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Author Topic: Aimée's Matchmaking Service -- input needed  (Read 880 times)
aimee
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« on: June 07, 2013, 02:29:21 pm »

Below is the very rough draft my developer and I have been kicking back and forth.  It's far more information than most people will need, but many of you are quite detail-oriented, and will probably love the nitty gritty.   All of your input is greatly valued. Please understand that while I am taking everyone's input into consideration, I will not be able to base all or part of the code upon only the recommendations here, but since y'all will be using it, I'd love to hear what you think.  Also, it will be rolled out in stages or "phases"

First the bullet point version:

Owners
- register their info to be contacted/compensated by PUSARV and to be contacted by 'visitors' (no personally identifiable information will be publicly available).
- can register itineraries and availability (dates and cities/counties only, no specific locations or campgrounds).
- will be initially contacted by an email from the website for any visitor requests (this will include a link to the visitor's information).
- will work out the details of a visit via phone or personal email.


Visitors
- register complete contact information (to be approved by Aimée).
- can search for available owners by date and area (will see units and city/county, not owner's name).
- will fill out a contact request on the website to initiate contact with an owner.
- will work out the details of a visit via phone or personal email.


Then the nitty gritty.

Overview:
Web page or site for PUSARV that allows potential buyers (and other PC owners) to find PC owners who are in (or will be in) their area so they can get a first hand introduction to a PC (or in the case of existing PC owners, meet each other).

The Process:
A current PC owner registers an "owner" account. They add dates and locations where they will be "available" (aka willing) to show their PC unit to potential buyers.

Someone looking for a PC registers a "visitor" account. They are required to provide enough personal information to prove they are not a scammer (for the safety of the PC owners who are opening up their homes to strangers). These "visitor" accounts will need to be approved by Aimée (similar to how the forum works). They search (by week?) the list of PC's available during the specified date range for anyone in their area. The list only shows dates, locations and models. This will eventually become a map with pins. An account is not required to search, but it is required to submit a contact request.

When a "visitor" finds a PC that meets their date/location criteria they click the link and send a contact request to Aimée. The request is reviewed and approved (deemed legitimate) and will provide space to provide personal history ("first time camper", "moving up from a truck camper" etc) to provide a little background to the owner)  and will then be passed along to the "owner". The email that the "owner" receives has contact information for the "visitor" and links back to the Website (with a full disclaimer that we don't know who this person is and to never meet with them alone).

It is up to the two individual parties to work out a schedule to meet. If either party decides not to proceed with the meeting  should they notify us via a link provided in the email?

After the meeting, both parties are encouraged to click a link in their emails.
- The "visitor" should fill out a small survey relating to their experience with the "owner" as well as with the PC. At the completion of the survey they are taken to the 'Build Your Own' page. A cookie is set that refers to the "owner" so it can be included in the quote request sent to Phoenix.
- The "visitor's" email address should be checked during the quote request process and noted in the request sent to PUSARV.
- The "owner" should fill out a small form to register that they met with the "visitor" so there is a record  of the referral as well as the ability to endorse or flag the "visitor".



How an Owner account works:
There are three parts to an owner account:
- private information used by the company (where to send payment, how to contact, etc. should the walkthrough result in a sale.
- public information displayed in the listings (year, floorplan, slides, color, etc). This will include the ability to do a small write-up about the options an owner have, the enhancements you've made, configurations, etc.
- date & location based availability.

The owner's availability depends on their location and/or willingness to receive "visitors". The owner will be able to mark their PC status as "available" or "unavailable", which is the presiding factor in regards to being displayed in the search results. If an owner is "available" the current location(s) setting will determine when and where they are "available". If an owner has set their PC status to "unavailable" they will not show up in search results even if their location(s) entry marks them as "available".

The location(s) entry is a named list of one or more detail entries - with starting and ending dates - that is used to display an owner's availability. The location(s) entries can (and should) be created in advance by each owner. For example:
- an owner lives in Florida, summers in Seattle and travels between the two locations every year.
- the owner wishes to be "available" for some of their time in each location and part of their road trip.
- the owner can create one or more location(s) entries for their PC (these can be named anything; the names are not publicly available):
+ Florida
+ On The Road (can be used for traveling both directions or each direction can have its own location(s))
+ Summer in Seattle
- The "Florida" and "Summer in Seattle" location(s) entries each would have one detail entry designating the start date, end date. Any details such as "after lunch" "before 6pm" etc. can be worked out between the owner and the visitor. Visitors will be reminded frequently in communications with Phoenix that the owners are showing a great deal of hospitality, and that all scheduling should work around the owner's complete convenience. No mention of referral compensation will be made on the website or in communications to the visitor. Not all visits are going to result in a customer placing an order, and so not all will end up being compensated in any way, therefore the utmost of preferential treatment should be given to the owner when working out scheduling, availability, location, etc.  The owner is not expected to travel to meet the visitor.  All burden of travel is upon the visitor. If an owner has listed themselves as "available" June 6-Sept. 3 (for example) it is not expected that they will actually be available every day during that time span. We understand that there are stretches of days where having visitors will not be possible, even if the owner is set up in one location for an entire season. If there will be a full week or more where the owner  will not be available, the owner might want to indicate such to avoid being contacted during that time, but that still falls under the owner and visitor working out scheduling.
- The "On the Road" location entry would have multiple detail entries, each designating a date & location (city, state) noting their availability. Only days that the owner wants to be available are displayed. For example:
+ June 3rd, Atlanta, GA.
+ June 4th, Columbus, OH.
+ June 6th, Bismarck, ND.
+ June 7th & 8th, Pocatello, ID.
Note: As many owners use circuitous routes in order to see more of the country, the ability to simply reverse the route is not planned at this time. Therefore,  if the owner wishes to reuse the "On the Road" location(s) entry for the trip home they will need to edit/replace the detail entries. Otherwise, they should create an additional location(s) entry for the trip home *if* they wish to be available during that time.

