Messenger v5 Managing Contacts

Introduction

Everything you need to know about the contacts within Messenger v5 is collected here, along with some information about contact groups - both dynamic and custom.

Please see individual topics below, or alternatively expand all.

Welcome Screen

Welcome Screen

Messenger v5 is very simple and intuitive to use, there are several main components to the system which you will see listed on the Messenger v5 welcome screen:-

M5.2_Home_Screen

  • Send Messages;
    • selecting recipients
    • composing the message
    • sending the message.
  • Incoming;
    • Easily view replies and incoming texts sent to the school account.
  • Message History;
    • Viewing messages sent and responses received.
  • Authorise;
    • Allow messages to be sent that have been composed by other users without the authority to send messages.
  • Admin;
    • Managing Users
    • Uploading Data and User Preferences
    • Manage Contacts.

Please note: The exact combination of items you see on the welcome screen may vary and are dependent on your individual account's user roles and settings.

The Welcome Screen can be accessed at anytime from within Messenger v5's various pages by clicking the green Groupcall Messenger logo at the top left of the browser window.

Mv5_Header


Select Contacts

Select Contacts

Once you are in the 'Send Messages' area of Messenger v5, your contacts will be displayed on the left hand side of the screen under the “Groups” tab.  The group structure is dynamic and what you see will depend on how your contacts have been synced from the MIS.

GCM5_Select_Contacts_M5.7+

Recipients can be selected in any combination of the following methods;

M5.7_Search_AddRecipients

  1. Click in to the search box and begin typing the name of an individual (forename or surname) or a group (such as year, house or any other MIS or saved group),
    • You will see suggestions appear below the search box, simply click the one you need,
    • When you have added all the groups or individuals you require and they are listed in the search box, simply click the 'Add to recipients list' button and/or;
  2. Click the arrow next to a Group field to expand the tree and select the group required and/or;
  3. Select a Contact or Group from within the address book.

Your contact selection can be further refined using Filters;

  • M5_FilterContactsAccessed by the blue hyperlink in the ‘Actions’ column, filters are used to refine the selection further.  Filters are dynamic and will only display the options available in your database, or display a list of contacts from which you can select individuals.
  • Any filters active will be displayed in the filters column.
  • If you then wish to add more recipients from other groups you can do so by clicking on another group and again apply filters as you wish.
Contact Method

Contact Method - Send To:

Messenger v5 provides you with the ability to easily choose the method and the contacts to whom messages will be sent.

You can elect to send the messages to different types of contact held within the system, based on your intended audience;

  • Primary Parental Contact
    • Send messages to priority one contacts only. The priority level is dictated by the settings in the MIS.
  • Student Direct
    • Send messages directly to students (where relevant contact information exists).
    • You could use this option for emails only to email students with e.g. Homework information.
  • All Parental Contacts
    • Send messages to both primary and additional parental contacts.
  • All
    • Send message(s) to all parental and student contacts associated with a student’s record, i.e. to the Student Direct and any parent(s) linked to their record.

Simply select the method suited to your needs from the drop-down list labelled 'Send To:' above the contact selection criteria.

Depending on your settings, your School Administrator may have set this to default to either "Primary Parental Contact" each time a new message is composed or to retain the setting from when anyone in your school last sent a message. Ensure the dropdown reflects your intended message recipient list to avoid sending more messages than required.

Export Contact History to Excel

In order to export the message history for an individual contact to a spreadsheet for off-line analysis or recording, simply follow these steps;

Messenger 5 - Export Contact History to Excel

In order to export the message history for an individual contact to a spreadsheet for off-line analysis or recording, simply follow these steps;

  1. Select Tools Manage Contacts.Manage Contacts
  2. Double-click on the row containing the contact for which you wish to export the message history.
    • You can locate the appropriate row in a number of ways;
      • You can manually locate a contact by scrolling through the list and jump through multiple pages by selecting the page numbers at the bottom of the table.
      • You can filter on the columns to make the list shorter; the easiest filter to use in this scenario is to type the Contact's Name into the 'Forename' or 'Surname' column as appropriate and select 'Contains' from the list of possible filter types.
  3. Now click on the spreadsheet icon at the top-right of the table in the pop-up window.
    • You will now be able to open and save the excel file as you would with any other file downloaded from the internet (the exact method for this will depend on your browser and associated configuration).

Contact History Export

Contact History Spreadsheet

Creating Messenger v5 Groups

From within Messenger v5 you can create your own groups outside of those created dynamically from your source data, allowing you to customise the filtering and add additional contacts as required.

Creating Messenger v5 Groups

From within Messenger v5 you can create your own groups outside of those created dynamically from your source data, allowing you to customise the filtering and add additional contacts as required. Once created, your new group will be displayed in the ‘Send Message’ screen along with the dynamic groups.

To create a Group;

  1. Select the appropriate contacts from your database using the steps outlined in the 'Select Contacts' section.
  2. Click ‘Save Group’ from below the list of contact selection criteria in the centre pane.
  3. In the pop-up window, give the Messenger v5 Group a unique and relevant name.
    • We recommend you include filtering and group criteria to make this easy to use in future. The example shown could be called “Yr10&11 Students + all Teaching Staff”
  4. Click Submit.

