Kartris contains built-in facilities to handle customer support through your web site.

These include a searchable knowledgebase system that you can load up with articles relating to specific products or technical issues, and a support ticket system that allows you to handle support from customers in a managed way, instead of via a slew of emails.

The knowledgebase features can be turned off (so they are hidden on the front end of your site) using the frontend.knowledgebase.enabled config setting.

To access the knowledgebase features in the back end, go to 'Support > Knowledgebase'.

Articles can be created with just a name (display title), text (details) and page-title tag (for search engines). It is also suggested to use keywords; as well as populating the meta-keywords tag on the page, these keywords are also searched as part of the knowledgebase search on the front end. It is useful to add alternative spellings or names for certain things, or common misspellings, to ensure that articles have the best chance of being found with the knowledgebase search.

The support tickets system can be enabled for customers and site visitors with the frontend.supporttickets.enabled config setting.

The Kartris support ticket system provides a web-based alternative for dealing with technical and sales support that has a number of advantages.

  • Tickets go into a pool, with any member of staff being able to take them from the back end. Even staff in multiple offices can provide support.

  • If a customer is in discussion with a member of staff who is absent or unavailable, another staff member can easily take over the ticket and ensure that support continues to be provided, unlike email where it may be problematic to access an absent staff member's email.

  • The ticket system keeps the original support request and subsequent replies from staff and the customer in a chronological thread.

  • The support ticket system is based around the same customer records that order history and other account-related features are linked to. It allows you to access further customer information easily from the support ticket. It also means that the customer's ability to post tickets can be linked to their account status. The system effectively controls access to support, so only those entitled to it are given it.

  • Having support issues all contained within the database creates scope to monitor performance, as well as search for similar issues. Kartris keeps track of the time taken in responding each time, so a total time for each ticket and customer can be calculated.

Support tickets opened by customers will show up in yellow in the back end support tickets view when they are still unassigned to a staff member. Once a site admin views the ticket and assigns it to themselves (the simplest way is using the 'Me' link next to the 'Assigned to' menu), they can reply to it.

The customer will receive an email when the ticket is updated. They should enter any follow up comments through the web site rather than by responding to the email, to ensure all comments are linked to the thread. The ticket will show as light grey in the listing.

Once a customer has replied, the admin responsible for the ticket will receive an email notification. The ticket will show again as yellow, meaning that action is required.

Once an issue has been resolved, the ticket can be closed. At this point it will change colour to dark grey.

The status can also be set as 'not sure' or 'unresolved'. Tickets will generally be set to this when you wish to highlight them for future attention rather than immediate attention.

Both site admins and customers should not reply to the notification emails themselves. You can only reply to a ticket via the web-based interface. For store admins, tickets awaiting a reply are shown in the 'to do' task list on the right hand side of the admin panel. Customers on the front of the site must login and go to the support tickets section of their account to make replies.

Kartris shows a number of statistics on each ticket, including the number of tickets raised by this customer, the total number of messages and the total time taken on tickets for this customer (in addition to the time taken for this ticket, which is under the ticket details on the left hand side).

The Kartris support for QuickBooks is partially complete. It will not handle orders with promotion discounts or coupons. These may be addressed in future versions.

QuickBooks is an accountancy program from Intuit. There are various versions offered with different levels of features and with specific country-related features. The country versions include the USA, UK and Canada. The different country versions have much in common, but have specific support for certain localized features. For example, the UK version supports VAT (value added tax), whereas the US and Canadian versions support the different types of sales taxes that operate in those countries.

In order that QuickBooks can 'talk' to online systems such as shopping carts, Intuit developed the QuickBooks Web Connector (QBWC), an extra piece of software. This is available as a free download from Intuit:

http://marketplace.intuit.com/webconnector/

The QBWC runs on the same computer on which QuickBooks is installed, and acts as middleware between QuickBooks and a special web service on your Kartris web site.

The QBWC supports a wide range of different QuickBooks versions, including the different country versions. For this reason, you don't need a specialized version of the QBWC for your specific version of QuickBooks. Check Intuit's documentation if you are not sure whether your version of QuickBooks is supported by the QBWC.