The start date of one location(s) entry must be after the end date of any earlier location(s) entry. Date overlaps will not be allowed.

The searches will read all "available" owners' data and find the location(s) entry that corresponds to the date range selected (usually one week, but possibly longer). If more than one of an owner's location(s) entries qualify for a search all qualifying dates & locations will be displayed.

If a gap exists between the ending date of one location(s) entry and the begging date of another location(s) entry the owner will be considered "unavailable" for the dates that are not covered by a location(s) entry. 

This approach allows an owner to manage availability with their PC status ("available" or "unavailable") or via location(s) entries.
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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2013, 09:37:21 am »

Wow,, what a lot of work (for you)... I never tell anyone (except family, neighbor) when I travel, I would not be opposed to your system when traveling and setting up a meet as long as you  feel comfortable they are legit.  I do not see many problems with crooks trying to find out when we are not home.  I also assume  that this info is mostly secure, only on the forum etc, or you have access, or legit buyer who is looking for someone traveling. Most of us in this community are more than willing to show off our pride and joy,, anyway looks ok to me
David Sparks
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aimee
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2013, 01:44:51 pm »

Nothing else?  I thought for sure Ron and Tom would have something I hadn't thought of.   Nothing else?  Plus, if I have to go back and tell my developer that he was mostly right about this stuff (except for the things I've already altered), he's going to get a giant head. Angry Help
« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 01:51:28 pm by aimee » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2013, 02:58:24 pm »

I will need to see how it all comes into being and how it works. It seems a little complicated just reading about it. It might be better to start simple and add features as everyone gets used to it. Then again it might be alright as you envisioned it. It is hard for me to tell without seeing the screens. It does look like you have put a lot of work into it, so please don't take my remarks wrong. It is just hard for me.

I am all for the program. I met John and holly through this program and I just spent last weekend with them camping with their new PC and had a great time. They are welcome to camp with us anytime.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2013, 03:00:36 pm by TomHanlon » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2013, 05:32:12 pm »

Woo Hoo! They didn't vote us off the island. We like Tom too, who we met when Aimee set up for us to see his rig; AND he fixed our cutting board. I took it out to season it then couldn't get it back in. But Tom fixed it all.

I'll have John, the IT Guy and programmer, read it over in a few and see if he notices anything the non-techies among us missed.
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2013, 07:27:46 pm »

Holly passed this one to me because I speak Geek.

Nice job Aimee. What follows are my comments.

1. I recommend segregating PC owners from visitors. The two groups are very different. Some owners may be more willing to meet other owners than with non-owners.
2. I'm assuming the back and forth between the owner and visitor would be similar to Craigslist where both parties' e-mail addresses are anonymous.
3. All communications between the owner and visitor should remain anonymous until both parties agree to direct communication.
4. I'm not sure how hard it would be to search for owners within a certain distance of a vistors location. I'm not sure how you'd pinpoint the owner's and visitor's locations.
5. I recommend that visitors be required to submit a survey before being allowed to schedule another visit.
6. I recommend that owners be required to submit a survey before receiving a referral fee.
7. Will there be a process or procedure for removing a visitor from the list? What about an owner?
8. Will this be a separate portal from the forum?

I'd be interested in looking at the database schema for this project.

I'd also be willing to communicate with the developer. However, as a programmer myself I know programmers can be a little sensitive about other programmers sticking their noses into someone else's business.

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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2013, 10:25:06 am »

Holly passed this one to me because I speak Geek.

Nice job Aimee. What follows are my comments.

1. I recommend segregating PC owners from visitors. The two groups are very different. Some owners may be more willing to meet other owners than with non-owners.
2. I'm assuming the back and forth between the owner and visitor would be similar to Craigslist where both parties' e-mail addresses are anonymous.
3. All communications between the owner and visitor should remain anonymous until both parties agree to direct communication.
4. I'm not sure how hard it would be to search for owners within a certain distance of a vistors location. I'm not sure how you'd pinpoint the owner's and visitor's locations.
5. I recommend that visitors be required to submit a survey before being allowed to schedule another visit.
6. I recommend that owners be required to submit a survey before receiving a referral fee.
7. Will there be a process or procedure for removing a visitor from the list? What about an owner?
8. Will this be a separate portal from the forum?

