What do I do if I run into an issue while using auto repair shop management software like Autoshopinvoice?
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Posted on Jan 31st 2020
Google. Facebook. Twitter. Linkedin. Auto Shop Invoice. What do all of these have in common? They’re all software companies that make software hosted in the cloud. But despite development teams that do their best to build software products that customers love, all of the above companies also face a common reality with software development: bugs.
A bug can be defined as any software code release that results in an unintended consequence. If you’ve invested in an auto repair shop management and invoicing software like Auto Shop Invoice, you’ll know that we frequently release new features. Similarly, large companies like Google and Facebook also release new features. This is because continuous innovation provides added value for customers. Before releasing new features, the features are thoroughly tested and vetted to ensure quality. However, at a certain point unexpected bugs are bound to arise. The great basketball coach John Wooden said that “If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything.” At Auto Shop Invoice, we define ourselves as doers. We want to strive for the best possible feature set for our customers, and we’re not content to rest on our laurels. That’s why we’ll always commit to finding new ways to provide value to our customers through our software.
So on the off chance that our customers encounter a bug or an issue while using our software, what should they do?
To get us started, let’s say you’re using Auto Shop Invoice’s software to build an invoice within our invoice builder. You’ve decided to generate an invoice for a new customer. You fill in all required fields, however when attempting to save your invoice, you notice that nothing happens when clicking the save button. What do you do next?
Below are a series of steps to help on the rare occasion a bug is encountered.
- Reproduce the issue
- Clear your browser’s cache and cookies
- Try logging in to Auto Shop Invoice and building an invoice in a different browser
- Have your power user write our support team
Reproduce the issue
For any mechanics, car repair specialists, and auto shop owners, the first step of troubleshooting should be near and dear to their hearts: reproducing the issue. How many times have you heard your own customers say they heard their car’s engine make a particular noise, but it only happens every so often? That leaves you as the mechanic with a difficult task: trying to diagnose an issue in the dark, with little to no information. Instead, it’s far easier when you’re able to reproduce an issue for yourself so that you can accurately make a diagnosis.
How do you go about reproducing the issue? Think of it this way: if you take the exact same steps to build a totally separate invoice, does the same behavior happen? Or does the invoice save successfully? If the invoice is saved, this provides you with a datapoint: the issue may have only been specific to the first invoice you were trying to build. You can move on to the next steps of troubleshooting.
Have one of your coworkers try and save your original invoice. If you notice that your coworkers aren’t having any issues saving the original invoice, you can then deduce that the issue is most likely related to your specific user login or browser.
Clear your browser’s cache and cookies
Once you’ve established that the invoice issue is only affecting you and not your other coworkers, then it’s time to try clearing your browser’s cache and cookies. For some background context, Auto Shop Invoice’s software is hosted in the cloud. This means that our software is hosted on our servers, and you just need an internet connection and a browser to login and use the software. For troubleshooting purposes, this means that your browser and browser settings may affect your experience when using our software.
What is a browser, you may ask? A browser is a program on your computer or mobile device that renders Autoshpinvoice’s software. If you’re using a PC, examples of browsers include Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. If you’re instead using a Mac, then example browsers would be Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. If you’re not sure what browser you are using, then open up this page in your browser and it will display your browser name for you.
Two of the most common browser settings that can affect your ability to use our software are your cookies and cache settings. Cookies are small pieces of information stored on your browser that help websites remember frequently used information about you. For example, when you login to the Auto Shop Invoice application, you’ll notice that you can navigate throughout several pages without needing to login for each new page. This is the benefit of cookies; they help your browser remember that you’ve already logged in, and don’t need to login repeatedly for each page.
Think of your browser’s cache is a temporary memory bank. As an example, let’s say you visit the Auto Shop Invoice home page multiple times throughout the week. The first time you visit the page, the image is loading for the very first time. However, your browser can save a compressed version of the image in your cache. This means that the second and third time you visit our home page, the same image can be loaded faster, saving you page load time.
Both your browser’s cookies and cache provide important functions in helping you surf the web quickly and efficiently. However, occasionally there can be temporary issues that arise from these settings. The simplest and fastest way to ensure that a cache or cookie issue is not the culprit when trying to save your invoice is to simply clear them.
You may be asking: “if I clear my cookies and cache, will that affect or delete any of invoices or data in my Auto Shop Invoice account?” The answer is a resounding no: clearing your cookies and cache will not affect any data that has been saved within your account. Browser settings are separate from the application’s database.
Try logging in to Auto Shop Invoice and building an invoice in a different browser
In a similar vein to clearing your browser’s cookie and cache, you can deduce that an issue is specific to your current browser by simply trying to save your invoice in a separate browser. If you can save your invoice without issue in another browser, this tells you that the issue is going to be related to a setting in your current browser. If you are able to reproduce the issue in a separate browser, this lets you know the issue is larger than simply within your browser. Thus, it is probably not related to a browser setting and will require further investigation from our support team. If this is the case, then this takes us to our final troubleshooting step below.
Have your power user write support
You remember your power user right? Your power user is a specific point person you designate as your repair shop’s software specialist. This person has invested the time and effort into mastering the software and is comfortable using the software in their sleep. We recommend having your power user write support because they will have spent the most time using the software and will most likely be comfortable doing the basic troubleshooting discussed in the steps above. If they are still stumped, they can then write to support in order to consolidate any questions that multiple repair technicians may have. Also, this ensures they are in-the-know about any possible fixes or solutions, in case any more of your employees have the same question in the future. This ensures that you don’t have multiple employees affected by the same bug repeatedly moving forward.
Hopefully this post has given you a few thoughts on a few general steps to take when you encounter unexpected behavior while using your auto repair shop management software. Remember, troubleshooting software is similar to diagnosing vehicle or car related issues. Start by deducing as many root causes as possible, and then gather as many relevant data points as you can. If all else fails, our friendly support team would be more than happy to assist and make sure you’re on the right path.