Activities represent the work you have done to benefit your customers and can be linked to Businesses, People and Tasks.
Unlike Tasks, which represent a unit of work to be done, Activities record something that has been done. For example, you may open a Task to “report a broken street light” and then an Activity to record that you “reported a broken light to the council and made sure it was fixed”. The later would be linked to all the Businesses that benefitted from that action.
Activities provide essential reporting data so it’s vital that all are recorded and in a way that is consistent across users within a team. This article explains how to use Activities and introduces you important features like Types, Subtypes and Tags.
There are seven built-in Activity Types that allow you to organise Activities into groups for reporting purposes. A description of how to use each Type is included below:
Achievements: should be used to record that a goal has been reached. This may to be the culmination of lots of smaller jobs and interactions: a perfect example of this king of Achievement can be drawn from one Solomon user who recorded that 100,000 pieces of chewing gum had been cleared from the streets over a three month period. Other Achievements might record a significant win, like being awarded a Purple Flag.
Benefits: should be used to record the take-up of services that you offer to your customers. For example, if you provide a security radio, loyalty cards or offer meeting room space (etc.) then these should be captured as Benefits.
Events: should be used to record significant seasonal initiatives delivered by you that benefit your customers (“Restaurant Week”, for example), as well as important dates like launch events or you Annual General Meeting.
Interactions: should be used to record any significant engagement with a customer, including business visits, meetings, important emails and calls, and mail-outs.
Reports: should be used to record when issues have been reported to a third party on behalf of a customer. For example, if you are reporting environmental issues like a broken pavement to a local authority for action, this would be recorded as a Task first and then recorded as a Report once the matter is resolved.
Jobs: should be used to record work done by you on behalf of a customer. Street cleansing, graffiti removal, waste removal, dealing with anti-social behaviour etc should all be recorded as Jobs.
Promotions: should be used to record anything you do to promote your customers to the outside world. Retweets, editorial coverage, Facebook posts etc. should all be recorded as Promotions.
Training: should be used to record training sessions, masterclasses, workshops, and other provision that aims to up-skill and develop the workforce.
You must select a Type before you can save an Activity.
You can create as many Subtypes as you need and you can manage them via the the Directory settings menu. The examples included in the image below ("Business Visit", "Mailout" etc), while relevant for most Solomon customers, are for illustration purposes only and you will need to set your own Subtypes up. We highly recommend that you do this at the outset to ensure consistent data entry by your teams.
Subtypes provide you with advance reporting capabilities by allowing you to add an additional level of grouping to your Activities. You might want to know how many business visits have been completed in a given timeframe and, in this example, a “business visit” should be created as a Subtype of Interaction. Alternatively, you might want to know how many street cleansing jobs you’ve done and, in this example, “street cleaning” should be created as a Subtype of Job.
Please note, Subtypes belong to a specific Type of Activity and can only used in that context. For example, if “business visit” is created as a Subtype of Interaction it cannot be used when recording a Job. If you need to group Activities together regardless of their Type then you should use a Tag instead (see Tagging Activities, below).
You must select a Subtype before you can save an Activity.
Public Descriptions vs Notes
You can add a Public Description and/or an array of Notes to an Activity. These allow you to record important details that your team and/or customer need on file. The key differences are:
Public Description: will be visible to your customer if you provide them with access to their online timeline.
Notes: are internal memos that are only visible to you and your team.
Just like a Twitter hashtag (#), Tags in Solomon allow you to group data together. They are distinct from Subtypes (see above) because they cut across all Activity Types. A good example of using Tags can be drawn from one Solomon user who tags all Interactions, Events and Promotions related to “Restaurant Week”. This allows the user to extract a list of all Activities related to that initiative.
You can create as many Tags as you need and you can manage them via the the Directory settings menu.
Return on Investment: Cost and Value
To further enhance your reporting power, you might want to add Cost and Values for each Activity you create, or for those where it’s most relevant. Cost should reflect the cost to you of delivering the service to each Business it benefits. For example, if you have secured editorial coverage in the press it may have cost you £25 per business to cover the Journalists travel expenses. Value should reflect what your customer would have to pay if they went out and purchased the same benefit at fair market rate. For example, the editorial coverage you secured might be worth £500 per Business if they were to purchase equivalent advertising space. In Directory, when you filter Activities down to a specific Business the summary includes a calculation for Cost and Value, giving you a simple way to extract basic Return on Investment metrics for each of your customers.
Whilst adding locations is optional, If you would like to take advantage of our Activity reporting heat maps then it is essential that you give your Activities a location. To do so, simply find the Location field in the Activity edit form, click the blue Add Location button and drag the pin to the correct location on the map.
Adding Businesses to Activities
Possibly the most important feature of an Activity is that you can record which Businesses benefitted from it. This allows users to generate a personalised activity timeline for each individual customer. To add a Business, locate the Businesses field on the Activity edit form 'Find/Remove', place your cursor inside the field and begin typing to search for and then select a Business. If you wish to add more than one Business then you can repeat these steps.
If you wish to add a group of Businesses you can do this based on Tag. For example, if you have tagged all Businesses that participate in the local “Crime Partnership” and the Activity you are creating relates to that group of Businesses then you can add them by Tag, rather than searching for them individually. (Currently this can only be done through the Activity Wizard)
Some Activities will be of benefit to all your customers and linking them all individually will be inefficient. In these cases, you can set "Display on all Timelines" to "Yes". The Activity will be displayed on every customer's Timeline.
Adding Collaborators to Activities
Collaborators can be linked to Activities, allowing you to monitor who is doing what and for which of your customers. To add a Collaborator, locate the Collaborators field on the Activity edit form, place your cursor inside the field and begin typing to search for and then select a Collaborator. If you wish to add more than one Collaborator then you can repeat these steps.