FAQs

FAQs

What is a tile?

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 messaging 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 the new Messenger you need to be using one of the browsers listed below:
Microsoft Internet Explorer 10+, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Apple Safari. However, if your current browser doesn't support the latest version of Messenger, 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.

Click here to check your browser.

Can I access Messenger on a mobile phone or tablet?

Yes, you can access Messenger 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 any mobile phone or landline in an emergency using the Emergency SMS and voice function.

I used the old website on my phone/tablet – what is the difference now?

The older Messenger interface did work on small screen devices but some functionality was less than optimal. The new interface has been designed with mobile and tablet devices in mind and so responds to the screen size in use and is therefore much more user friendly. Buttons for example are not ‘shrunk’ meaning you can always touch them to activate as opposed to some websites that are not optimised for mobiles and mean buttons/options/links are hard to select.

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 Xpressions 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).

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?

An Xpression is the name we give an individual message that is sent to a parent using the Groupcall Xpressions app. It could originate from Messenger and once configured in the new tiles interface you will see ‘Xpression’ as an additional message format alongside SMS, Email, Voice, Letter and Twitter. An Xpression could also be an automatic update triggered by a homework management platform when new homework is set by a teacher or a record of a child’s lunch triggered by the cashless catering system.

How do I send a Push Message/Xpression?

Using wizards, Xpressions will be sent automatically and in the advanced messaging it is 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 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.

Examples:
- 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.

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 mobile 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 download the app and provide their details. 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.
Take a look at our parent 'help' pages.

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?

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. Click here to see all the MIS’s that messenger integrates with. We also support manual data upload.

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 sales@groupcall.com

Do I need additional hardware?

No, Messenger will work on any modern computer, smartphone or tablet that has Internet access.

Data comes from your MIS using our market leading data extraction software. This has negligible hardware requirements and can usually be installed alongside your MIS. In the case of certain MISs, we also support cloud-to-cloud data transfer.

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)
- Email
- Multi-language

- Voice message, to landlines and mobile phones
- Printed letters can also be generated for you to post or send home with the students
- Via the Groupcall Xpressions app
- Tweets (using Twitter)

When you require a response from recipients, you can also set the message type to allow contacts to reply.

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 specify 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 message. 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. Using Messenger for email communication provides you with all the benefits of dynamic group membership and filtering afforded to SMS messages. Email is a free-of-charge method of communication, reducing time and money spent on printing and postage. Attachments can be sent, for instance newsletters in many file formats i.e. word, pdf. jpg etc.

Tell me more about voice messages.

Voice messages are sent as 'natural voice recordings' or ‘text to speech’ messages. Using 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 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 for absence.


Attendance (open response)
   A message is read offering the recipient 3 options:
      - To leave a voice message
      - To talk directly to the school via a return phone call
      - To repeat the message.


Attendance (closed response)
   A message is read offering the recipient 2 options:
      - To leave a voice message
      - To repeat the message.

Attendance (broadcast)
   A message is read offering the recipient 1 option:
      - To repeat the message.


If you would prefer to use Text to speech, as opposed to recording a message, text entered in the system will be converted into speech format by a computerised voice and delivered to the recipient.

You can further personalise the system using custom messages recorded by the school. 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 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, thus 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: sales@groupcall.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.

How is the Messenger 5 Tiles interface 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.

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 active app user then you can choose to send an Xpression instead of an SMS for those users. 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 is 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.

Who can I send a message to?

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:
- 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.
Groupcall Messenger is not restricted to schools, many businesses also use our communication software to warn and inform their contacts.

What documents can I send in the Report Wizard?

Messenger can currently just send SIMS reports, specifically Assessment Manager and Profiles Reports.

If you have any further questions that are not shown in this section, please contact us on: 020 8506 6100.

More Solutions

Emerge

emerge

You can take attendance by name, year/reg, subject, timetable or by house (if applicable). Simply select students and choose your ...

more...
Xporter

xporter

Xporter runs in each school to extract the required information from multiple MIS systems and transfer it securely and ...

more...
Alert

alert

Communicate with your customers and staff instantly. Groupcall Alert provides a simple to use bulk SMS and email message service for ...

more...