How is Messenger v5 different?
The appearance looks different when you go to the Messenger log in screen. We call it 'tiles' and we hope you like the new simple look.
- What does Messenger v5 look like?
Please click here for a quick overview of the new Messenger v5.
No, it is a complimentary update.
- What are tiles?
A tile in Messenger basically consists of a set of related wizards. It’s a rectangle you’ll see on screen that will have shortcuts to perform common tasks, such as sending a whole school message or sending out absence notifications.
- What is a wizard?
A wizard is essentially a set of simple rules we have put together behind the scenes that makes a user’s job of sending a certain kind of message easier.
For example, when you select the ‘Whole School Message’ wizard, options such as all recipients is pre-selected allowing users to send a message much faster.
By using the wizards, you only have access to the options relevant to the kind of message you are sending. You can still send messages that do not fit any of the wizards by using the advanced send view that allows you to select any combination of options that suits the scenario at hand..
- How do I send a message after the update?
Sending a message is easier as we have introduced step-by-step wizards to help you through each decision you need to make when sending a message. It's very quick and simple to use.
What Internet browser do I need?
In order to use Messenger v5 you need to be using one of the browsers below:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 10+, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Apple Safari
If you are unsure as to what browser you are using, you can simply click HERE to find out. However, if your current browser doesn't support Messenger v5, don't worry as you can still use the current system - please do ensure your IT department are aware that in order to use the new features you will need to upgrade your browser.
Can I access Messenger v5 on a mobile phone or tablet?
Yes, you can access Messenger v5 from any modern smart phone or tablet that has an up-to-date browser. However, some of the administration features i.e. Message History and Account Configuration are not available on small screens. You are also able to send messages from a mobile phone in an emergency using the Emergency SMS and voice function. Click HERE for full details.
Can we create our own templates?
Yes, you are able to create your own templates using tokens such as 'Student Name' etc.
Can I send messages to parents via an app?
Yes, parents will be able to download the Groupcall app from the App Store or Google Play. You will be able to send free push messages to parents and the messages will be delivered to the Xpressions timeline (see below). As soon as this is available, we will let you know.
What is the Xpressions timeline?
Once parents download and sign into the Groupcall Xpressions app, they will see a list of personalised updates about their child and the school in general. Depending on the configuration and subscription in school, this timeline consists of a list of Xpressions giving information in the form of Push Messages from Messenger or partner products (such as catering providers or homework platforms).
What is an Xpression?
You will need to ensure your school has been appropriately configured, but once that is complete it’s as simple as selecting ‘Xpression’ as a message format in addition to or instead of the usual formats such as SMS, email, and letter etc.
- How do I send a Push Message/Xpression?
The parent will be able to see personalisesd updates about their child and the school in general. When this is available, we will let you know.
- How do parents receive Push Messages/Xpressions?
Any parent that has installed the Groupcall Xpressions app and is signed in will receive an Xpression based on the rules specified when the message was sent.
- If a whole school message is sent and the format is ONLY Xpression then all parents that are signed in to the app will get the message.
- If a whole school message is sent and the format is SMS and Xpression then all parents that are currently signed in to the app will receive an Xpression, anyone who is not and has a valid mobile phone in the MIS will receive that same message as an SMS.
- If a message is sent to the parents of children who are absent today and the message format is SMS and Xpression then parents of affected children that are currently signed in to the app will receive an Xpression, anyone who is not and has a valid mobile phone in the MIS will receive that same message as an SMS. It would be good to show some screen shots here.
- Can Messenger select when to send SMS vs sending an Xpression to make optimum use of the routes available?
Yes! If a parent is recorded as being an app user (i.e. they have the app and have signed in to it within the last n days) they will automatically get an Xpression instead of an SMS. When any of these circumstances change, so too will the intelligent route selection made by Messenger v5. That is to say that if a parent is a new app user they will start getting the Xpressions instead of SMSs, and conversely if a parent stops using the app (through deletion or lack of use) they will start receiving SMSs when the appropriate timeframe has elapsed.
An Xpression is free to send whereas an SMS costs from 4p a time so a benefit to the school.
The benefit to parents is a single consolidated view of all communications from school. No more checking emails, texts and crumpled pieces of paper to find the detail of the next school event.
- How do I get parents on board?
We have made the process of getting parents using the app as simple as possible. Firstly you should make sure your MIS data is as up-to-date and complete as possible. The first step is to request parents provide you with current email addresses and phone numbers for each contact (e.g. Mum and Dad, as opposed to a single shared email address).
Assuming your data is complete and up-to-date, parents can simply visit a website and sign up for an account. No more invitations or school controlled and complex registration processes! Parents simply input their email address and mobile phone number which are then checked against your MIS data to provide secure 2 factor matching on a per school basis.
- Who is using Groupcall Messenger?
With over 5,000 schools using Groupcall Messenger nationally we have been proven as the UK's leading provider of Parental Contact and Truancy Management. See our Case Studies for examples of successful implementations.
Where does Groupcall get its information from?
