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Accessing Form Data in the Dashboard of the Admin Console

Now that some activity has been recorded on the live site, you'll look at how submitted messages can be retrieved in the Admin Console. Follow these steps:

  1. Open a new browser window and log in to the Admin Console.

    The Home page of the Admin Console displays the Dashboard with the summary of the site statistics (FIGURE 5.4).

    Figure 5.4

    Figure 5.4 The Home page of the Admin Console contains the Dashboard.

    The Live Feed section of the Dashboard displays an up-to-the-minute record of all site activity. You can see all site interactions as they occur, including every form submission, every subscription, and every purchase. If you submitted the contact form when you reviewed the trial site, you'll see at least one entry here.

    Remember that after you launch a site, your clients will log in to access this data in their own (limited) version of the Admin Console. They can use the Live Feed to see the site activity and run their business. The time-stamped entries enable them to see what is happening on the site at all times.

  2. Click the link in the Live Feed that was generated automatically when you submitted the Contact Us form. The link takes you directly to the Customer Summary page, where the compiled customer data is displayed (FIGURE 5.5).
    Figure 5.5

    Figure 5.5 The Customer Summary page displays the customer data.

    All of the details gathered from the form are included in the customer record and each customer is assigned a unique ID. Customers are tracked by unique IDs and their e-mail addresses, which enables a business to retrieve the entire log of form submissions entered by a specific person. By default, web forms include required fields for the name and e-mail address data, to identify each submission and assign the activity to the matching record.

    Additionally, whenever a customer fills out a web form, a case is automatically created in the system. Each case also has a unique ID that enables business owners to follow up on support incidents and provide customer service. Cases are one of many aspects of site interaction that are tracked for each customer (FIGURE 5.6).

    Figure 5.6

    Figure 5.6 Access cases in the Action Box sidebar while viewing the Customer Summary page.

  3. Click the Customer Cases option in the Action Box sidebar to view the case that was generated when you submitted the Contact Us form. Each case is date stamped and includes a link to view the data submitted in the form (FIGURE 5.7).
    Figure 5.7

    Figure 5.7 The Cases page includes links to access the case information for each incident.

Your clients can use the workflow you just followed to access the submitted form data and manage each case as it comes in, to be responsive to customer inquires. The case management workflow follows this progression:

  1. A customer submits a web form to ask a question or request a service.
  2. Your client logs in to the Admin Console and views the Dashboard activity.
  3. They click the link in the Live Feed to jump to the customer's summary.
  4. They access the case by clicking the Customer Cases option in the Action Box sidebar.
  5. In the list of cases that appears, they click the most recent linked entry.
  6. The case is displayed. They read the form submission.
  7. If desired, they can add notes or tasks to manage the case's resolution.
  8. To reply, they can click the New Message link and send a message to the customer.
  9. If the team sends correspondence regarding the case using the New Message link in the case area, the thread summary records the discussion in the system.

In Chapter 7, "Understanding Customer Management and the Site's Database," you'll learn more about how to manage users, access customer data, and customize the steps in workflows.

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