool have been off and disconnected for a little while, that can take a little bit of time. Not a lot of time, but definitely want to confirm if that's working Ross
Ross Tenaglia 3:08
Zach Malloch 3:09
Tell us a little bit more about that.
Zach Malloch 3:10
Yeah, and to chime in about that matter, especially if you're hosted you know, we always keep that up to date. Or if you're on premise and you know, you're relatively up to date. And you know, these computers haven't been you know, kicked on for like a year. But then that year frame we've gone through, I think two or three VIC updates since last year. And you know, one thing to make to note about that, like say, you know, our current version of VIC is what 3.1.8 So that
Nick Salvatori 3:42
Zach Malloch 3:43
Yeah, I'm sorry, nine. Yeah, see even more. So yeah, 3.1.9 is our latest version A year ago, I think was 3.17 or maybe even six. So to make note of that, basically, if you're pulling out these computers, and they're still on say 3.15 or six, and you're on the current version of RecTrac where you know you should be on 3.1 Nine, those versions won't auto update. You have to be on 3.1.7 Say you dig out that computer and it's on 3.1.7 And you're hosted so you know you're on the current Build, it should be 3.1.9 that should auto update. But if it's older than 3.1.7 Your your you have to reinstall it with the latest one it it will just stay stuck there and it won't connect. But if you're on 3.1.7 If you pull it out, and you're on the latest Build those should auto update but that's definitely something you want to check into. And just also be aware if it's super old. You're gonna have to just do a quick reinstall should only take a few minutes. You know, to do that just more of awareness than anything else. And Zack has a super Old VIC. So get rid of that.
Zach Malloch 5:08
That's why it hasn't been working.
Nick Salvatori 5:09
Well, that's the Old VIC two. That's not the Next Gen. VIC. So you know, if you log into VIC and you see that password think Zacks was four digits, if you see that it's four digits, that is the Old VIC, and you really should be getting to the Next Gen VIC, which would be the 3.1.9. So the Old VIC will still potentially work but we have no way of installing it anymore. So
Zach Malloch 5:43
and there's also a way to check in your registry key for your current VIC version. Correct. Can you tell me where that is?
Ross Tenaglia 5:50
Yeah, if you open up reg edit dot exe, so you just Type in run or?
Zach Malloch 5:55
Yeah, I did that for my Windows Menus.
Ross Tenaglia 5:58
Yeah. So yeah, if you go to local machine software. I'll scroll down to Wow, 6432 Node.
Zach Malloch 6:10
Ross Tenaglia 6:11
Yep, scroll down, then you'll see VSI. There. And then you'll see VSI, VIC. And there we go.
Zach Malloch 6:23
I think maybe I did install the Next Gen. But I didn't want to uninstall the old one, potentially. So
Ross Tenaglia 6:28
Zach Malloch 6:29
I'm on a more recent version. But yes, so definitely want to make sure that you're on their most recent version of VIC. And, of course, that will be distinctly influenced based on whether you can log into the RecTrac database, if you can't connect to the database, you're not going to get to download the new version of VIC, we have updated all of these links. And once again, this document will be posted with the recording here. So if you're having trouble connecting, we can certainly get you some starting points with this article. And you can always call into support if you need to. Same thing most of this is going to be are things still working. So does the touchscreen work. If you have a touchscreen to the mice work do the regular peripherals just Are they active and functional in the in the pool area. Or any outdoor facilities, of course, do receipts, prints and cuts. So we would recommend like these next three pieces here are basically processing a full transaction might as well throw credit cards on top of that, to make sure that you're able to do because, of course, you'll be able to do check and cash. But if you can't do credit cards, that will probably put a little bit of a kink into things.