- SIMS - Capita
- CMIS - Advanced Learning
- Progresso - Advanced Learning
- Integris G2/S2 - RM
- Engage - Double First
- Bromcom - Bromcom
- ScholarPark - ScholarPack
- Pass - WCBS
- SEEMiS - SEEMiS Group LLP
- SchoolBase - SchoolBase
Messenger synchronises with your schools Management Information System (MIS) ensuring that any relevant information is current and accurate and avoiding the need for separately maintained databases. The MIS’s that messenger integrates with are:
We partner with a number of third party organisations throughout the country so we can work with you to tailor a flexible solution, should you have a setup in your school or local authority that may be otherwise considered as ‘unusual’. For more information specific to your school, please call Groupcall on 020 8506 6100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Do I need additional hardware?
Messenger will work on the same computer as your existing administration system with Internet access. The connection could be a dial-up connection on a modem, an ISDN modem (or router) or a broadband connection. It can be installed for a single user or shared between a number of users. If you are using Messenger v5, then it will work on any modern computer, smartphone or tablet that has Internet access. The software that gets data from your MIS can be installed on the same server where required.
I have no MIS, can I still use Groupcall Messenger?
Yes. You can input your data into the system manually or alternatively the data can be very easily imported into Groupcall Messenger via a csv import schedule. Once stored in the system it can be easily maintained, updated and amended. You have complete control of your system data.
What type of messages can be sent?
The system can send the following;
- Text Message (SMS)
- Tweets (using Twitter)
- SMS and Email, translated to different languages based on a contact’s first language
- Voice message, to landlines and mobile phones.
Advance message types can also be sent, such as Open and Closed messages. These can be used when you require a response from recipients. Letters can also be generated for you to post or send home with the students.
Who can I send a message to?
- All school pupils or selective groups such as those students absent from registration
- Students in a certain year group, house or class
- Members of an after school club
- Any other group you create to suit your needs using the advanced filtering built directly into the user interface.
Messages can be sent to individual parents, students or staff and any other contact you add to the system such as Local Authority contacts, third party contractors or school governors.
The following filtering options are available;
Does Messenger send the same message more than once to a parent if they have more than one child in the school?
No. You can specifiy if you want a message to be sent 'One per parent' and save additional SMS unit costs as well as avoiding possible annoyance to the recipient. You have the option to send a message for each student/parental combination if you wish.
Are there any restrictions to sending out messages?
You have the ability to control who receives a text message, voice message or email. You also have the option to send a message to all contacts. You can specify the type of message that you want to send as a preference, and schedule the message to send at a time and date that suits you.
If the contact details aren't available for e.g. no mobile number is provided to send an SMS, then the system will identify this to you and you have the option of sending an alternative message i.e voice or email.
Am I limited to sending messages from within school?
No, you have the ability to send messages from any computer, smartphone or tablet with a connection to the Internet. This allows you to communicate with parents without the need to visit the school. This can be very useful for emergency closures or 'snow days'.
Tell me more about Emails.
You are also able to send messages via email, the email addresses are either read directly from the schools MIS or maintained in the system. Using Messenger for email communication provides you with all the benefits of dynamic group membership and filtering afforded to SMS messages. Email is a low cost method of communication, reducing time and money spent on printing and postage. Attachments can be sent, for instance newsletter, bulletins, word docs, PDFs or XLS etc. as well as simple text based emails.
Tell me more about voice messages.
- To leave a voice message
- To talk directly to the school
- To repeat the message.
- To leave a voice message
- To repeat the message.
Voice messages are sent as 'natural voice recordings' or ‘text to speech’ messages, via our fully configurable voice message system you can send a voice message with as little effort as possible. Voice messages can be sent from the school in a number of ways;
Attendance (Response required):
A message is read offering the recipient 3 options;
This would typically be used to inform parents of their child's absence from school.
Attendance (Record Response Only):
A message is read offering the recipient 2 options;
This would typically be used to inform parents of their child's absence from school. Reducing the amount of calls that come into the office and still offering the recipient the option to leave a voice message in response, I.e. Informing the school of a reason of absence.
A message is read to the recipient. This would typically be used to send information to pupils, parents, staff or any other contact that may be in your database.
Text to speech:
The text entered in the system will be converted into speech format by a computerised voice and delivered to the recipient.
Custom messages recorded by the school or the user:
Anyone in school can record and save a voice message. This could be the head so that recipients hear a familiar voice.
How many people can send messages within school?
You have the option to configure multiple users within Groupcall Messenger. This allows you to give different user rights as well as restrictions on approving messages for delivery. In real terms this allows you to share workload around teaching staff and provides a more accurate message composition, without losing control over how many messages are sent. For example, a PE teacher can compose a message (to inform parents of an upcoming sports fixture), then the administrator or head teacher can then approve that message to be sent. Ensuring that the message is sent to the correct contacts.
How long do I have to subscribe for?
As Groupcall Messenger is a subscription service schools are given increased flexibility without the need to make a long term commitment to the product and are encouraged to trial the system free of charge before subscribing. There are various packages available to suit all school needs and budgets. Please get in touch to discuss your needs, call 020 8506 6100 or email email@example.com
My email will not send with an attachment?
If you are having trouble sending an email, the file size may be too large. Your ideal file size should not exceed 2Mb. Another way of ensuring the file is a reasonable size is to make the document into a PDF. If you include images within your emails, please ensure that they are either in a bitmap or jpg format to ensure the finished file size is manageable.
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