You will then see your new group appear alphabetically in the groups list on the left side of the main screen, showing the total number of contacts within that group. This group will now be available for future use.

Deleting Messenger v5 Groups

Deleting Messenger v5 Groups

To delete saved groups (i.e. those groups created within Messenger v5, outside of those created dynamically from your MIS data);

GCM5_Delete_Group

  1. Locate the appropriate group from your ‘Saved Groups’ section
    • On the left hand side of the ‘Send Message’ screen, where you see group names and a bracketed number showing the total number of contacts within that group
  2. Right click the group you want to remove from Messenger
  3. Select ‘Delete’ from the drop down list
    • If you don't see 'Delete' as an option, then your account does not have the correct role associated with it. You need to have the 'editGroup' role enabled on your account
  4. A confirmation window will pop-up ensuring you only delete the group as intended. Check the group name and select OK as appropriate. If you have selected the wrong group simply press cancel and repeat steps 1 - 4!GCM5_Delete_Group_Confirm
  5. Repeat, for any additional groups that you need to be deleted.

You will then see that the group has disappeared from the list of the saved groups, indicating that it has been successfully removed.

Contact Method

You can elect to send the messages to different types of contact held within the system, based on your intended audience.

Contact Method - Send To:

Messenger v5 provides you with the ability to easily choose the method and the contacts to whom messages will be sent.

You can elect to send the messages to different types of contact held within the system, based on your intended audience;

  • Primary Parental Contact
    • Send messages to priority one contacts only. The priority level is dictated by the settings in the MIS.
  • Student Direct
    • Send messages directly to students (where relevant contact information exists).
    • You could use this option for emails only to email students with e.g. Homework information.
  • All Parental Contacts
    • Send messages to both primary and additional parental contacts.
  • All
    • Send message(s) to all parental and student contacts associated with a student’s record, i.e. to the Student Direct and any parent(s) linked to their record.

Simply select the method suited to your needs from the drop-down list labelled 'Send To:' above the contact selection criteria.

Depending on your settings, your School Administrator may have set this to default to either "Primary Parental Contact" each time a new message is composed or to retain the setting from when anyone in your school last sent a message. Ensure the dropdown reflects your intended message recipient list to avoid sending more messages than required.

Mv5 Address Book

Used for adding recipients who are not and should not otherwise be included in your source database. They are normally used for additional people who you may need to keep informed in the case of an emergency or updated in general, but are not usually a direct part of your school.

New Contacts - The Messenger v5 Address Book

The Address Book is used for adding recipients who are not and should not otherwise be included in your source database. They are normally used for additional people who you may need to keep informed in the case of an emergency or updated in general, but are not usually a direct part of your school. Contacts who join the organisation and therefore would be part of your normal database, should be added at the data source (e.g. the MIS) and automatically updated through the integration schedule.

It is essential to keep data in the correct location to prevent it becoming unmanaged or out of date. An example of this may be Governors.

For external governors you should add them to the address book in Messenger v5, as they have no natural ‘home’ in the MIS (e.g. they are not a member of staff as such), but you may like to text or email them alongside other contacts. A Staff Governor however would reside in the MIS as they are a member of staff therein (Parent Governors also are covered by this category as they would be linked with their child). You would then simply create a Governor’s group allowing you to select all governors together, regardless of where their data resides.

To add a contact who would not normally be included in your organisation’s contact database;M5_Add_Contact_Address_Book

  • Click ‘Add to Address Book’ on the main 'send message' screen.
  • In the boxes, complete all the details you have for the new contact.
    • Surname is a compulsory field.
  • Click ‘Add to Address Book’.

Edit Contact Details

To edit details for contacts which have been added within Messenger v5 and exist only in the Messenger v5 address Book.

Edit Contact Details

To edit details for contacts which have been added within Messenger v5 and exist only in the Messenger v5 address Book, simply click on the contact name wherever you see it underlined. You will then see their contact record, along with some historic message information, where you will be able to edit or add numbers as required.

To edit details for contacts from your source database, you must amend the information in your source database, not within Messenger v5.

 

Linked Contacts

Messenger v5 shows linked relationships between contacts for ease of accessing family members.

Linked Contacts

Messenger v5 shows linked relationships between contacts for ease of accessing family members. These relationships are read from the school's MIS. This information can be accessed by clicking on a hyper-linked contact name (i.e. a name underlined and in blue text).

Mv5_Linked_Contacts

In the example above, the MIS records that Rachael is a parent of Ben, Claire, Clarissa & James. Clicking on any of the linked children takes you to their contact information and will show a list of any linked relations. In the below example you can see that Francis Abbot is also linked to Ben. 'Siblings' do not show in each other's details, only in those of an adult.

Mv5_Linked_Relations

 

Dynamic Groups

In addition the groups from your MIS, Messenger v5 has a number of dynamic groups that are selected based on advanced filtering to take advantage of information recorded in the MIS that changes from day-to-day (or even hour to hour!).