Ross Tenaglia 7:44
Yeah, and we always recommend like, especially for Point Of Sale, you know, you have service items, you have inventory, but ideally service items, they don't really, you know, take away from inventory. If you have like a cheapo $1 thing, or whatever the cost is, we always recommend, you know, doing a test run and actually buying it, you can always return it, you know, cancel and refund it like you normally would. But just plugging it in and saying, hey, it's connected, you know, looks good. But you know, there's more factors that go into it. Where you will, the only way to find out is to actually process a transaction. So just by plugging in and seeing like the reader says connected, everything looks good, you do want to kind of go through the full motions there. You don't want to
Cullen Barber 8:31
You should do it in the live too, right? Because of the credit card piece. Yeah, we'll do some stuff in the Demo if it's a fairly recent copy over. But the final steps should be in the live to make sure the credit card works and everything's up to date.
Zach Malloch 8:46
And that's of course using a real credit card, not a test dummy number and
Cullen Barber 8:50
Zach Malloch 8:51
we want to the whole trip around the financial world is actually happening. Similar to that, does the pass swiper work, can you actually process visits the full way, one of the things that can certainly catch people up is if you've updated passes, you've changed your structure. If you haven't also updated the visit Profile, then you might have a lot of people with these new passes that can't actually swipe in, they'll say that they don't have any valid passes of the list. So you need to make sure that it's any updates are done on the passes as well as the visit Profile itself. Anything that's updating fees,
Nick Salvatori 9:30
Zack, I'm going to
Zach Malloch 9:31
Nick Salvatori 9:32
butt in here. So back to the pass swipers. I know some pools have some turnstiles, so obviously access control will play into that. So obviously make sure that you know where you can swipe an ID and then the turnstiles unlocking or the gates unlocking. So just to add to that to the Swiper part.
Zach Malloch 9:58
Yeah, very, very good points about the access control piece,
Ross Tenaglia 10:01
and another thing about swipers, to different from access control, you know, I would say the majority, especially in this environment, you know, these would be what we refer to as like keyboard emulation readers, meaning, if you have no pad up or you have anything up that has a cursor, if you scan it, content will generate in it. And that's always a good test to do with just the barcode reader itself. But if you happen to have an, you know, again, like I said, for pools might not be as prominent, but maybe they exist, that they're what we've referred to as background visit scanning, meaning, you know, you're doing something else in RecTrac, where visit processing isn't, you know, front and center, and people are scanning, and you get the little pop up in the corner, wherever it is to say, hey, so and so scanned in background visit scanning requires driver configuration back end configuration, you can't test, you know, just by scanning in Notepad. So, if you have anything like that, generally people who know they have it, know, they have it. So just be mindful, you do also want to test that out as well, because I know sometimes when you unplug them and plug them back in, the emulation gets effectively reset. And sometimes you have to kind of go over the whole, you know, driver configuration, again,
Zach Malloch 11:27
sending virtual comm ports and exciting stuff like that. So we talked about, if your fees are up to up to date, if there's been any price structure changes, if you have any date criteria on rules or fees, you definitely want to make sure that those are also updated. We have plenty of RecChats talking about ways of doing those types of things fairly well in bulk bulk criteria change and the like. And then we reiterate talking about adding the passes to the visit Profile. So you can probably start to extrapolate that what we're really saying is just pretend like you're open several weeks, ideally, multiple, multiple days, at the very least before you actually open and make sure everything you need to do can be done through RecTrac. So that you're not surprised when you have a line of people waiting out the door, really wanting to get out of the heat that we're keep hearing is coming.
Cullen Barber 12:22
Particularly some hardware, maybe it didn't survive the winter as well, you need to get some new hardware, you want to give yourself time to order that and get that in place. For sure. I think I remember exactly when we added a new kind of Point Of Sale touchscreen option where you could basically send your changes out to the touchscreen, and they didn't automatically go out to I guess Ross or Nick, do you remember that change for basically pushing out the touch Button changes? Oh,
Nick Salvatori 12:52
I don't know when that happened
Cullen Barber 12:54
tree update there. I think
Zach Malloch 12:56
published changes published.
