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help desk hints

  1. Scheduled tasks
  2. How to check Scheduled tasks
  3. Advanced Auto promos
  4. How to use non-specified reservations
  5. How to use ROCKET’s exceptions logs
  6. Bulk changing products and volumes for markdowns or ex-rental
  7. How to set up a promotion with a voucher code
  8. Balancing the transaction summary to the shift summary
  9. Making a reservation when a member is in store
  10. Making a reservation from a phone call
  11. Exceptions log summary explained
  12. Back ups made even more automated
  13. New function for “never returned” items
  14. Exporting dvds to other stores through ROCKET
  15. Exceptions logs are even more important now
  16. Product merge
  17. Keep your databases working fast!
  18. How to resolve conflicting promos!
  19. Prepare for holiday trading
  20. Copy command
  21. Checking the size of your database
  22. Exceptions log is a lifeline!
  23. Server shut down
  24. Importing files
  25. Promo vouchers are easy
  26. Educate your staff
  27. Marking ex-rentals
  28. Marking down ex-rental price
  29. Using the overdue report
  30. Re-programming scanners


Later versions of Rocket have a scheduled tasks function to let you “set and forget” a range of important tasks, including:

  • Data communication (for sending data to your group HO)
  • Backup database (to an external USB drive and to your server)
  • Re-index database
  • Shrink database

Plus, depending on your modules/licence, you may have tasks for SMS chasing of late items or debts, or sending birthday emails.

If you haven’t set up these auto tasks, then call the Help Desk to do so. They can be a life saver, especially the backup function. Regularly, we find stores which have no off-site backups, have lost the server hard drive, and are basically stuffed!

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It’s vital that to ensure that your scheduled tasks are working. The Exceptions Log will list each time a task has run and whether it’s been successful. If you run the Exceptions Log in Activity Order they will all be listed together, eg,

Date/time: Scheduled task failed Database Backup or
Date/time: Scheduled task started Database Backup
Date/time: Scheduled task finished Database Backup

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In Rocket version 3.04 we added a new Advanced Auto setting in the Promotions setup which allows Rocket to auto charge a promotion once matched. And, if more items are added to the transaction, and this would give a better deal to the customer, Rocket will automatically re-price the whole transaction.

There’s also a Suggested Deals popup box, which shows if the customer is one item away from another deal. A kind of auto up-selling!

If you do not have this set, and think it may be for you, call the Help Desk.

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ROCKET has two types of reservations:

1.  For a specific date

2.  The next time a copy is available – ie, no particular date. This is called a Non-Specified Reservation.

This latter reservation is used for rental items that are in, say, a three night or weekly term, as you cannot guarantee that they will be returned by a particular date. Ex-rental reservations are Non-Specified for the same reason.

ROCKET can auto mark a reservation as Non-Specified if it’s not an overnight rental. To set this up go to Rocket System Options, then go to the following two parameters.

In the first of the above examples we have told ROCKET to auto mark as Non-Specified if the term is three day rental or higher.

In the second setting we have told ROCKET to keep these on file for 14 days from the date the reservation was taken. This setting does not apply to ex-rentals as they will be kept on file regardless.

In the above example we have added reservations for an item as an ex-rental, and a weekly rental item. Both have defaulted to Non-Specified. The date in the Reserved field is the date this reservation was made.

Non-Specified reservations show on all reservation reports no matter what date they are selected for.

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ROCKET’s Exceptions Logs are designed to alert the store owner to any unusual or unauthorised practices, such as changing prices, marking retail or rental items as sold for zero, deleting overdue fees, abandoning transactions. There are more than 240 different actions logged, each with the operator details, time and date, as well as the details of the member and/or related product/volume.

