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Helping You Stay in Touch with AdvancedREI 2.1

Wow, it's been a crazy few weeks since we re-launched, and we've had some great feedback from customers. Thank you so much for your support!

Our vision for AdvancedREI has never just been about financial calculations. You have to get the math right in order to have a viable product, and you have to get the experience right in order to get people to use it. But people don't buy commercial real estate in a vacuum; on the contrary, it is a highly collaborative experience. So one you get the numbers and experience right, you *have* to make it easy to help people work together. And that is where many of our competitors fall flat on their face.

With version 2.1, we decided to focus on making it easier to work with your team, as well as with us. Check it out!

Getting Help
Several customers asked us to make it easier to get help when you need it. We're working on building a really comprehensive system for learning how to use the app within the context of whatever you are doing. But we're still a few weeks from being able to roll that out. In the meantime, we want to be there for you if you have any questions about what you are doing. So we added a new tab to the "Help" popup, called "Talk With Us".

We put our phone number in there, so you can call us if you'd like to talk over the phone. But underneath our number is our new Chat window, powered by Olark. You can chat with us in real time while you are working, which can be a big help. But Olark also allows us to ask you for permission to see your screen, so we can understand whatever problem you are looking at. We can click on items in our "window" into what you're seeing, so we can point them out. And, if you'd like, you can put us in the "driver's seat", and let us control your broswer for a short time.

Here's a short demo of how it works.

We can't do any of that without your express permission, but if you're in a jam during business hours, we're right here to help. And if you need help after hours, you can use that Chat window to send us a message, which will go to our Support e-mail, and we'll get back to you ASAP.

Sharing Properties via Email
Our top request with new customers was the ability to share properties by email. We actually had this capability in the last version of our app, but we hadn't finished rewriting the subsystems that handle mail processing yet, so we had to cut it from Version 2. Now, it's back, and still just as easy.

In this version, we've actually made the sharing process much faster. In Version 1, you had to wait for the e-mail to actually get sent before you could go back to doing your work. Now, e-mails are queued and sent in the background, so you can get back to work sooner.

And don't forget, you can still share from both your list of Properties, and the individual Property pages.

Scheduled Communication
As a part of that "subsystem to handle emails" that I mentioned in the last paragraph, we now have the ability to send e-mails based on different things that happen in AdvancedREI's system. This means, for example, when you sign up as a new user, we'll be able to send you tips every few days on ways to make the most of AdvancedREI. If you share a property over e-mail, and the e-mail bounced for some reason, we'll be able to let you know.

Our new e-mail system is just a small part of a new and much larger system for processing events that are fired as information moves around AdvancedREI's systems. This isn't the Development blog, so I won't bore you with details, but it is central to most of our plans moving forward, and it's really neat to watch it working.

Other Bug Fixes
We've identified and fixed a number of visual and operational bugs in the last 6 weeks. We deploy these into Production as they are fixed, so you may not have even noticed. We adjusted some of the icons, and improved the re-login prompts if you keep your session open longer than your login is valid. We made some improvements to the Grid layouts, made it so that Grids didn't appear to be editable if you didn't have edit permission (attempts to submit edits on information that wasn't yours already failed as they should).

What's Next?
Over the next few weeks, we'll keep listening to customer feedback and making adjustments. Aside from that, we're going to work on taking the "coming soon" labels off of our more interesting features, while we refine our sales and customer support processes.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the app, and please keep the feedback coming!