Cullen Barber 12:57
Yeah, there you go. Yeah, yeah,
Ross Tenaglia 12:59
I don't recall exactly when that came out. But yeah, that was like get rid of that nasty loading.
Cullen Barber 13:05
Ross Tenaglia 13:06
Loading all buttons thing when people had a million screens,
Cullen Barber 13:11
just so to pay attention to if you if you were maybe on an older version last year, and now you're in a newer version, and you're changing some buttons, there is a new process where you hit the publish changes Button. So it does filter out to the screens themself.
Zach Malloch 13:25
Yeah. And there's no harm in hitting this just as kind of a preparation Type thing. Also, it doesn't take too long to do it. I wouldn't do it during your busiest time. But it Yeah, so didn't really take very long at all to do for me. And I've got a couple of screens with some buttons for like touch or venue ticketing and like,
Ross Tenaglia 13:46
yeah, and I saw Jamie's question. There are more of a comment. Yeah, definitely, you know, anything with dates. I know you mentioned like receipt comments. So that would be your receipt Profile. That's in Profile Management or assignments, whatever your preference is. And then those, you know, global those global receipt. Yeah, as X, Zack will get there.
Zach Malloch 14:13
It's one of those things that you know, I've often forgotten things here also, because it is kind of on a second tab. And most of the settings that I'm ever wanting to get to are on this core tab. But yeah, we have these daily comments and the like. So if you have any, any things pointing out upcoming events, like Jamie mentioned, they had some stuff referencing last year.
Ross Tenaglia 14:36
Yeah. And one of the other thing that I'd like to kind of add on to that. Granted, we've always tried to steer people away from doing this, but certainly there's reasons why that they do if you like reprint passes every year, and you actually put like the date like they sorry more the year like you know 2023 2022 Do For example, it for like the pass template, just make sure you go to like template design studio. And if you do happen to do that, don't forget to update that like hard coded date that you put in there. So it's not saying 2022 It's saying 2023. If, if you're, if you're pulling dynamically from whatever the member dates are it, you know, RecTrac will update it through that means, but if you do something like, add text, and you just Type in the number 2022, you have to come into your passes and say, 2023, obviously, the passes will still work, but visually, they will be a little bit misleading.
Zach Malloch 15:42
Absolutely. Angela says don't forget about your poll displays, we actually took off the poll display piece from this checklist, because we found that there weren't that many people having with them in 3.1, and VIC, but yeah, definitely something to also make sure is up and running. So maybe don't just process the transaction from the clerk side, but have somebody pretend to be the customer and look at things from that perspective as well. Very good point there.
Zach Malloch 16:15
Okay, well, we can make another call for questions here, we kind of zipped through the checklist. And the the other thing, you know, just to reiterate is that we did update all of these links. Oh, that's an interesting one might have to just that. Oh, yeah, this is supposed to just bring us to a search results page.
Zach Malloch 16:47
So we'll update that. But I think that we were trying to get you to kind of this area. So you could start looking into some of your fee updates and the like, see if maybe this is also not going to work. Oh, interesting. Well, we'll double check those links. But the ones that are pointing to a specific number, or name of an article, those will definitely be working for you right from here. And of course, you can search for anything that you need to in our new knowledge base. See, so. Okay, so two questions about visit processing. So Sharon is asking about the number of visitors entering them. So how do we set it up so that we can process more than one visit at one time? That's a good question.
Ross Tenaglia 17:42
Now, would that be like within like the same family like say, you know, a whole family comes in? And you know, the mom or dad or whomever swipe their card, and then they want the rest of whoever's in the group that has valid passes the chime in? Or if you're swiping someone in, and you want to process more than one visit, you know, within that process?
Zach Malloch 18:05
Yeah, those are the two areas I was going to go for as well. So we have the where is that Toggle?
Ross Tenaglia 18:17
Both? Well, there you go, Zack.