If you are using an older version of QuickBooks (more than one year old) then you may get an error when using the QBWC. This seems to be because newer versions of the QBWC assume your system has some software installed that is installed by newer versions of QuickBooks, but not by older ones. In this case, you should uninstall the QBWC, sign up to the Intuit Developer network and download the SDK (Software Development Kit). Install this, and then re-install the latest QBWC and it should fix the problem

The QBWC must be installed on the same machine on which you run QuickBooks.

Ensure that you have QuickBooks running, the QBWC running and that your Kartris web site is accessible and running.

In QuickBooks, go to chart of accounts, and add a new account called 'Kartris Store' – make it an 'income' account.
Then add a new non-stock inventory item called 'Kartris Order Item', and set it to belong to this account.

Now, in Kartris, go to 'Configuration > QuickBooks Integration'. In the QBWC Password field, enter your choice of password (this can be anything, but the longer the better for security purposes). Hit the update button to set this config setting.

Then you can enter a Poll Interval too – in minutes. The QBWC will check for new orders or information on this schedule.

The final step on Kartris is to click the button to generate a .qwc file and save this to your computer. In the QBWC interface, push the 'Add an Application' button at the bottom and browse to the .qwc file you just made.
Some confirmation screens will popup up – accepting these should create the link between Kartris and QuickBooks.

The QBWC is hardcoded to require SSL (secure sockets layer) on remote domains. This is recommended since it encrypts the information transfer between QuickBooks and Kartris, which may contain sensitive information.

The QBWC will work however with any URL that contains 'localhost', presumably so that developers can test using a local web site. We have therefore coded Kartris to append an unused parameter 'localhost' to URLs, in order to permit operation on a live web site that does not have SSL – for testing purposes for example.

While this means that Kartris/QuickBooks integration will work on a live site without SSL, we would urge store owners to consider the benefits of SSL and not to risk using the feature without SSL. Intuit have hardcoded the use of SSL in for a reason after all.

The stock notifications system was added to Kartris with version v2.9005. It allows items that are out of stock to display a 'notify me' button. Users can click this, and enter their email address into the popup that appears. When the item is back in stock, the user will receive an email to tell them.

To activate stock notifications, you must have the following set in the config settings:

frontend.orders.allowpurchaseoutofstock = y
general.stocknotification.enabled = y

Even then, only versions that have stock tracking turned on will use this feature (i.e. for the notify button to show for an item, in addition to the correct config settings, the version in question will need to have a stock qty of zero and a warn level above zero).

This is technical detail designed to help developers understand how the feature works in case they need to make changes or deal with issues of non-delivery

The system adds a new table to Kartris: tblKartrisStockNotifications. When a customer signs up to a stock notification, a record is added here with their email address, the version ID, and some other details. We store the product name and the link to this product's page with the notification, as well as the language ID.

When we send a notification, we can use the language ID to pull the appropriate mail template and we can pull the product name and the link to the page directly from the notification record - we don't need to look these things up separately.

We also add a new field V_BulkUpdateTimeStamp to the tblKartrisVersions table. The sprocs that modify and update version records are modified so that this parameter can be passed in, but will default to NULL if not. If a NULL value occurs, the current time and date will be added by the sproc to that field. Versions that are updated through the Kartris back end (i.e. the BLL functions) will pass in 1900/1/1 as the date. In this way, versions that are updated by the Data Tool will end up with a recent date in the V_BulkUpdateTimeStamp field, while items updated via the Data Tool will end up with either a NULL value or 1900/1/1. Because the BLL version update functions will run stock notification checks when they update a version, we can use the V_BulkUpdateTimeStamp field to identify versions that have not had this stock notification check after being updated (i.e. those updated via the Data Tool).

If there are versions that were updated by the Data Tool and so have not had stock notification checks, a new item will appear in the task list showing the number of such versions. Clicking the 'Stock Notifications' link will go to a page which shows pending notification requests (any stock notification sign ups from users), as well as completed (sent) ones in a second list.

If there are versions to be checked, this page will also have a button to run those checks. Clicking it will loop through versions with a V_BulkUpdateTimeStamp date of after 1901. When a version is checked, it's V_BulkUpdateTimeStamp date is reset to 1900/1/1.

When a stock notification is sent, the stock notification record is updated so the SNR_DateSettled field has the date and time added to it, and the 'status' field changes from 'w' (waiting) to 's' (settled).