The sheer volume of logs that are saved means it can be a daunting task to sift through them on a daily or weekly basis, so always start as follows:

  1. Daily or weekly, run the Exceptions Log Summary report. This will show in one easy to read page, the sales dollars and various activities that are deemed to be most important. There is column for each operator who served during that report’s date range. This allows you to compare each type of log by operator, across the pages in an Excel style grid. (See Help Desk Hints – Exceptions Log Summary Explained)
  2. If anything looks amiss or you just need to find out more information, run the Exceptions Log which has all the details. On opening this report you will see the following choices:

Choose the date or date range you are interested in, then choose a Sort order:

  • Operator – will list all the tasks/logs performed by each operator in turn, in time and date order
  • Activity – will list/group all of the same tasks/logs across all operators
  • Date – will list all tasks/logs in strictly time/date order across all operators. This view will give you a step by step account of what has occurred.
  • After choosing a sort order press Process. The report will appear on screen.

As this can be a very large report and may need to be referred to at a later date, we suggest that you save it to a CSV file and email the file to a safe location, say your home PC. This file can then be opened in Excel at a later date, and be used as proof of unauthorised activities in, say, a court case. Your Exceptions Log Retention setting (say, 60 days) means that that’s the most you will ever keep in ROCKET, so be safe by also storing these files.

The Exception Summary can also be saved as a CSV file and emailed in the same manner

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ROCKET’s Product file is like a master catalogue file and in most instances the settings for rental copies are taken from each Product record. When making changes to your database, it’s important therefore to always start with the Product File.

  1. If you want to mark down movies from, say, New Release 1-night to 3-day hire, use the Product Hire Bulk Edit function and scan one copy of each title. Press Select All. Then press CTRL + T to change the Term and answer Yes to Did you want to apply this to all Volumes?
  2. Moving Volumes to Ex-Rental. This is best as a two-step process to ensure all prices per unit are the same.

    First, use Product Hire Bulk Edit to add the ex-rental prices to the products involved. Again this can be done by scanning one copy of each movie, Select All, then press CTRL + X to set the Ex-rental price.

    Then, using the Bulk Edit Volumes function, scan the copies of these movies that are now allowed to be sold as Ex-Rental. As you scan them you will then see the EX-R price from the Product in the column called Prod EXR.

    Select All then press CTRL + X to set the ex-rental price. ROCKET will ask Use Ex-Rental Price from Product? and you should answer Yes. →

    By using this function all prices on these movies will always be in sync with the master product.

Each time you wish to change the selling price on these ex-rentals, always do it from the Product file or through the Hire Bulk Edit function, and let the ex-rental price change filter through to all ex-rental copies.

We suggest that at the same time you change the status on these Volumes from Available to Ex-Rental. This will allow you to easily see, in  , which copies are now in the Ex-rental bins

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Promotions are wonderful tools and used properly, can change prices automatically and ROCKET can measure their effectiveness. If you have a special voucher that’s been distributed around your suburb and it has a barcode or number on it, set it up as follows: let’s say this is for seven back catalogue movies for $7 for seven days. Normally they are $2 each.

  1. Enter the voucher as a product using the barcode or number on the voucher as its UPC code. Add a product type called Vouchers, with a selling price of zero.
  2. Go to Promotions setup. Enter the description of this new promotion and the date range it is valid for. Do NOT tick Requires Voucher.
  3. Staying on the first page, also add the Units Distributed and the Fixed Costs of having the voucher printed and delivered to local households.
  4. On the next page, set up what’s to be included in the deal.
  5. On the first line, choose Item Type = Product, and in Product Description enter the voucher barcode; Earn is 0.00. This line will automatically be marked as Required Yes.
  6. 2nd to 8th lines: Required = Yes; Item Type = Term, then press ENTER on Description and tick the Terms that are included in this deal. Earns is $1 each line.
    : Enter the details on Line 2 then press CTRL +ENTER to copy six times. You need to be sitting on Line 2 to use this copy function.
  7. On the next page, tick the days this deal is valid for, and tick the membership types that cannot use it. Then FINISH.
    NOTE: If you have set up ROCKET to not allow negative stock, you will need to Stock Receipt a few hundred vouchers.

