The Communications Page is one of the four sub pages of the Red Urchin application and the most commonly used. The purpose of the Communications Page is as a central view to keep a record of all communications pertaining to a single source. This may be a person, an organisation or anything else that you would like to track. This is a fundamental component of the Red Urchin application and a key component of effective time management and preparedness. The Communications Page continues and stays active for the complete life-cycle of the interaction with the entity, detailing key points, resolutions and most importantly actions relevant to the communications.
You can create a new Communications Page by selecting the Add icon in the header section of the Communications summary page. You need to enter at a minimum data in the Name field for the page to be created and saved (or link an existing contact from your devices contacts).
You can find an existing Communications Page by using the Communications summary page or using the Search field at the top of the ‘To Do Today’ Page. The sub page summary screen allows you to list the current Communications Pages in any order by selecting the column headings. To use the Search field, enter a relevant search term and select Search and a list of relevant pages will be displayed, ordered by relevance including both Active and Inactive pages. Select the relevant Communications Page from the results to open the page.
The Communications Page is broken into two main sections, the Header Section and the Data Section.
The Header Section details all of the key information for the Communications Page. A new Communications Page can be linked to an existing contact from your device or you can enter any data that makes sense to you in the header section.
To link the Communications Page to An existing Contact
Select the Link Contact button on the right hand side of the header section. This will bring up a list of contacts from your devices contacts list. Select a contact from the list and the information will be pre-populated into the Communications Page data fields (name, email, phone, cell etc). If information is changed in the device contact record it will automatically be updated in the Communications Page. You can also update information from the Communications Page that will update the device contact record. For example, if you are in a meeting with the relevant Communications Page open and you are given an updated cell phone number, you can update it directly on the page and it will update the contacts record on the device without you exiting the Red Urchin application.
To link the Communications Page to an organisation/person who is not in your Contacts
Enter the information that you need for the organisation or person the Communications Page relates to. The only mandatory field is the Name field. If you later want to add this information to the devices contacts, you can select the Add To Contacts button on the right of the header section. This will create a new contacts record on your device with the information previously entered in the Communications Page and create a link to that contacts record for two way updates as described above.
Any sub page has two statuses, either Active or Inactive. By default a Communications Page is active and stays active for the lifecycle of your communications with that entity. When you have finalised your communications you can set the page to Inactive by selecting the Active icon at the top of the page. This toggles the page to Inactive, which simply locks the page for editing and decreases its relevance in any searches. It can still be viewed if required but to edit it, you need to set it back to active which can be done by selecting the Inactive icon at the top of the page, which will toggle back to Active when selected.
Home, Help and Export icons
You can navigate back to the current ‘To Do Today’ page, by selecting the Home icon at the top of the page and all of your data will automatically save as you exit. To access help for the Communications Page, select the Help button at the top of the page. The Print/Export icon allows you to print (via airprint) or export the current page via PDF.
The data section of the Communications Page functions very similar to the ‘To Do Today’ page. All of the entries are made in rows with the functionality specific to that row. Entries can be made in any row (empty rows are allowed) and the only mandatory field for a row is the Subject field. There are a few key fields for each entry.
The Type field lets you select from a pulldown list of pre-defined entries to catagorise the type of communication. This may be relevant to only the first entry for a number of entries. For example, if I spoke to Bob smith I may make an entry of ‘I – Incoming Call’ and the relevant details of our communication. If I met him I may select ‘M – Meeting’ for the first entry and the list all of the the relevant entries, decisions, responses etc as shown in the diagram as they all relate to the same meeting.
The Date field is automatically completed with the current date when an entry is made in the Subject field. By selecting the Date field, you can easily choose another date for the field if required.
The Subject field is a free text field for the entry and is the only mandatory field for a row. The purpose of the field is to note the particular subject of discussion. You can see some examples in the screenshots. You can also enter a subject in at any time so use them as a reminder. For example, if you have to talk to Bob Smith about the new sales breakdowns next time you meet, open his Communications Page and put an entry in so that when you do meet, the subject is there waiting to be discussed without you having to remember it.
The Outcome field is a free text field and its purpose is to list the outcome, resolution or decision pertaining to the subject field. Examples are shown in the screenshots. If the outcome is something that you need to follow up on or time activate, you will need to set the Follow Up field.
Follow Up Field
By selecting the Follow Up (F/U) field , you can quickly and easily schedule the outcome or activity into a ‘To Do Today’ page entry. Selecting the F/U will bring up a sub-menu with two parts. Firstly you can select a date to action this activity. By selecting a date, Red Urchin will make an entry with the text from the Subject and Outcome fields, in the ‘To Do Today’ page for the date that you selected. It will also auto-complete the Reference field on the ‘To Do Today’ page activity to reference the Communications Page so you an easily go back to the discussion as needed. The second part of the menu lets you select if this is a follow up for you to complete, or for someone else to complete. This selection determines where on the ‘To Do Today’ page the activity is recorded. If it is an action for you to complete, it will be listed in the main section of the ‘To Do Today’ page, if it is an activity for someone else to complete it will be recorded in the Due From Others section.
The paperclip icon allows you to attach documents from multiple sources to the row. The icon is greyed out if there is no documents attached and highlighted if you have attached documents. See Attaching Documents.
Action Icon (*)
The Action Icon allows you to performs particular actions on the row. The available actions for the Communications Page are:
Change Font – this allows you to change the colour or highlight the entry
Mark As Completed – Set the task as completed. This also sets any time activated task to completed on the ‘To Do Today’ page. If you have set an entry to completed, you can also set it to uncompleted using this menu setting.
Delete Entry – This deletes the entire row permanently. It also deletes any related activity that you have time activated in the ‘To Do Today’ page.
Using the Communications Page Effectively
To use the Communications Page effectively it is best to use it firstly as an advanced reminder system. For example, when you need to discuss a topic with someone, open their Communications Page and make an entry as a reminder. Over time you may have multiple items to discuss next time you see them and because you wrote them down you won’t forget about any of the topics.
Secondly, use the Communications Page every time you interact with that person or organisation (some of our users who work in sales based roles have over 300 active Communications Pages), keep it brief, keep it simple and ensure you set follow up on outcomes of discussion to ensure they are in your ‘To Do Today’ section and can be completed. This way nothing gets missed, forgotten or overlooked…astound your colleagues with your efficiently!