How do I publish a training event on eCenter Direct?
Current and prospective clients can sign up for your program's training events right from eCenter Direct. In this FAQ, we'll discuss the following topics:
- Posting the details of an event to eCenter Direct
- Customizing eCenter's event registration functionality
Posting the Details of an Event to eCenter Direct
When eCenter Direct is installed, your training event records display a section that is devoted entirely to eCenter, as shown in the next graphic.
The fields found under the "eCenter" heading, as well as some others found throughout the training event record that significantly impact an eCenter Direct posting, are highlighted next:
- Post this training event on eCenter? This field must have a selection other than "No" in order for an event to be available for viewing on eCenter. Events can be posted for the entire public, or only a select few, depending upon which option you select:
- Public. When "Public" is selected, the event displays in eCenter's training events calendar page.
- Private (Unlisted). When "Private (Unlisted)" is selected, the event does NOT display on eCenter's training events calendar page, but it is still available on eCenter to anyone that you've given its unique URL to. So, for example, you could invite a select group of prospective attendees, provide them with the unique link, and this group would be able to register via eCenter. The unique URL can be found in the Summary right hand panel:
- Title & Description. Be as descriptive as possible in your title and description so that potential attendees can evaluate whether or not the event is right for them. You can add HTML tags to the Description field, to better format your text on eCenter Direct. However, if you do, then you should also add HTML tags to any email templates that use the event description substitution variables.
If you intend to use HTML tags in most of your event descriptions then it may be worth adding the HTML editor to the event description and instruction fields. This can be done by asking your adminstrator to turn on the "Edit training event description and instructions as HTML?" field found under Administration|Configuration|Neoserra Customization. However, it is then also important that you update all your email templates to use HTML tags.
- Scheduled Time(s). The scheduled time displayed for a training event on eCenter's training events calendar page is pulled from the training event record's Scheduled Time(s) field. This field is a free-form text field, allowing you to be as descriptive as necessary since there could be varying start and finish times for training events that last multiple days.
- Registration Deadline. The registration deadline determines how long the event remains open on eCenter Direct for online registration. Once the deadline date has passed, eCenter visitors are no longer able to register for the event.
- Training Event Status. From a training event record's Training Event Status field, you must assign one of five statuses to the training event:
- Open. When "Open" is assigned as the status, the training event is available for viewing and registration via eCenter's training events calendar page.
- Full. When "Full" is assigned as the status, the training event is either available for viewing only via eCenter's training events calendar page or, if the Allow Waitlist? option is selected in the training event record, interested attendees are allowed to add their names to the event's waitlist. When a training event record reaches its maximum number of registered attendees (as entered into the Maximum Number of Attendees field, the training event's status will automatically update to "Full." and eCenter Direct will show how many people are already on the waitlist:
The event will be "reopened" (i.e. set to "Open" status) if a registrant cancels their registration via eCenter and the total number of registered attendees is now less than the maximum number of attendees allowed, and the wait list option is not checked. If the wait list option is checked, then it will be up to the event coordinator to determine whether the event should be reopened or whether people should be moved from the wait list.
Keep in mind that registrants can only cancel their registration if they have not yet paid for the event.
- Postponed. When "Postponed" is assigned as the status, the training event is available for viewing only via eCenter's training events calendar page. eCenter visitors will not be able to register for a postponed training event.
- Phone Registration Required. When "Phone Registration Required" is the event status, the training event is available for viewing only via eCenter's training events calendar page. Note: In rare cases, when a client cancellation brings the registered attendee count below the maximum number allowed, and there is no wait list allowed, then Neoserra will automatically change the event status to "Open" since it does not know that the event previously was set to "Phone Registration Required."
- Cancelled. When "Cancelled" is assigned as the status, the training event is available for viewing only via eCenter's training events calendar page. As with postponed and phone registration training events, eCenter visitors will not be able to register for a training event that has been cancelled.
- Closed. An event will automatically be set to "Closed" at midnight following the end date of the event.
- Maximum Attendees. When you provide a maximum number of attendees, Neoserra will track the number of registered attendees in the training event record's attendee list. When the maximum number of attendees is reached, the event's status automatically switches to full, disallowing any more registrations. If the event allows waitlisting, eCenter visitors will be able to add their names to a waitlist.
- Allow Waitlist? When this option is selected, events that have reached their maximum number of registered attendees will allow eCenter visitors to place themselves on the waitlist while telling them their position on the waitlist.
- Neoserra will calculate all fee and attendee demographic data based upon attendees listed? If you are using Neoserra exclusively to track attendees, then this box should be turned ON. However, if you are using an event registration system other than Neoserra, then you may want to turn this check box off as discussed in the FAQ titled: How do I enter Training Attendee Demographic information in Neoserra?
- Pre- or Post-training event Surveys. From the "Attendees" area of a training event record, you can associate survey definition records to act as pre- or post-training event surveys for the event. For detailed information on this, see the FAQ titled How to I create and distribute training event surveys?.