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When balancing these two reports you need to know how the data is obtained.

  1. Transaction Summary – all transactions for a date or date range whether paid or not (except overdues accrued).
  2. Shift Summary – the payments received for all transactions. The money has gone in the til. So, if a transaction has gone through at the front counter, but the client put the sale on account and didn’t pay, then it will be reported in the Transaction Summary report but not in the Shift Summary. The Transaction Details report that will show you the differences between these two reports. Each line on this report is a day.
    Start with the Gross Earnings column: this figure is the same as total on the Transaction Summary for the relevant date. This figure is then adjusted as follows:

a) Add on Credits Placed on Account – where a refund was given to a member but It wasn’t wanted in cash, so it’s on file as a Cash Credit to be used another day.

b) Take off Cash Credits Used – where previous credits have now been used.

c) Take off Debts Accrued – where a member doesn’t pay for a transaction and you allow it to be a debt. Eg, a rental transaction or a sale transaction. This does not include overdues accrued.

d) Add on Debt Payments – where a member has paid a previously accrued debt (say, a layby or an on account debt). This does not include overdues paid.

e) Add on Deposits Taken – money that has gone in the til but is not yours to keep and not a sale.

f) Take off Deposits Refunded – cash given out of the till

g) Equals Takings Nett – the cash adjusted balance that should be in the til. This figure will agree with your Shift Summary.

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  1. Open a transaction for that Member
  2. Using the Quick Help Screen choose CTRL + V
  3. You will now be taken to that member’s reservation page, and their member number will already be entered
  4. Press F9 and type in the name of the movie they wish to reserve, and then select that line
  5. Your screen will now look like this
  6. Enter the date they want the reservation for, and add any messages
  7. Once the date required is entered, you will then be shown
  8. (on the right hand side) the available copies for that date and the next six days
  9. If this is an Ex-rental reservation, tick the EXR cell to change it to YES
  10. Press F2 to save, then F4 to close and take you back to the Transaction screen

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  1. Go to the Transactions menu then choose Reservations
  2. Now choose the Member icon from the ALT menu (right hand side)
  3. Press F9 and search for the member by surname, then Select. The member details will now be on the screen
  4. Press F9 and type in the name of the movie they wish to reserve, and then select that line
  5. Enter the date they want the reservation for in the Reserved cell and add any messages
  6. If this is an Ex-rental reservation, tick the EXR cell to change it to Yes
  7. Press F2 to save, then F4 to close and ROCKET will take you back to the Transaction screen
  8. If this is a popular movie you may wish instead to open the Product tab from the right hand side to enable you to see existing reservations before adding a new one. In this instance your screen will look like this
  9. You can now add the member number (F9 to enquire) and the date of the reservation

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Because of the many horror stories we’ve heard about stores loosing their data due to failure to do backups, we now include in ROCKET the ability to schedule an automatic backup out of hours.

This scheduling allows you to do an SQL backup either to the server’s hard drive or to an external device, like a USB hard drive that’s attached to the server.

These scheduled backups are on top of the nightly USB backup that you should already be doing and taking off site.

To set up a scheduled backup, go to Admin/modules/scheduled tasks. Add a task and choose from the list of available tasks.

After that, ROCKET does it all for you; just remember to leave your ROCKET server turned on for the time you’ve scheduled the auto backup.

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In the version 3.00 update we added a new function – Bulk Return and charge late items. It’s found on the Member Menu, and is designed to be run on a regular basis. This function will bulk return all items that are still on rent and out later than, say, 30 days, mark them as lost, allow you to charge a flat late fee and replacement fee, then add a note to both the members and the volumes files. You can also bar the members who are affected, and individually override the fees being charged on a line-by-line basis.

