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Need help figuring out best way to allow customers to respond to an email and get in Access (1 Viewer)

chuckcoleman

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Hi, I built an Access application for a customer of mine that is doing a great job. My customers business has grown from about 600 customers to over 2,300. Twice a year he sends out an email to his customers reminding them that it's time for a service call. The email is specific to each with a specific to each PDF attached with pricing. The email requests that the customer reply with the date and time they would like the service call. Since his business has grown, he now gets email replies from 1,300 to 1,800 customers requesting service on a certain date and time. It has become overwhelming. He has to look at each email reply, have the Access application open, search on that customer, open a Work Order Form and create a work order for that day and time. Yikes!

I am looking for advice on a way in the email to have a link, (or another strategy), where the customer clicks on the link and their information ultimately gets back to the Access application. I guess there is a "voting" option in Outlook, but I don't have any experience with that. If the customer got an Outlook email with voting embedded in it and replied, I'm assuming there is a way to have Access pull that data into a temporary table so I can manipulate it. Does Sharepoint have something I can use?

I would appreciate any thoughts one has on a way to help.

Chuck
 

theDBguy

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Hi Chuck. Since you mentioned SharePoint, what I can tell you about it is you can set up the email from Access to a SharePoint site where the user can fill out an online form, and your Access database can access that information directly. I'm sure there are other options, but that's what I can say about SharePoint. Cheers!
 

chuckcoleman

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Hi Chuck. Since you mentioned SharePoint, what I can tell you about it is you can set up the email from Access to a SharePoint site where the user can fill out an online form, and your Access database can access that information directly. I'm sure there are other options, but that's what I can say about SharePoint. Cheers!
Hi DBG, it's always great to hear from you. I'll look into that. I also Chat'd with a Microsoft sales person because I saw something about a Microsoft Bookings application. Bookings also integrates with SharePoint. How challenging is it to create an online form in a SharePoint site? In the link I create in Access for the email, it will need to have embedded in it the CustomerID so it can be passed to the SharePoint site. Your thoughts please.
 

theDBguy

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Hi DBG, it's always great to hear from you. I'll look into that. I also Chat'd with a Microsoft sales person because I saw something about a Microsoft Bookings application. Bookings also integrates with SharePoint. How challenging is it to create an online form in a SharePoint site? In the link I create in Access for the email, it will need to have embedded in it the CustomerID so it can be passed to the SharePoint site. Your thoughts please.
Hi. Any form you create in SharePoint is automatically an "online form," so that part is easy. As to automatically getting/assigning the CustomerID to the form, you will probably have to use some JavaScript (probably jQuery). You can also do other things using workflows or PowerApps. Actually, you might look into PowerApps as well. With PowerApps, your customers can fill out the form using their cell phones.
 

Pat Hartman

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SharePoint isn't an anonymous site the way most websites are. I'm pretty sure you can't get there without being authorized. It's not like you can send a link to a web page and have the user create an account to get in.

If you want Access to process received emails, the easiest way to start is to use a separate email address that only Access reads. You have to come up with a way of formatting the reply so that Access can parse the text and come up with day1 and time1 and maybe day2 and time2 if you want to allow alternates.

Access can then do the work of making sure the time and date are available and then scheduli8ng the appointment. Access would then move the processed email to a processed folder and move on to the next item. Access would also send an email reply to the customer to confirm the appointment or ask for different date/time.
 

theDBguy

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SharePoint isn't an anonymous site the way most websites are. I'm pretty sure you can't get there without being authorized. It's not like you can send a link to a web page and have the user create an account to get in.
Depending on the SharePoint setup, we used to be able to use/enable/allow anonymous access to SP. We also used to use Forms Authentication, so new users can create/submit their own accounts. Not sure how all that works now with M365.


 

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