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New SMS Option: Send follow-up messages via SMS

Our clients spoke and we listened! Many clients expressed a wish for iCarol to be able to leverage text messaging in new and different ways. Therefore, we added three new ways to use text messaging in iCarol. Last month’s article outlined how to send text notifications and text messages to other users in your iCarol system.

This article will outline how to conduct follow-ups via text message. These new options carry no set-up fee, but you will be charged a monthly fee for the text messages sent, at a rate of $40/1000 messages/month. The new SMS option will first need to be turned on by an Admin in your iCarol system. It can be found by clicking Admin Tools in the left hand menu, and then the “Messaging” tab. Doing so will take you to the page pictured below, where you will want to click the box next to third option to place a check mark there, then click the “Save all settings” button at the top of the screen.

Admin Tools

To conduct a follow-up via SMS, a follow-up must first be scheduled. The call taker will fill out the “schedule a follow-up activity” section on the Finish tab of the call report as he or she usually does. There are a few fields that must be filled out to indicate that this follow-up will be conducted via SMS. They are:

1. Contact method must be set to “SMS/Text Message”

2. Status must be set to “Open – Follow-up needed”

3. A mobile phone number must be typed in the “Mobile phone (for SMS)” field.

Schedule follow-up sms activity

When you are ready to conduct the follow-up, access the list of follow-ups as you usually do by clicking “Follow-up” on the main Calls screen. Click on the call report number of the call report you would like to conduct the follow-up on. Scroll down to the bottom of the call report to see the scheduled follow-up. You will see a new button labeled “Reply via Texting/SMS”.

Reply via SMS

Click this button and you will be taken to a screen where you can type your message.

Send follow-up SMS

Please note the text in red. If you do not using iCarol SMS Messaging, or if your SMS service is currently offline, any response the client may send will result in an “offline” auto-response message. If you do use iCarol SMS Messaging, and you are currently online, any response will appear in the Messaging queue as usual. Unfortunately, this response will not be linked to the original telephone call, so clients may need to consider custom fields on the SMS call report to indicate the SMS call report was in response to a follow-up via SMS.

Please also note that messages longer than 160 characters will be separated into multiple messages.

Once the SMS message has been sent, the follow-up section of the call report will be updated to indicate that an SMS message was sent, and what the content of that message was.

Sent follow-up SMS

A new report has been added to the Statistics page of iCarol to help you track how many SMS messages are being sent from your system. Admins can access this report by clicking Statistics in the left hand menu, then the Messaging menu. This report contains several filters so you can determine from what area of iCarol the SMS messages are being sent. “Follow-up tasks on call reports” is the option to choose if you would like to see how many follow-up SMS messages are being sent.

Follow-up stats

If you have any questions or need any clarification on this functionality, please do not hesitate to send a case to iCarol Support!

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Carmen Lovas

iCarol is your helpline software company that is here to make your job easier as Executive Director or leader of a non-profit contact center. Whether you have a crisis, help or 211 referral line, we are here to help you help more people in your community. Read more…

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