All charges that are added appear in the Debts tab and are treated as overdue income until paid. This information is also sent to your debt collector in the debt collector extract files. Below is a sample of the resulting charges:

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If you own more than one store running ROCKET, did you know that you can swap rental copies of movies from one store to another without having to re-enter the volumes at the second location?

ROCKET has an Export/Import function that allows you to mark which copies are to be exported, then transfer them in bulk to a file that can be saved on a USB. You then take this file to the destination store and import the volumes. For more information on how this works go to your ROCKET manual and read the section on Volume Import/Export.

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With the addition in version 3.02 of the new Exceptions Log Summary Report, it’s a good time to review your setting for the retention of exception log entries.

As this new report can be run for prior dates, some of the information on the report will not be available once the log is purged.

So, two things we suggest:

  • Check your Exceptions Log Purge setting and make sure it’s at least 30 days (found in Administration/Rocket System Options).
  • Run both the normal exceptions log report and the new summary report every Monday morning, save as CSV files then email them to your home computer. Both reports can also be saved in HTML format, which is perfect for saving for a later date or emailing to a safe spot.

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A special external routine supplied to all ROCKET users allows you to merge products together when you have duplicates of the same name.

This will happen if you converted your data from VideoMinder and had both rental and retail product of the same movie name at the time of the conversion. VideoMinder treated these as separate “products”. It can also happen if, after conversion, staff add retail items under the UPC and have the original rental copies in the system under a P number.

To access the merge, go to Start, Program, CustomSoft and open the Rocket Product Merge routine. Start by checking product type DVD and selecting items that have a UPC and P number match. The routine will then show you items that could be merged.

User notes are supplied on your master disk.

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To keep your ROCKET databases as lean and as fast as possible, you should run, once a week, two special utilities built in to the program to manage the databases. This will also help to keep your backups at a reasonable level.

The utilities are found on the Admin, Utilities menu. First, run the Re-index routine, followed by the Shrink. No one can be in ROCKET while these are being run. Allow 3-10 minutes for both routines to run, depending on the size of your database.

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ROCKET lets you have unlimited hiring deals and promos, but, of course, you have to manage all these deals (one customer had 45 different deals in his system!). Our Help Desk often takes calls about promos that don’t seem to work or are in conflict with another promotion that’s for the same rental terms.

It’s easy to spot the problem; remember to print out the report on how your promos have been set up, and run through them to check for conflicts. This report is found in the Administration menu: go to Reports, then Promotion Listing.

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ROCKET can automatically handle public holidays and closed days, but you need to set these up in advance. So check that you have all public holidays, etc set up in the Special Days Maintenance screen off the Administration menu.

This will make sure that if you close on, say, 25 December, your customers will not be charged late fees for that day, and that the weekly rates will not apply.

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Did you know about the copy command when you are entering new products? It’s fantastic when adding multiple disks for TV series box sets, or for new flavours of a confectionery/drink item.

In the case of a TV series box set you are splitting for rental, enter the first disk as normal and Save. Let’s assume this is Desperate Housewives Season 5 Disk 1.

Now, type in the UPC for the next disk. Say Yes to the Add a new product? question. You are now sitting at the Product Name field. Now press CTRL + C to copy. You will be taken in to the product search screen where you search then select the line for the first disk of the series that you’ve just entered. This information will be copied in to the screen for the new product. All you do now is change the end of the product name to Disk 2. You can copy from any item that has already been entered into any other new product.

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Running ROCKET under SQL 2000 gives you a maximum database of 2 Gigs. If you have been running ROCKET for some time your data may be getting close to this size, and it could be time to upgrade to SQL2005. This allows you to have a database up to 4 Gigs.

A purge may be needed as well.

To check the size of your database (under SQL2000), open the C: drive of your server using My Computer, then open Program Files\MicrosoftSQL Server\MSSQL\Data. Then check the size of Rocket_data.mdf; make sure it’s not getting close to 2,000,000 KB.

