Did you know that 90% of text messages are read within 10 minutes? How about that on average people will look at their phones 150 times a day? This makes it an effective way to communicate important information to students, such as appointment confirmation, appointment reminder, if an appointment gets cancelled or even just general information that you would like to inform groups of students. There are many ways to communicate with your students, but when it comes to reaching them everywhere in the quickest amount of time, nothing beats text messaging.
In this Newsletter we will take an in-depth look at the TextAlerts module and how it allows notifications to be sent to students via Text messages. If a student decides to opt in to the program, they can send an activation code to an address determined by your campus, and receive appointment reminders, cancellation notifications, or confirmations via Text messages. Front Desk workers or Consultants can also send quick text messages directly off your Center’s Log Listing, to notify students to come to a different appointment location, of if there is a delay in start time, or a last minute cancellation.
In order to utilize TextAlerts in your Trac System, you need to have:
- Trac 4.0 Web and Engine updates after February 21, 2011
- Current Maintenance Agreement with Redrock Support
- Trac Server MUST have the ability to make outbound http/https connections to “msgtrac.com”
- Trac Server MUST have the ability to receive incoming http/https connections from 126.96.36.199
If your server currently does not meet these requirements, a discussion between your campus’ IT and Redrock Software may be needed to make sure the correct connections are being made.
Once the TextAlert Module has been purchased, you will need to contact Redrock Support to activate the module on your Trac System. After the module has been activated, students will have the ability to activate their text message alerts when they log in to the Trac System.
Because text messaging rates may apply to your students, they must request to receive the text message alerts. When the student logs in to the Trac System they will have a new option in the upper-right corner of their main menu. This new section allows the students to activate the TextAlerts for themselves, by clicking the “Activate” checkbox.
The TextAlert setup options will now appear and the student will receive a unique Activation Code. The Activation Code is requested from the server at msgtrac.com, so it may take a few seconds to generate. The code is a unique email address that is set up to accept text messages.
Along with receiving an Activation code, the student will also be able to set up their individual SMS Settings and determine how many minutes in advance of their appointment they would like to receive a TextAlert regarding their appointments and choose which notifications they would like to receive as Text Messages. Click “Save Settings” to complete this step.
To complete the setup process for TextAlerts, the student must send a text message from their mobile device to the email address provided with the unique Activation Code (please note that this code does expire within the hour, so if they do not use it within that time frame they will need to generate a new code). The body of the text is not necessary and has no effect on the setup and activation process.
By sending any text message to the displayed email address, the student agrees that they would like to receive the TextAlerts from the Trac Application and that the student is responsible for any and all text messaging rates imposed by their service provider.
Your Trac System will then send a confirmation message to the student to let them know that their account is now set up to receive Text Alerts.
Now that the student has opted-in to receive Text Messages, when the student has a scheduled appointment with a consultant, your Trac System will now alert the student of their upcoming appointment via Text Alert according to the settings the student chose in the setup process.
Generating Activation Codes for Students
If your students do not have access to log in to your Trac System, it is possible for other Users to still be able to generate an Activation code for Students. All they need is the correct permission that can be found by going to the Trac Navigation -> Search Glass -> Center Profiles -> Select your Profile -> Group Access tab -> Select the group that you would like to generate codes for students -> Admin/Modules tab -> Check the box for “Allow User to Generate Activation Code for Student” -> Click Save. This is also where you can set default text to the student from the Log Listing that we will take a look at next.
Once this has been activated, Users in that group will be able to pull up any Student Profile and be able to generate an Activation Code for the student to opt-in.
Kiosks and TextAlerts
When setting up a Kiosk, there is also an option that allows students to leave the center after they have logged in and receive a text message when the center is ready to see the student. This setting can be found in the Kiosk setup:
When this setting is activated for the Kiosk and a student logs in to that Kiosk, it will ask them if they would like to “leave and be notified when the center is ready to see you”:
If they click “Yes” it will have them confirm their number if they have already opted in to receive TextAlerts and if they haven’t already opted-in, it will generate an activation code so they can opt-in at that time. This is a great way for students to be able to generate the Activation Code themselves and opt-in to receive text messages from your Center. Check out below to see how you can send a message to a student once they have logged in and opted to receive a text message.
Sending Text Messages to Students Currently in Your Center
When a Student is logged in to your Center and when looking at the Log Listing you can easily identify the students that have opted in, because there will be a phone icon just to the right of their name.
When you click on that phone icon, a text box will appear that will allow you to send a custom (or default as shown above in group settings) directly to the student’s phone.
Sending Emails and Texts
When sending out manual emails in your Trac System, you also have the ability to send that email as a Text Message to all of the students on your list that have opted in to receive TextAlerts.
First we will start by pulling up a student list, once that Student Listing is open you can send an email by going to List Options -> Send HTML Note -> Check the “Email” and “SMS Text” box to enter in a custom message that can be sent as both an email and a text.
PLEASE NOTE: A text message will only be sent to the students in that list that have opted in to receive TextAlerts, if they have not opted in then they will only receive an email reminder!
We hope that you find this newsletter helpful and as always if you have any questions on this or any other features, please feel free to let us know by going to https://helpdesk.go-redrock.com and submitting a ticket.
Thank you for your continued support!