Zach Malloch 18:20
So we have this option for using the family members swipe in logic. So if you frequently have more than one person from a household coming in, you swipe in one person, then it displays each person in the household on the Screen, and you can just choose which one of those people are actually coming in also. So you don't have to have people just swiping in their whole family, one after the other. So that's definitely something I would turn on and try out and see if it if you like the way that that works. I think that that was set up where I can actually do something visit processing. And that may or may not actually be working, but he's my test guy here. So here's our family members swiping logic. So if we had a couple of people coming in also, it shows the list of their passes. And you can just do that and you can imagine that's a bit faster than if you were going to just swipe each person and go through these prompts with each person swiping individually. The other option that Ross was kind of going to is that when you're going to Pass Management believe it's the second tab in here.
Ross Tenaglia 19:40
Yeah, I think so.
Zach Malloch 19:43
you have the option of so for the max total visits max, max, max guest visits, both kind of play into this but this is the really more important part is the allow update of visit counts. So in this case, it's a customer that never wanted to have more than one visit attached to a swipe. We actually had some university customers where they would be the students would be swiping in so quickly that we'd actually get their pass number put into that visit count Field. And so you'd have like this one visit that was like 3000 Different visits all tied together. So by limiting this to the most number of people you would ever imagine would come in with another person, you can avoid something like that from happening. Max guest visits would be the number of guests visits that somebody gets when they buy this pass. And I saw, there was another question that came in for what's your best suggestion for adding and using free guest passes? So this is part of it. If we turn on, like, let's just say that you get five guest visits, when you purchase this membership, then you have those for the term of the membership. And when you renew, you'd get more guests visits put onto it. I'm not actually sure. Do either of you guys have a way of assigning guest visits to pre existing passes? already bought the membership where if they've already used it, we want to add another two or three guest visits to everybody?
Ross Tenaglia 21:14
That's a great question. I don't think I've encountered having to do that. So I'm not necessarily sure how that would shake out?
Zach Malloch 21:25
I Don't. But
Cullen Barber 21:29
yeah, I wonder if Caitlin's question about, you know, what's your best suggestions for adding and using tree guest passes? I mean, I've seen some people just have a special pass code, right for a free guest visit, especially if it's a really high volume area, you know, you want to be able to have the clerk Build process. And, and quickly, you could do that, I don't know what kind of collateral, you know, the guests may need to provide to do that, for the clerk to kind of balance those out. But I've certainly seen that, especially in high volume areas, where you just you gotta gotta make sure it's quick, you know, you could give out like a coupon or something like that, and ring up a guest pass as a fee, and then pay it off with a coupon or something, but that sometimes isn't as fast, maybe isn't fast enough for for high volume areas, you know,
Nick Salvatori 22:17
I was gonna suggest just, you know, setting up a daily pass and processing it that way.
Cullen Barber 22:22
It just depends if you need to track it to, like to a household or if you're just okay, of, you know, tracking the total number of the free guest passes coming in.
Zach Malloch 22:34
Yeah, that in so she clarifies a little bit that they currently have a special passcode but they're curious what other ideas were out there. So yeah, the passcode right here certainly works. And if you're selling it for free, you can skip the payment Screen and go even faster. But the way of doing it where you're actually attaching it to the pass will limit the number of guests visits at this one individual can have over the term of their past so you can tie it back and make sure you're not having somebody bring in a guest every day if that's not part of your policy. Alright well I think that we're let me just show you because so we made this max total visits but I also more importantly it's this allow updated visit counts. One thing to really point out with this is this is a per pass setting. So the other one family member visit logic that is just in your pass visit Profile, your visit processing Profile, this one you would need to turn it on for any of the memberships that you would actually want to be able to process that update for so let me turn off the family member swipe logic here
Zach Malloch 23:53
that's the attended that's when we're going to turn off so save that and we'll close visit processing and reopen it so it gets those new settings
Zach Malloch 24:04
I see person
Zach Malloch 24:19
so now it's just a visit for this person who may have multiple passes, I might need to make sure this I'm going to use Alumni Association 12 month and it looks like that one doesn't have that toggle turned on. So this is maybe what you have right now. And then we go and we look for the Alumni Association 12 month we turn that toggle on. And since this is just to change the past, we don't have to reset the visit processing Screen you should just be able to look him up again.