SQL2005 is available free of charge to customers with a software maintenance and upgrade plan. You must be running ROCKET V2.06 or above. Those without a maintenance plan will need to purchase the new version 3.03, which has SQL2005 included. For prices call 02 9634 8900 or email

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Instances of theft by staff from stores shows how important it is to regularly scan your exceptions log. If also pays to keep archive copies of it for future reference. Our tip is to print the report, say, every Monday; save the file as a CSV then save the files (name them with a date) in a folder on your hard drive, and also email them to your home. These files can then be opened in Excel, filtered and sorted and re-printed. Then, when you need to check up on an older issue it won’t matter that your setting in ROCKET has been set to 30 days.

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Many stores never turn off their server; but this can impact on your speed as the Windows resources are not being released. To get over this problem, you should re-start your server once a week. Also remember to run a Re-index and Shrink once a week (or more) to clear up the space that SQL grabs when you’re running reports.

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We get calls from stores who are confused when importing files from their head office into ROCKET. The two files and their uses are:

Retail Import File – this file will bring in new retail items, with the basic information about the UPC, product retail details, cost, RRP. These imported items are entered into the Product file.

Purchase Order Import – this file performs two tasks. First, it imports the product details into the Product file, with all the basic product details for both rental and retail. The module then creates “orders” by supplier and release date, with details of the units you have ordered for sale and rental. These files come from either your head office ordering system or All Interactive Distribution.

These files are NOT interchangeable, and you need to confirm which file you have received prior to starting the import process, or it won’t work.

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Are you making the most of your POS system? Are you encouraging your customers to come back and spend money with you, rather than with the opposition?

ROCKET can help you by printing promotional vouchers at the end of the transaction to encourage your customers to do just that. Some of the franchise/buying groups already have the artwork ready for your store for these vouchers.

Vouchers are printed at the end of a transaction based on items purchased or hired in the transaction, and ROCKET can be set up to only print a receipt where a voucher has been earned.

Call us for more information on this function and the printers we can provide.

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Our Help Desk staff are pretty amazing people; but they are not mind readers and cannot “see” what’s at your store when they are taking a call. So it’s very important that you educate your staff so they can help us to help you.

Make sure all staff (including the weekend casuals) know which machine is the main machine or server (and that this may not be the screen they normally serve from) and where your router or hub is situated. Show them where these components are and where the cables are leading to. Then when they call us and we ask them to do something in particular, they’ll know what we are talking about and can be our “eyes”.

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When you are marking your rental volumes as now available to Ex-rental, a handy tip is to change their status at the same time so you can easily see through Volume and Product Enquiries that these copies are in the Ex-Rental area rather than just marked as Available.

To do it, just add a new status in List Maintenance called Ex-rental (Available = Yes). When you’re bulk changing the volumes with their Ex-rental price, also change these copies to this new status.

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ROCKET allows you to mark down in one hit the Ex-rental price over all ex-rental copies of a particular movie. This applies whether you change the Ex-Rental price from either the Product screen or in Hire Product Bulk Edit. ROCKET will ask you if this change applies to all volumes. If you answer Yes then only those volumes marked as Ex-rental (unsold) will have their price changed.

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When chasing late movies, whether by phone or by SMS, it’s always important to check the shelves first. To do this, you need to print out your Overdue Report in volume order. Did you know that you can print this report and select the report to be ordered by Category or Volume barcode or Volume name, and that can you choose to see either the product type on the report (eg, DVD or Blu-Ray) or the volume shelf. Useful if you store them in drawers.

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Scanners have to be programmed, and we are regularly called by customers who are having difficulty with the scanner mis-reading or jumbling/reversing the barcode digits. This can be fixed by reprogramming the scanner. But if you’ve ever looked in a scanner programming manual you’ll know this can be a very confusing task.

When you purchase a scanner from CustomSoft we provide a programming sheet with the relevant codes, which you scan to set up the scanner. Keep it safe. If you have purchased a scanner from someone else, make sure you get a manual and that your staff know where it’s kept.

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