Messenger v5 Sending Messages

Introduction

Everything you need to know about sending messages in Messenger v5 is collected here!

Please see individual topics below, or alternatively expand all.

Getting Started in Messenger v5

Getting Started in Messenger v5

Groupcall Messenger v5 is a web-based system, so you first need to ensure your computer is connected to the Internet.

Navigate to the following URL/address and enter your Messenger v5 username and password.

m5.groupcall.com

Your login credentials were either provided by Groupcall in the case of the Main Account Holder, or they would have been set-up by your School administrator. Please speak to that person before contacting support if you do not know your username.

 

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

 


Composing Messages

Composing Messages

To start sending messages, click either the main “Send Message” button on the welcome screen or choose “Send Message” from the header toolbar,  near the top right of the screen.

Mv5_Header_SendMsg

 

 

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.

 

 

Message Frequency
Messenger v5 allows you to control how many times an individual contact receives a message.

Message Frequency

Messenger v5 allows you to control how many times an individual contact receives a message;

M5_Message_Frequency

  • If you are sending a whole school message, you may not wish parents with more than one child to get the same broadcast message more than once. You would therefore select 'Once per Parent' for this type of message so that each family get the message once only.

M5_Types_Broadcast

  • If you are sending a personalised message, you want each contact to receive one message per child so any personalisation information is correct. You would therefore select the 'For each Student Parent combination' for personalised messages.
  • It is imperative, when sending an absence or detention message, that you select “For each Student Parent combination” as the message frequency.

Mv5_personalised_texts_device

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message Costs
When selecting contacts, you will see a pop up window displaying an approximate cost for the message(s) being sent.

Message Costing Summary

M5.2_Approx_CostingWhen selecting contacts, you will see a pop up window displaying an approximate cost for the message(s) being sent. This is based on the message formats selected, the number of contacts (including message frequency) and the chosen message priority. You will see a new pop-up summary every time you change a contact selection option - i.e. if you choose a new group, the summary will re-calculate and adjust to the larger/smaller contact list accordingly. To hold the pop up on the screen click on the pin in the top right hand corner. Click off to remove.

Please Note: The costings used are approximate and may differ based on your subscription; they are provided to give an indication of cost only and should not be taken as 100% accurate. The summary only shows SMS units and voice minutes as emails incur no charge. For more information on the costs per SMS/voice minute please contact us.

 

 

 


Create Message

Create Message

Basic steps

Once you have selected your distribution list, chosen the contact method, selected the message frequency and chosen the message formats, click on Create Message where you can now begin to create your message(s).

  1. Select Message Type from the 3 types of Messages available.
  2. Enter message text, taking note of SMS character limits where appropriate.
    i - For each message format (SMS, Email, Voice, Letter) active formats will be identified by a bracketed number showing the number of available contacts for that message format. In the above example 13 SMS contacts, 79 voice contacts and 90 Email contacts will receive a message based on the selections made in the 'Message Recipients' screen as SMS, Voice and Email were all selected. If a format was not ticked, that tab would not show a number.
    ii - SMS forms the priority option in Messenger and a copy of the SMS text will be applied before any other selected formats. If you wish to override this functionality, simply untick the 'content same as SMS' box and edit the text as required.
    iii - You can also select from the message library and then edit accordingly or enter new text.
  3. If you have parents listed with English as a second language on your MIS, you have the option to tick the 'Translate Message' option to enable Multi Language sending of SMS and Email.
    a - In order to check the translations generated, click on 'View/Modify Translations'.
    b - Be sure to click on 'Reset Translations' if you make any changes to the message content.
  4. If you have chosen the eLetters functionality you may like to see a PDF preview of your letter complete with Letterhead Template - this can be accessed by selecting the green 'preview' button located to the right of the text entry box.
In order to help you keep below the 160 character limit for an SMS, while you are typing one of two things may happen depending on how your system has been set up:

  • The area will go red as a notification if you exceed 160 characters. This limit doesn’t apply to email.
  • You will not be able to type more than 160 characters.