- Event Location. When a valid and complete physical location is entered into the training event record's Address, City, State, and Zip fields, the resulting event listing on eCenter will display a Google map of the event location.
- Expose event fee? By default, the fee information displayed for a training event on eCenter's training events calendar page is pulled from the training event record's Full Fee field. If you don't want the full fee to display due to a multiple-fee structure, you have two options:
- You can deselect the Expose fee on eCenter? option. When this option is deselected, eCenter displays the phrase "(contact center)" where it would otherwise display the full fee amount.
- Or, you can leave the option selected and create a prospective attendee list for the event and mark all attendees with their appropriate fee level before advertising the event on eCenter. When expected fee levels are designated in the attendee list, each logged-in contact sees the fee level assigned to them.
- Publishing Center. Found in the "eCenter" area of a training event record, the Publishing Center field displays the name of the center that eCenter will display as the training event's hosting center. Only centers that have been designated as public centers (designated in the center record) are available for selection from this field's drop-down menu. It is possible for a training event record to be published under a center other than the center that displays in the Center field.
- Event registration information required. For each new event registration you can decide whether you want to capture only the attendee's contact information (i.e. their name, address, phone, email and personal characteristics such as gender, race, veteran status, etc), or whether you also want to capture some information about their company:
Normally speaking the publishing center's settings will apply but you can overwrite this setting on a per event basis as discussed in this FAQ.
- Training Event Contact, Phone, and Email. Found in the "eCenter" area of a training event record, the Training Event Contact field and its associated Email and Phone fields determine the training event contact information that will display on eCenter. This person may or may not be the actual instructor but rather the person handling all registration related questions. The email address provided here plays a very important role in eCenter's operations. The automated registration status email a visitor receives upon completing an eCenter training event registration arrives from this email address as does the follow-up confirmation e-mail or rejection email that is sent upon the acceptance or rejection of the registrant's training event request record. In addition, all training event request notifications are sent to this email address.
- eCenter Payee. When a fee is associated with a training event and exposed on eCenter, Neoserra and eCenter can be configured to allow registrants to pay online. For more information on this, see the FAQ titled How do I set up eCenter Direct event payment to a PayPal or other online payment system account?.
- Instructions. The free-form text additional Instructions for prospective attendees field lets you expand upon the events description or provide any necessary instructions to attendees. Note: The Comments field at the bottom of the training event record is NOT accessible on eCenter Direct. This field is strictly intended to be used for internal comments about the event.
Instructors and documents are added from the right hand panel.
- Instructors. When adding instructors to the event, please be aware that only the names found in previously-created counselor records are available for selection. If the instructor is not a counselor within your organization, but rather someone coming in from the outside, you can create a special "Instructor" counselor record.
For more information about instructor records, please refer to the FAQ title: How do I add a counselor or instructor record?"
- Documents. When attached to training event records, training event materials can be downloaded from eCenter. For detailed information on this, see the FAQ titled How do I post Documents to eCenter Direct?.
After saving a training event record that is enabled for eCenter Direct posting, it's always a good idea to review the event listing on eCenter Direct to ensure it looks and reads as intended. An easy way to do this is to click on Public eCenter link in the right hand panel. This link can also be provided to potential attendees as a way to easily direct them straight to the event listing, and you may want to provide this link to your webmaster who can post it on your general website.
There is one global configuration to be aware of, and then there is also a per center setting that can affect your eCenter event registration functionality:
Default Upcoming Training Event Dates
By default, the training events listing on eCenter displays the training events scheduled over the next 90 days. However, your system administrator can make this duration longer or shorter by going to Administration|Configuration|eCenter Settings and entering a different number of days into the Default upcoming training event dates fields. Regardless of the number of days you have set here, visitors of eCenter can always change the date range for which they are viewing upcoming training events.
Event registration information required
On a center-by-center basis you can decide whether you want to capture only an attendee's personal information such as their name, address, phone number and email address along with some demographics about the person (such as gender, race, hispanic status, etc), or whether you also want to capture information company details. as discussed in this FAQ. The settings under your center record will apply to all events entered into the Neoserra database for your center, unless you overwrite it on an per-event basis.
Common Sign-up Error
There is one common error that clients may experience when signing up for an event on eCenter Direct. This error is caused when the client has forgotten their password and they want to use the password retrieval feature on eCenter Direct. The problem comes in when there is more than one contact record in your Neoserra database with the same email address.
When the client clicks on the "Retrieve password" link, and there are, in fact, duplicate contact records in the database with the same email address then they will get the following error message:
eCenter Direct will not be able to provide the client with their password, since they essentially have multiple passwords in the Neoserra database. The client will be provided with the email address of the counselor(s) associated with their existing contact records in the Neoserra database to help resolve this issue. These same counselors will also receive an email when a client attempts to log in without success due to a duplicate record issue:
It is vital that you eliminate duplicate records from your Neoserra database in order to facilitate your clients' access to eCenter Direct as discussed in this FAQ.
Want more? Browse our extensive list of Neoserra FAQs.