September 22, 2020, 05:44:42 pm

Need Some Creative Assistance

Started by psamuels56, February 11, 2020, 09:26:48 pm

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maybe request a combination of zip code, 4 digit date/time related random code and limit the maximum number of retries.

Steve Wood


I will try to direct members to this post but because we just started to use this forum again not too many members are here yet to respond.
Steve Wood


Hi Everyone.

I had a request, from a customer, and my first reaction was that I couldn't make it happen (I hate telling them that... I usually say I can get them anything they can ask for).  But I thought I'd share it with you, to see if someone had any creative thoughts.

Here's the simple scenario: I'm working with a seasonal driveway repair company (they're in Rochester, NY - so the repair season is limited to April - October) that dispatches 6 or 7 truck crews, every day, to do the repairs. They're using a desktop application I deployed 3 years ago that takes phone requests from customers, schedules the repair dates, plots each trucks' routes and manages all of the payments received by check, cash or a credit card number, that the customer calls in. It has been working very well and they love the program.

For this season, they requested the ability for customers to make their credit card payments online (apparently, they get so many credit card calls, during the day, that it's taking up a lot of time, for the accounting staff). 

Normally, I'd say this was easy, BUT here's my problem: Customers are rarely at home when the repairs are done. The drivers leave "hang tags" on the customers' doors, with a handwritten price telling them how much they owe. The hang tags are printed with instructions for sending a check or calling in a credit card. The drivers don't use job #'s or any other identifiable information, on the hang tags. BUT, since the customers didn't place their orders online or have the invoice/job numbers (or any login information), I can't think of how I'd create an easy, but secure, system that allows them to make their Credit Card payments online.

Now, when a check comes in, the accounting department looks up the address and/or name on the check and matches it to a job.  It's been working that way for years, even before they were using my program. If a Credit Card call comes in, the agent asks for the address that was repaired and they can apply the credit card payment to that order.

So, I can't come up with a way that the customers could go online to enter their Credit Card payments.  I can't just have them enter an address to lookup their jobs (they'd be able to see the job information and prices of any neighbor).  I was thinking of having the drivers give a job code, made up of random letters and numbers (at least 10 characters) that link to the jobs.  That could be made secure, BUT it would require the drivers to correctly write that job code on each of the hang tags. Needless to say, I don't think I'd trust the drivers to do that job accurately and "neatly"... AND, preprinting the job codes is a logistic nightmare.

Maybe, I'm making this more complicated than it is, but I listen to all of you, every Friday, and you have so many good ideas... so I thought I'd ask.  Any ideas would be appreciated.  - Phil