Dynamic Groups

In addition to the groups from your MIS, Messenger v5 has a number of dynamic groups that are selected based on advanced filtering to take advantage of information recorded in the MIS that changes from day-to-day (or even hour to hour!) such as those listed below.

  • Attendance Groups;
    • Groups pupils based on their attendance marks over a specific date range (e.g. students absent from morning registration 'today').
  • Detention Groups;
    • Groups pupils that have a detention recorded in SIMS for the purpose of alerting parents that their child has a detention and the date of that detention.

All other groups in Messenger v5 are created from either;

  • Hard-coded information in the MIS that changes less frequently (e.g. Registration group that would only change annually) or is unlikely to change (e.g. Gender) or,
  • Manual Groups created directly in Messenger v5 (e.g. Governors - please see this information concerning Governor groups).

 

Attendance Searching

Messenger v5 integrates with your school MIS to produce details of those pupils who have been marked as absent as well as allowing students to be selected based on their attendance marks.

Attendance Searching

Messenger v5 integrates with your school MIS to produce details of those pupils who have been marked as absent as well as allowing students to be selected based on their attendance marks. Messenger v5 even provides the ability to select attendance marks over a specific date range.

attendsearch1

You can select from predefined sets of criteria grouped as 'Quick Access Attendance Search' buttons;

  • Absent No Reason,
  • Absent Any Reason,
  • Present,
  • First Day Absence.

You may also wish to search on a combination of attendance codes using the 'Selective Attendance Codes' option when you need greater control over criteria.

From within the 'Send Message' Screen click the Attendance tab.

  • Click on the desired 'Quick Access Attendance Search' green button (e.g. Absent No Reason, First Day Absence etc) or the 'Selective Attendance Codes' button.
  • In the pop-up window, the date range will automatically be populated dependent on the option you choose (see below for more information relating to each option).M5_Attendance_dates
    • This default selection can be modified as required by selecting a date from the calendar icon.
    • For  'today' only, the start and end date both need to be entered as the current date.
  • Pressing ‘Search’ will return the corresponding students who will be added to the message recipient list.  By pressing ‘Select & Continue’ this will now enable you to send a message to these recipients and make use of the tokens to send a personalised message.

To see more detail for each criteria, please click on the links below;

 

Detention Alerting

Messenger v5 has the ability to search SIMS* for students that have an instance of detention in a given date range and create groups based on the date of that detention.

Detention Alerting

*SIMS is the only MIS to support detention recording therefore it is the only MIS that can make use of this feature.
If any other MIS adds detention recording, Groupcall will assess the feasibility to include this feature in Messenger v5 for that MIS. Please contact sales@groupcall.com if you have a case for a non-SIMS MIS to use detention alerting.

Messenger v5 has the ability to search SIMS* for students that have an instance of detention in a given date range and create groups based on the date of that detention.

You can then send a message with that date to each student's parent/guardian.

M5.2_Detention_Alerting_Select

 

To send a detention message:M5.2_Detention_Group

      1. From the 'Send Message' screen click on the small arrow next to 'Detention' on the left hand side.
        • If there is no 'Detention' group listed on the left hand side, this means that either you are not using SIMS or that there are no detention records occurring in SIMS in the next 7 days.
      2. You will then see an expanded list of groups.
      3. Simply tick the box next to 'Detention' to select all sub-groups, or tick/untick individual sub-groups to suit your needs.M5_Detention_Groups
      4. Above the list of contacts you need to select the category of recipient, the message formats, the contact method and the message frequency.
        • When sending a detention message, it is imperative that you select "For each Student Parent combination" as the message frequency.
        • If a parent has more than one child in school receiving detention, they need to receive one message per student with the student's name and the date of their detention.
        • If the student receives a detention on more than one day, their parent needs to get 1 message per occasion.

As an example:

          • Rachael Abbot should receive 4 messages; one for each of her children.
          • David Abbey should receive 2 messages as Jimmy is in detention twice in the next week.
          • Steven Abrahams should receive 1 message as Jacqui has no siblings and she is in detention only once.

M5_Detention_MsgFrequency_Example

If the option to send messages "Once per Parent" were selected:

  • Rachael Abbot would receive one message; one for Ben as he is alphabetically first in the database.
    • She would not know that Claire, Clarissa and James had detention too and so would wonder why they had not come home on time.
  • David Abbey would receive one message telling him about one of Jimmy's detentions.
    • He would wonder why he came home late on the second occasion.
  • Steven Abrahams would receive one message; Jacqui has no siblings and she is in detention only once.
        • In this instance Steven would be unaffected by the "Once per Parent" option, but the others would suffer.

 

M5_Detention_Contact_Method

Finally, filter the groups if you need to and continue with your message composition as normal.

The token $Student Detention Date$ will allow you to compose suitable messages to inform parents of the date of their child's detention.M5_Detention_Token_Examples

 

 


Next Steps...

If you need any further assistance or get in to any difficulty, please contact your School Administrator. Alternatively, they can contact Groupcall Support on your behalf.

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