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Logging One-Time Customers

Q: We conduct business with homeowners who want to test their well water. Do we need to add each individual homeowner as a customer even though they may never return to submit another sample?

A: Consider using a generic customer in this case, as demonstrated below:

1. Add a new customer with only a name such as “One-Time”.

2. When you log a sample use the “One-Time” customer but enter the customer’s name and address or whatever you want to display on your final report in either the sample’s Description or Notes field. If either field will work for you, choose Description (max. 255 characters) because searches by Description are faster than searches by the Notes field. If you log a multiple[1]sample batch, you only need to populate Description/Notes for the first sample in the batch.

3. Update your Excel final report template to use the Description/Notes field instead of the customer’s name and address. For example, in any template derived from one of the LIMS final report example templates change the formula =CustomerMailingLabel in the merged customer information cell on the Report sheet to:

=IF(INDEX(Customer.Name,1) = “One-Time”, INDEX(Description,1), CustomerMailingLabel)

With this formula, if the first report sample’s customer is “One-Time” the sample’s Description is listed, otherwise the CustomerMailingLabel named range from the Customer worksheet is listed. Change “One-Time” in the above formula to your chosen generic customer name and replace Description with Notes if you use the Notes field.

Note that you can use wildcard pattern matching in the Description and Notes fields on the Additional tab of the query controls to find samples for specific one-time customers. For example, if you entered the following in the sample’s Description field at login:

Jane Doe

123 Main St.

Portland, ME

You can find the sample by entering “*Jane Doe*” or “*123 Main*” (without the quotes) in the Description query field.

A tradeoff to using the generic customer is that you will not be able to automatically send these one-time customers a final report with LIMS Messaging.

But you could still automate the creation of the reports by emailing results for the “One-Time” customer to yourself then manually forwarding the email to the customer.

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