To help store owners stay informed while on the go, we have developed a Windows Store App and an Android widget. Both are available via the respective app stores - just search for 'Kartris'.

Windows apps run on Windows 8 only; Windows Phone apps run on Windows Phone 8 or above; the Android widget runs on Android versions 4.0 and above. You need Kartris v2.5 or above.

Push notifications are turned off by default, so you need to turn them on for your store with the following config setting: general.pushnotifications.enabled.

Push notifications are set up per-user, so you need to first go to the logins page in the Kartris back end - you must have full admin permissions for this:

Configuration > Logins

Click 'Edit' by the user that you want to set up the notifications for. At the bottom of the page, you will see the heading 'Push notifications'. Click the 'New' link to the right hand side of the page.

Name - this is any name you want to give; typically best to name it after the device you are setting the notifications up for, such as 'Derek's Android Phone' or 'Tiffany's Windows 8 Laptop'.

Device ID - this is a unique code that the app on your device creates. Simple enter it here, and your device will be linked to your user account. To make life a little easier, the code can be emailed or saved as a text file (e.g. to Dropbox).

Once you submit the details DO NOT FORGET TO SAVE (using the save button at the top of the page, to update this login account).

The Kartris push notification supports multiple devices per user. You set up each in the same way; when you install the app on different devices, each will general its own separate Device ID. So you can have push notifications to your desktop, laptop and phone.

The push system is specifically designed NOT to send privileged or private information. Although all push notifications must be first routed via our server which in turn sends them on to Microsoft or Google, and then to your device,, Kartris only sends notification that there was an order or new ticket, together with the pending totals for orders and tickets. No information about the content of any order or ticket, the person who made it, the value or any other information is sent. For more information, see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not enable the push notifications from the config setting, no information on orders or tickets whatsoever is sent to our servers.

Busy stores may want to have a real-time overview of orders in progress in order to monitor processing times, pending queues or spot any site or payment gateway issues such as a backlog of orders which have been registered but remain unpaid.

The Kartris Notifications app for Windows 8 includes a 'watch orders' feature. This is configurable, and polls a web service on your web site directly to retrieve information on pending orders, creating an almost real-time overview of order progress.

Kartris app watch orders screen

The app has a number of configuration settings which can control the frequency at which your site is polled, and the duration in minutes that orders in various stages are visible for.

Watch orders settings

This feature relies on a web service; in order for this to be active, you need to ensure you have the following in your web config:

<appSettings>
    <!-- other settings here -->
    <add key="com.kartris.livetile.Service1" value="http://livetile.kartris.com/KartrisNotificationServer.svc" />
    <add key="KartrisWebAPISecretKey" value="dxuIyFt992As" />
    <add key="KartrisWebAPIIPLock" value="" />
</appSettings>

You will also need this one in there too:

<system.serviceModel>
    <services>
      <service behaviorConfiguration="DefaultBehavior" name="KartrisWebAPI">
        <endpoint address="" binding="basicHttpBinding" bindingConfiguration="DefaultHttpBinding" contract="IKartrisWebAPI"/>
        <endpoint address="mex" binding="mexHttpBinding" contract="IMetadataExchange"/>
        <host>
          <baseAddresses>
            <add baseAddress="http://www.kartris.com/protected/KartrisWebAPI.svc"/>
          </baseAddresses>
        </host>
      </service>
    </services>
</system.serviceModel>

The 'baseAddress' should of course contain the path to your own site's web API.

You can test if the web API is working by calling it as follows (obviously with your own domain rather than ours):

http://www.kartris.com/Protected/KartrisWebApi.svc?wsdl

In Kartris v2.9, a postcode lookup for UK addresses has been implemented.

To use this, you will need to setup an account with http://www.postcodes4u.co.uk/ and purchase lookup credits. From within your account there, you can create a key to go with your username. These two values can then be added to the following Kartris config settings in order to activate the postcode lookup feature.

general.services.postcodes4u.key
general.services.postcodes4u.username

When entering addresses, UK customers will get the option of entering a postcode, from this, a list of address choices is displayed, and clicking one will pre-fill the details into the regular address form. This saves significant time for the customer, and is especially useful for mobile users where typing address details is the most time-consuming and laborious part of the checkout process.

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