If you have ‘Email content same as SMS’ selected, then you need to un-tick this to edit the email message and allow more than 160 characters to be typed into the email message body.

Once you are happy with your message(s) select ‘Next’ to go to the...

“Preview & Send” Screen.

From here you can choose to send messages ‘now’ or schedule them for sending later in the day or even a date in the future! You can also send a preview to e.g. your own phone to see what the message will look like before you send it to your distribution list.

If you are using the eLetter functionality when you select 'send now' or 'schedule' your letter will be generated in a PDF format. Depending on the number of letters being generated this may take a few minutes but once complete you will be given a link to download your letters - this link will also be emailed to you so that you do not have to wait for it to be generated.  Click on the pdf link and print your letters off as required.

You can now access the 'History' area of Messenger v5 to see the message status, including replies and delivery statuses as well as the resultant translations of any multi-language recipients if desired, by clicking the white 'Show Status of this Message' button.

 

 

Message Formats
SMS, Email, Voice and Twitter.

Message Formats - 'Send Via:'

Principal Formats

SMS and Email are widely used by both Messenger and Emerge as well as certain other Groupcall Products.

 

SMS

Sent to mobile phones only.

  • If the phone number type/location is not set as ‘mobile’ in the MIS, Messenger v5 and Emerge will not recognise that number as a valid SMS recipient, even if it is the number for a mobile phone.

Email

Sent to ‘proper’ email addresses in the format ID@domain.tld (e.g. jbloggs@gmail.com, jbloggs@school.sch.uk etc).

  • If the email is not in a valid format the system will not include that address in the list.
  • If the system encounters an error with an email address that is properly formatted, but is not legitimate (i.e. does not exist), the message will be sent by Messenger v5/Emerge, but later rejected by the receiving domain. This is default behaviour for any email message and is not specific to Groupcall Products and is also true for any other receiving errors such as a full inbox.

 

Auxiliary Formats
Additionally Messenger v5 also supports Voice and Letter as outlined below;

 

Voice Messages

Sent to any phone number, mobile or landline, as a pre-recorded or text to speech message from Messenger v5. You can record the message through our telephone call record service so that recipients hear a familiar human sounding voice. This process is covered in detail in our Messenger v5 Voice User Guide.

By default voice messages will be sent only to contacts that do not have a mobile phone number - i.e. if a contact has both a landline and a mobile phone number, SMS will take priority over Voice messages. However this is a customisable option in the admin area.

Letters

The eLetters functionality allows Messenger to either:

  • Produce a copy of SMS or Email messages as a printed letter for any contacts without relevant contact details for seamless side-by-side communication.
  • Produce a traditional letter for whole school distribution for those occasions in which a traditional printed approach is more suitable than email etc.

 

 


 

 

 

Message Types
Broadcast, Open and Closed.

Message Types

Below is a brief explanation of the 3 types of message, along with some examples of that type.

Please note; Open and Closed messages require an incoming SMS subscription service to be configured on your account - get in touch to arrange this.

Broadcast

Broadcast messages are simple ‘push’ messages. They are intended to give information that does not require a response.

 

Open Responses

This allows your recipients to respond with free text and should be used when you require unrestricted information back from the recipient.

Closed Responses

The recipient is restricted to respond with 1 of 3 specific answers and should be used when you need quick, track-able responses.

In order to send a closed message, some additional steps are required;

 

 

Using Tokens
All messages created within Messenger v5 can be personalised by using ‘tokens’.

Using Tokens

Much like a mail merge function all messages created within Messenger v5 can be personalised by using ‘tokens’.  You can use these tokens in broadcast, open or closed response messages, using SMS, voice, email or letter. You should avoid using tokens when 'tweeting' a message and if a token is used, you should ensure that the Message Frequency is set to 'For Each Student Parent Combination'.

