Release Note: Messenger 5.7 July/September 2014

Welcome!

For the latest Messenger update we are rolling out new features in small 'mini-releases'; the first of which was available in July, the second from Mid-September. When you log in to Messenger 5 following an update you will see a pop up advising you of the new features.

Please note some features require a script update to function fully which will follow a few days after the main website update - please let us know if you believe you have a problem with receiving these updates.

Mini Release, v5.7.2 (September):

Headline Features

Omissions/Blocked Contacts

Messenger v5 now allows you to specify a set period of time in which a contact will automatically be omitted from the recipient list.

Set_Omission

  • This is useful in circumstances where a parent may work overseas and have requested no SMS messages be sent whilst they are away on business - you can set an end date to omit that person so that when they return to the UK they automatically start receiving messages.
  • It can also be useful where parents may have requested not to receive day-to-day messages but you need to keep their number in the MIS for emergency purposes.

You can also easily view a list of all omitted contacts via the Tools > Omissions menu.

View_Omissions

 

Improved Search Functionality

We have streamlined the way you select recipients - instead of having to navigate through lists of groups you can just start typing anything relevant into the search box. You can still use the group lists if you prefer however!

  • Typing a name of a student will bring up anyone with that name.
  • Typing the name of any group - such as "museum trip", "chess", "football", "year 7", "female", "staff", etc - will bring up matching groups.
    • Any group in Messenger v5 will be searched. See the information relating to Dynamic Groups for more detail.
  • Typing numbers will bring up Year Groups, Reg Groups, Absence Dates and Students in related group.
New_Name_Search New_Group_Search New_Number_Search

Teaching Groups

Teaching_Groups_Search

Messenger v5 will now collect teaching groups from SIMS and CMIS.

Simply start typing part of the name of the teaching group to see all matching results. You can search by year, or subject code or any part of the teaching group name that might be in use in your school.

 

Leavers

Leaver_SearchIncluded by popular demand, Messenger will now allow you to add leavers to the recipient list. This is useful, for example, when communicating with GCSE students and their families during the summer holidays about exam results, or contacting former primary school children about outstanding admin issues such as parental payment balances.

  • Leavers can be found only from the Search box (i.e. they are not a group in the groups list that you can tick).
    • Simply type "Leavers" into the search box, click the group that is displayed in the list and select "Add to recipients list".
  • The synchronisation with your MIS (SIMS and CMIS only) will include anyone who has left in the last 3 months.
    • To be classed as a leaver by Messenger the student must
      • have a leaving date (in the past) in SIMS
      • have the 'Left School' box ticked in CMIS.

New MIS support for Hosted Environments - Progresso from Advance Learning

We now fully support Progresso in a hosted environment! Watch this space for more MISs in the future - why not let our sales team know if you have an MIS that you'd like to use with M5.


 

Mini Release, v5.7.1 (July):

Headline Features

Message History has added  further functionality to Send/Resend messages

NewMessage_History_Filter

You can send a new message or resend messages to;

  • Those who have not replied.
  • Messages that were not delivered due to data errors (i.e. incorrect phone number).
  • Those who sent a specific response.
    • e.g. those parents who replied "yes" to helping on a school trip so you can easily tell them about the trip arrangements.

...in fact you now have complete control over sending follow up messages using the column filtering you are familiar with in the history view!

transparent_10x10

Filter individual parent contacts during recipient selection

    • Up until now it has only been possible to remove particular students from a distribution list.
    • We have now added the ability to filter out parents by using the following steps on the Message Recipients screen
      1. Filter >
      2. Select Parents >
      3. Tick boxes.Filter_Parents

 

  • This is useful in scenarios for smaller distribution lists where you want to exclude e.g. a father as you know he is away serving in the military.
  • We will be adding intelligent recipient exclusion rules in an upcoming release which extends this capability.

 

Next parental contact if no primary contact is available

In Account Settings there is a new option to choose 'Next parental contact if no primary contact available'.

  • When enabled Messenger will automatically select the next highest priority contact available.
    • For the message formats chosen where a message is being sent to Primary contacts and there is either no Primary contact or the Primary contact doesn’t have the address for the route the next priority contact will be used.
  • For example;
    • An email only message is being sent, but the Mother (who is priority 1), has no email address saved in the MIS.
    • Previously no email would have been sent to that student's contacts.
    • Now the Father, who is priority 2, will get that email instead.

This is per-customer (set by a School Administrator in 'Account Settings').

 

Click each feature below for more information.

New 'Send To:' option to send messages to parent and student at the same time

We have added a new option that allows you to send a message to the student at the same time as their parent. This has been requested by a number of customers to help in scenarios such as exam reminders for older students. Why not let us know what you will use this for on Twitter using #Messenger @Groupcall?

Parent+Student_SendTo

Report on and send a message to Paid users/Unpaid users/All in the Parental Payment Module

From the list of Payment Items you can now open a report of students who have paid and not paid. As well as exporting this to a csv file to analyse in Excel, you can also send a message easily.

 Unpaid_Message_Send

Why not set up some payment messages in the message library now to speed up message sending in future? Your account comes pre-populated with the following payment templates, but you can easily add more to suit your needs.

  • New Payment Offer Notification
  • Payment Due - Reminder
  • Payment Due Today - Reminder
  • Payment Offer Ending Soon

Please note this feature requires a subscription to the Parental Payment powered by sQuid module. Get in touch for more information!

Small changes to the way the site looks

We are constantly striving for perfection and so have included a few tweaks to the way Messenger appears on your screen; this includes the ability to Send a Message from a Mobile Device. We've added a pale border to the filter view in grids to make it stand out among other small changes - detail is important to us at Groupcall!

Improvements to the way messages are exported

The 'export to excel' function now exports everything, including email body and formatting thanks to improvements in the technology used to achieve export from the web.

Date columns have a better filtering option with an optional calendar pop-up

Date_Filter_Calendar

It's now far simpler to select a date in History.