Many schools now use text messaging as a vital method of communicating with parents, both for emergency situations but also for routine information. The Engage school management information system has a rich suite of text messaging tools built right in, capable of reaching targeted individuals or defined groups, together with an SMS service from which you can purchase bundles of texts to suit all needs.
SMS text messaging integration is available worldwide, now.
- All mail merge templates can be sent as the body of a personalised text message to single or groups of parents, pupils and staff
- Quick impersonal messages can be sent to single or groups of parents, pupils and staff
- SMS can be sent to parents quickly and individually from the contacts area
- Access to SMS services can be defined by the security settings within Engage
- Certain absence types (set by the school) in attendance marking can trigger an SMS to be sent either automatically on taking attendance or at a set time in the day
- Our Engage SMS solution includes a fully integrated service provider that works in each of the countries in which we operate and competitive pricing in many of those regions for texts. You'll have a single point of contact with Double First to manage your account.
Q I’ve got the 2015.11 Engage release, what do I do next?
A The 2015.11 release is required in order to use the SMS module. Once you have that release, you need to order a text bundle and the Double First Support Team will take care of the rest, setting you up and ensuring you have instructions on how to use SMS with your Engage school management system.
Q What does the SMS module cost?
A There is no charge for the module itself if you are a licensed user of Engage. You simply pay for the text bundles which can be ordered on our SMS online order form. Select the country in which your school is based for options on quantities of 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 texts.
Q I see the bundles auto-renew, at what stage is a new invoice triggered?
A We raise a new invoice when there is 20% of unused texts left. This is done so that the risk is reduced of your school being left without text communication capabilities when it might need it most. If the last 20% is used in quick succession, the invoice may not be raised in time. In which case you can use our SMS online order form to place another order. As soon as payment is made, the school’s text allowance will be topped up with the purchased bundle amount.
Q I’ve got a renewal invoice for another bundle, what do I need to do to get the additional texts allocated?
A As soon as the invoice is paid, our accounts department will notify the Double First Support Team and your order will be progressed within an absolute maximum of 16 working hours.
Q I’ve used more or fewer texts than I expected, how can I increase or decrease my bundle size?
A When you get to 20% of unused texts we will invoice you for the same bundle size as you purchased previously, unless you specifically ask us to change the renewal volume. No refunds are available for texts that have been purchased but unused text allowances do not expire for as long as you have a current Engage licence. And of course you can always ask for a revision of the renewal amount when the invoice arrives, before you pay.
Q What are the cancellation terms?
A We cannot refund the cost of texts that have already been paid for. Once you use 80% of the bundle, you will be re-invoiced. If you do not wish to renew the text bundle, let us know, don't pay the invoice and and we will credit it.
Q Can we control which staff can send texts?
A Yes. The SMS features are fully integrated with the Engage security settings and staff can have all SMS options hidden if preferred
Q How do I keep track of the number of texts used?
A The SMS Management Screen in Engage will show you the balance on account and the number of texts that have been sent.
Q My ‘spare’ texts have suddenly decreased, how do I find out who used them?
A The SMS Management Screen will show you a list of messages that have been sent and when. For ease of use this screen can be cleared, but Double First staff members are able to look at a separate log of messages if required; raise your request via a ticket on the Support Centre and it will be attended to.
Q What happens if someone replies to an SMS?
A Like many bulk SMS services you won't see the reply – it is possible we will add this functionality in a future release but meantime we advise you to add a preferred return contact mechanism within the body or your message if the message is likely to solicit responses.
Q How do I know if someone has read an SMS?
A Because the receipt of SMS messages is dependent on the recipient's phone provider it is impossible to know for sure if a message has been read. We can however prove that a message has been sent. A short summary is available in the SMS Management Screen and Double First staff can obtain further information if needs be via a request on the Support Centre.
Q I’m out of the office and cannot access Engage. Is there another way of checking that an SMS has been sent?
A Your own staff team at the school should be able to assist if you don't have access from your location. Failing that please contact the Double First Support Team via the Support Centre which can be accessed from anywhere in the world online.
Q It’s an emergency and I’ve run out of texts – what shall I do?
A Raise a support ticket with the Double First Support Team who will expedite your request.
Q If I buy a big bundle will my texts expire?
A No – they will remain valid for as long as you have an active Engage licence.
Q How do I sign up?
A Please go straight to our SMS online order form. The process is very quick and you'll also be able to view the pricing for our bundles there.