Tokens can be activated by placing your cursor in the message text where you wish the token to appear, then ‘right-click’ to show the list of available tokens.
Click on the preferred choice and it will appear in your message surrounded by two dollar signs. Additional tokens can be added via the source data.

The tokens supported in Mv5 are shown in the table below.

Any tokens relating to a student (4 - 14 below) will only render in an outgoing message if the recipient was set up in the MIS and has a student associated with them; i.e. Staff contacts and contacts saved within the Messenger v5 Address Book will, for example receive a message that says "$StudentName$" as opposed to "Clarissa Abbot".

This contact has a student associated with them, so the token $StudentName$ displays as the Student's name when they receive it.

This contact has a student associated with them, so the token $StudentName$ displays as the Student's name when they receive it.

This contact does not have a student associated with them, so the token $StudentName$ displays as it is on their phone.

This contact does not have a student associated with them, so the token $StudentName$ displays as it is on their phone.

 

 

Certain other tokens may be enabled in your school based on your particular set-up.

 

 

 

Multi Language
Messenger v5 supports the sending of messages in multiple languages for SMS and Email.

Multi-language Support for SMS and Email

Messenger v5 supports the sending of messages in multiple languages for SMS and Email. If a contact in the recipient list has an additional language configured in the MIS, the "Translate Message" option will be displayed under the SMS and Email compose window under 'Create Message'.

If you do not see this option, then Messenger has been unable to find any languages configured against the currently synced contacts within the relevant field in the MIS, with which to use as a translation language.

 

Please note that only the message body is translated. Any attachments added to emails will not be translated - we recommend you therefore copy the contents of attachments in to the email if possible so that they are translated.

You may also like to add a request to reply in english if you do not have any speakers of those languages used in the school. Of course a reverse translation is possible separately to Messenger v5 via the Google Translate service outlined below - simply copy any replies from M5 to Google Translate.

Translation is activated via  is a simple Tick Box option with two supported actions accessed via buttons below the Translate Message tick box:

  1. View/Modify Translations
    • Allows you to see the translations generated - useful if you have a native speaker on hand to view the translations or just want to see the eventual output!

    translate2

  2. Reset Translation Changes
    • Used to update the translation to match the text in the compose window. It is imperative you press this button after you make any changes to the composed text in either the SMS or Email view. If Messenger v5 detects a mismatch between the translated text and the text in the compose window, you will see a reminder to go back and update the translation.

The translation is carried out using Google's Translate services. To understand a little more about Google translate (it’s very interesting) please click here to find out how it works and to see some of the challenges associated with computer based real-time language translation.

 

What languages are supported?

As Google add to their list of supported languages all the time, the below list will be updated periodically for guidance, but for an explicit list you should refer to the Google API page itself. At time of writing the list contains 64 languages.

AfrikaansCroatianGeorgianItalianPersianTamil
AlbanianCzechGermanJapanesePolishTelugu
ArabicDanishGreekKannadaPortugueseThai
AzerbaijaniDutchGujaratiKoreanRomanianTurkish
BasqueEnglishHaitian CreoleLatinRussianUkrainian
BengaliEsperantoHebrewLatvianSerbianUrdu
BelarusianEstonianHindiLithuanianSlovakVietnamese
BulgarianFilipinoHungarianMacedonianSlovenianWelsh
CatalanFinnishIcelandicMalaySpanishYiddish
Chinese SimplifiedFrenchIndonesianMalteseSwahili
Chinese TraditionalGalicianIrishNorwegianSwedish

Please note Messenger v5 makes use of the Google Translate API when performing automatic language translation. Google keep their list of languages supported by the Google Translate API shorter than for the Google Translate website for quality reasons.

Please watch the video available here if you'd like to understand more about automated translation and read our notice about translated messages (a link to which can be included directly on messages sent to contacts - simply tick the box in account settings).

 

Incoming Translation

Additionally, in the case of Incoming SMS messages, you can translate messages received in a foreign language back to English.

