Welcome back after the school holidays - although that probably feels like a lifetime ago for some of you! We've listened to what you have had to say and made our Messenger service even better now with a fully integrated parental payment system powered by sQuid.
Please see below for a brief description of the major features added into this release. We hope that you like it and we’d love you to let us know what you think!
We released a hotfix to Messenger 5.4 on November 25th that includes an exciting new feature.
Messenger v5 will now alert you to any students for whom there is no parental contact.
You can use this feature in a number of ways;
- To highlight any students whose family may not receive a message in any format so you can make alternative arrangements (such as a note home with the student) at the time of the message being sent.
- As a way of updating your MIS data to easily show you which students have no parental contacts.
- To do this select 'All Students' from the groups on the right hand side of the 'Message Recipients' screen.
- Ensure that the 'Message Frequency' is set to 'For each Student Parent combination'.
- Now export to excel using the button located above the list of students. From here you can print the list as required complete with columns for contact details to be then entered into your MIS so that they show in Messenger v5.
Parental Payment Administration
We are delighted to inform you that we have partnered with sQuid to bring you a reliable and easy-to-use electronic payment solution designed for schools.
It is fully integrated with Messenger v5 and designed to reduce administration time by streamlining the cash collection process with the ability to set up, track, notify parents and manage secure payments for everyday items such as school trips, uniforms, dinner money and much more!
- Reduce administration time and costs
- Messenger v5 with sQuid eases the burden and hassle of collecting, counting, reconciling and banking cash. Parents use bank transfers, debit cards and credit cards to make online payments for dinner money, school trips and uniform. They can securely store their credit and debit card details too, enabling fast, easy payments. Parents unable to make payments online or who prefer to pay with cash can use a top-up card to add funds to their sQuid account at PayPoint outlets.
- All payments are from pre-cleared funds and settled directly into your school bank account.
- Easy Parental User management
- Parental users are easily added directly from Messenger 5 with a streamlined invitation and introduction process so new users know what the system is and where to go to make use of it.
- Parents register to use the system and are in complete control of their account.
- They simply go online and select the items they wish to purchase. They can then make quick, secure online payments without the need to send cash or cheques into the school.
- A full set of templates is available to introduce, register and remind users at all stages of a school's dealings with Parental Payment collection.
- One-stop payment set-up and notification to parents
- Including the ability to explain the payment offer being made available so as to avoid the need for additional communication.
- Traditionally Parental Payment platforms will notify parents that a new offer is available on their account only for the parents to be left wondering what the "Zoo Trip" is, when its happening and what is required for the trip!
- With our one-stop approach the payment offer can have a full description added to it by the school admin team at time of set up which is then automatically inserted into the template sent to relevant recipients therefore notifying them of the event and that payment is required. See this example.
- Automatic reminder configuration
- During offer creation, or at any point during the offer's validity, reminders can be configured to assist the school with payment collection.
- This could be an SMS sent the day before payment is due to all parents who have not yet paid reminding them to login and remit payment.
- It could be an SMS reminding parents that the trip takes place tomorrow so busy parents remember to send their child in with wellies/a packed lunch etc.
- Fast, easy management of dinner money.
- Fully audit-able payments.
- Regular settlement to your bank account.
- Simple reports to allow you to see who has paid/not paid for an offer.
...All delivered from within the familiar M5 interface
Meaning that school users have less credentials to remember and communication and payment can be managed from one place. Additional payment administrators can be enabled by the checking of a tick box avoiding the need for additional admin accounts to be set up. Interested parties, such as the school head, can login and view all communication and payment collections in one simple to use system without extensive additional training.
The above Parental Payment features are enabled as part of a subscription service bolt-on. Find out how to add this bolt-on to your account here.
Various bug fixes and enhancements
The following enhancements are available to all M5 customers automatically.
- New help icon at the top right of every page to assist using Messenger.
- Improved Searching (by name)
- Improvements to message authorisation
- Behaviour of Refresh button in the history view has been improved.
- Better layout of the email editor
- More tokens added to provide greater flexibility and customisation in your messages
- Improved Twitter compatibility.