I'd be interested in looking at the database schema for this project.

I'd also be willing to communicate with the developer. However, as a programmer myself I know programmers can be a little sensitive about other programmers sticking their noses into someone else's business.



OK.  Here are the developer's answers with my own replies mixed in (my replies are in yellow)

1. We will have the option for owners to contact other owners. We can certainly identify any contact requests as being from an existing PC owner. Would a walk thru with an existing PC owner qualify as a referral? No it would not.  It would, however, be fun. Those who are only interested in meeting up with other owners are free to continue to find one another through the forum and arrange meetings in that way.

Limiting contact requests to 'other owners only' would mean:
- marking some search results as "other PC owners only" which may be a turn off (appear exclusionary) for non-owner website visitors.
OR
- only having the availability for "other PC owners only" appear when someone is logged in and is a verified owner (which requires them to already be a member of the website). I might be willing to revisit this in one of the next phases, but not phase 1.

2. We're currently reviewing how we're going to handle the anominimity of the owner. It may be similar to the method Craig's List uses, or through PM's with email notification similar to how some forums work.

3. It will be up to the owner when to disclose any, and how much, personal information. We will always encourage the owners to be cautious.
- The owner may chose not to disclose anything more than their first name(s).
- The owner may chose to only use the website's notification system (everything in writing).
- The owner may chose to always initiate any phone calls and use *67 before dialing.
- The owner may chose to have the walk thru take palce in a very public parking lot of a local shopping center rather than at a campground or their home.

I'm sure that the owners on the forum can come up with a list of precautions to take that I could never think of.

4. In 'Phase II' we're going to implement a zipcode based geo-location database. I don't anticipate the initial rollout having enough search results to require finer granularity. For now I think a date search is really all that will be needed. As no search will ever return more than 10-20 result, it would just be up to the visitor to see who is closest to them at any given time.

5. This would be up to Aimée, but I'm all for making people fill out forms ;-) Lord, have mercy.  Is he ever all for making people fill out forms! Years ago he could ply with sweet talk such as, "but, Aimée, you make such beautiful and creative forms! It would fit so nicely!"  Now I know he's just an information junkie.  This does bring up the point, however, of a visitor wanting to make the rounds across several owners, and the question of how a referral fee is dispersed in that case. My preference is that they visit with one owner. If they need more information or to see more models my preference would be for them to visit the factory.

6. This would be how the referral would be verified. The extent of the required responses would be up to Aimée.

I'm all for not requiring owners to fill out forms.  We generally take the word of the person who comes in to purchase a unit.  If they tell us during their purchase that they were referred by someone, then we take their word on it. Certainly it would help to make sure that the visitor doesn't forget the owner, but I don't think it should be required. You've opened your homes and given of your time and hospitality. I do not want to then add on "paperwork" to the end of the process (but they'd be welcomed to if they wanted to)

7. Yes. We are reviewing our options regarding reporting a bad experience with either party. 

8. Yes. This will be completely separate. I don't foresee any direct link between the forum and this service (once again, to protect the owners).

The database hasn't been layed out yet, but I can provide a rough outline.

He didn't answer last sentence, so I have to assume he's off marking a tree somewhere. Wink
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2013, 01:59:23 pm »

Aimee,

I only read through your original post in deep concentration. Smile  I did not read replies.

I could not think of anything to modify or delete.  It looks quite complete with one exception.

During the visitor's registration process, when it comes to the point where they are given contact information of an owner, there should be a new window or something that brings up the current model year brochure in pdf.  In Big Bold letters, they should be instructed to print the brochure and bring it to the meeting.

What a prospective buyer thinks they want is not neccessarily what they ultimately decide on.  For example njheart & sis thought they wanted a 2350 like ours, but after walking through mine, they decided on a 2552.  With a brochure in-hand during the visit, we are equipped to discuss other models & floorplans....."Just like mine but with this feature there, that feature here, more space between entry door and passenger seat".  You get the idea.

Ron
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aimee
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2013, 04:19:13 pm »

That is a brilliant idea, Ron!  I know you've done a ton of walkthroughs and I appreciate the insight your experience brings to the issue.

I'm concerned about the weight of the download and the use of the ink for the whole brochure, but what about this:

4 printer-friendly pages (can duplex print or not):

1. Features and Popular Options
2-3. Floorplans
4. lined for note-taking

Would that be helpful?
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2013, 04:53:22 pm »

Large Floor Plan diagrams of every model, both with and without slide outs is essential for discussion on models and flavors of models.  The rest sounds good too.  I would think two sheets max.  First sheet with all floor plans which forces the party to bring them all.  The second sheet with main features listed and note-taking space.  I would keep it all black & white with no back ground, very generic for print friendly.

Do what you think is best Aimee and we'll work with it.   ThumbsUp
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 05:27:35 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
Our Rig Is Available For Viewing Any Time Of Year In Dundee, IL
Stored At Home In Our Heated Garage (Well-Lit & Warm Comfort In Winter)
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