 

 

Parental Languages in e1
A note about the languages associated with Parental contacts if e1 is your MIS.

Pearson e1 Parental Languages

Having worked closely with Pearson to enhance the integration between Pearson e1 and our Messenger service we can copy a student's language to the parent (as the parent's language is not made available to us from the e1 MIS!).

We automatically copy across the language from the learner to the parent within Messenger v5 in order that parents can be contacted in one of the language translations available in Messenger v5!

If you have a circumstance in your school where the language should not be copied, please contact us to discuss this.

 
Parental Languages in G2
A note about the languages associated with Parental contacts if G2 is your MIS.

Integris G2 Parental Language

Having worked closely with RM to enhance the integration between Integris G2 and our Messenger service we can now copy a student's language to the parent (as the parent's language is not made available to us from the G2 MIS!).

We automatically copy across the language from the learner to the parent within Messenger v5 in order that parents can be contacted in one of the language translations available in Messenger v5!

If you have a circumstance in your school where the language should not be copied, please contact us to discuss this.

 

 

Twitter
There is a selectable option allowing you to ‘tweet’ a copy of an SMS or Email.

Twitter Integration...when sending messages

There is a selectable option allowing you to ‘tweet’ a copy of an SMS or Email. This will require you to have a twitter account that can be used on behalf of the school (and that has been linked to your Messenger v5 account).

If you are new to Twitter, we have produced a Twitter Cheat Sheet that you may like to read.

 

 

 


 

 

 


Preview Message
Before messages are sent they are shown as a preview, including the result of any tokens. A test can be sent to a specified number or email address.

Preview Message

Before messages are sent they are shown as a preview, although any personalisation selected as tokens will only show when the message is sent.   A test can be sent to a specified number or email address.

To send a test message, enter details of a phone number and/or email address where you can receive the preview in the next few minutes. Click ‘Send Preview’. Once you are happy with the way the message appears you are ready to send your message(s). If you are not happy, click ‘Previous’ to return to the ‘Create Message’ screen to edit as needed, before returning to the ‘Preview & Send’ screen; repeat as appropriate.

 

Sending Messages

Sending Messages

Now you are ready to send your message(s) you have two options:

  1. Send your message(s) immediately or
  2. Pre-schedule your message(s) to be sent at a specified date and time.

Press ‘Send Now’ or ‘Schedule’ as appropriate.

 


Message Authorisation
Depending on your school’s preferred settings, an additional authorisation layer may be activated.

Message Authorisation

Depending on your school’s preferred settings, an additional authorisation layer may be activated.

Sending a message without authorisation

If your user account does not have the authorisation to send a message, you can follow all the steps to compose your message, including recipient selection, but you will only be able to submit your message for authorisation.


A user who has the required authorisation level will get alerted to the fact there is a message needing to be approved when they log in to the system. If you are in a scenario where you require immediate authorisation, we recommend you speak to your school administrator or another user who has this level of permission  as opposed to waiting for them to log in and see it.

Authorising a message for another user

If you are a user who has been asked to authorise a message for another person, click on  the link below to see how to do this.

 

Message Count Pin
As an additional security measure to prevent unauthorised high SMS/Voice usage and to avoid potential email spamming, a pin code is required to send a message count over a certain threshold.

Message Count PIN

As an additional security measure to prevent unauthorised high SMS/Voice usage and to avoid potential email spamming, a pin code is required to send a message count over a certain threshold (this threshold is set by the school administrator but defaults to 1000).  If you breach the threshold, your system administrator will be able to supply you with a pin code which will allow the message(s) to be authorised and sent.

This is calculated as the total number of messages required, across all contacts and all message formats - NB this does not include the SMS unit count. So a long message sent to 999 recipients would not require a PIN.

Mobile phone numbers in contact list

+

Emails addresses in contact list

+

Phone numbers receiving a voice message in contact list

=

Total number of messages

To provide some clarity on this, some examples are provided below;

 


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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