Zach Malloch 24:50
And then once again, choosing that pass, now it gives us the opportunity of updating the visit count. So if he had five people coming with him, we could just do that as one thing, we hit continue. And then in our DataGrid, we can see that this was actually a five visit, five person visit. And you know, since I'm here, I might as well just point out that we also have this, this is sometimes useful if you have, your pools have a certain limit, and you're often at that limit, if even if you're not swiping people out, so if you're swiping people in and swiping people out, that second swipe is going to remove them and be a swipe out. So you know that you're back up to a higher capacity, we can see I've processed many visits, and now down to only 391. What we can do this is also in the visit Profile is set a certain number of swipe outs so that as clerks observe people leaving the pool, you can just hit you know, swipe out, two. And note that that's changing my capacity, swipe out 10 is bringing us back all the way up to full, basically an empty pool. So that is something else you can do with that visit processing Profile.
Cullen Barber 26:11
While you're here Zach too, a couple of kind of performance things that we've noticed, notice the number of records that you display in the data grid. So I think sometimes at one point, it defaulted to 500 or 1000, or something like that. And that's certainly not necessary, right. But it has to do every time you do a visit, it has to refetch every other visit. So if you're, you know you're displaying 2000 visits, it's gonna take longer and longer throughout the day, it's gonna get slower and slower to repopulate the Screen. So. So that's something you can change, you can still hit them more and see them all. So it's, you know, we usually recommend 50 or 35, somewhere in there. And that should keep it fast. And same with the photos. You know how long to keep the photos visible, I think, you know, most people probably under you know, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, you can always again, select a certain visit and view the photo for those that maybe were older. But again, to kind of keep things going as fast as they can, that's a good idea to to keep that length down. And also the number of pass visits to show by default.
Zach Malloch 27:18
Yeah, and if you don't use like, if you never go to the database to look to see the picture of somebody who swiped in, you can just turn off the display photos in the DataGrid. And that'll just be even that much better that much less processing on the workstation. But we do have actually a RecChat that goes all the way through the visit Profile. I think we just went through every single setting and kind of talked about when you would use it and how you would use it. So if anybody is curious about more things like that, you can certainly do so. I'll just point out this is where the capacity pieces. So how many people can be in the facility? So What number are you counting down from when you swipe? And then what increments are you able to kind of batch people out as people are watching them leave? Maybe it's hard to do a real quick headcount of 15 people. But you could always do a periodic sweep and count to see how many people are there and then just remove the excess that maybe we were missed as they were leaving. But that brings us to 2:30 Write around or almost. I guess I would ask if anybody has any final thoughts, Ross or Nick any parting words of advice or suggestions as people are getting ready for the pool to avoid pain?
Ross Tenaglia 28:31
Now I started off front loaded with the VIC, because that directly affects me at the end of the day too.
Zach Malloch 28:41
All right, then I think we can go ahead and wrap this up. And like I said, we'll update some of those links or reconfigure some of those links and post that document. And Bret, you imagine you probably be able to have this up there by the end of the day or
Bret Alarcon 28:55
Yeah, yeah, I could probably send that.
Zach Malloch 28:58
Alright. Then we'll do that. And I will start thanking everybody. I'll thank all of our participants. So really good questions. Really good points. And of course, our esteemed panelists, Ross and Nick and Cullen jumping in. And thank you, Bret for dealing with all the stuff that we do. So I think we're ready to take it in for landing. Thanks again.
Bret Alarcon 29:19
Cullen Barber 29:20
Ross Tenaglia 29:21