We are pleased to announce the availability of SMS text notifications to parents for our online forms platform, following requests from a number of schools.
Up until now ParentPaperwork has sent emails to Parents letting them know there is a new online form waiting for them to complete and submit. Email continues to be a great way to communicate with parents, and the analysis of our data we’ve done shows this – 55% of parents respond to their online forms within 24 hours. The speed parents are responding is clear indication that they are receiving email notifications and taking action quickly.
This fantastically prompt response rate is understandable given the rise of smartphone usage over the past few years, everyone you pass on the street seems to be head down and glued to their phone reading their emails, Facebook and other communication channels.
However, we acknowledge that not every parent is fixated on their email, perhaps they do not have a smart phone, or they don’t work in a role where they are constantly in front of a computer. Instead maybe email messages are something they check every day or two.
This is why a key request from schools has been the option to also notify parents via SMS text message. SMS is a very immediate way to communicate with someone, irrespective of whether the recipient has a smart phone or perhaps an older generation model.
Enabling SMS Notifications for your School
If you wish to make use of SMS notifications you need to ask us to turn this feature on for you. Please email [email protected] and we’ll flick the switch.
You can check whether SMS notifications are enabled by clicking on your User Name at the top right (after logging into ParentPaperwork). Then click Settings, and Configuration.
Importing Parent Contacts
When importing Parent Contacts you now have the option to enable email and/or SMS notifications. Remember that if you wish to use SMS notifications the Parent Contacts will need a mobile phone number. Selecting an option will ‘turn on’ the notifications for all the Parents you are importing – email or SMS.
Managing Parent Contacts
You will find Email and SMS options now within the Parent Contact records. You must have one or both of the options selected. By default Email will be selected, if SMS is not selected.
SMS Messages sent to Parents
If Parents have SMS notifications enabled, they will receive a text message notifying them of a new online form, in the same way they receive email notifications. The message includes the name of the Student, name of the School and a link to the form. This link will take them to the same online form page as if they had clicked the link in an email notification.
Parents updating communication preferences
When parents complete their online forms they now have the ability to update their communication preferences. They can select either Email or SMS or both. Depending on which options they select, the corresponding email and mobile phone fields will need values entered. For example, if they check the ‘Send SMS Notifications’ box, they will not be able to submit the form without entering a mobile phone number.
SMS Notification costs to Schools
We’ve carefully thought through the costs of providing the SMS notification service to schools, and spoken to a number of our existing customers to gauge the pricing model that will be most acceptable. We are offering two price schemes:
- SMS costs invoiced monthly: .10c per SMS, incl GST
- SMS costs pre-paid: .08c per SMS, incl GST
The choice becomes whether to simply pay-as-you-go, we will bill you at the beginning of each month .10c for each text you send in the preceeding month.
Or you can come up with an estimation of texts you will send over a period – say a term, a quarter or a year, and we’ll bill you .08c each.
We believe our pricing is competitive, the higher cost for the monthly bills reflects the internal costs we incur to report, generate and send invoices, record payments, chase payments and so forth.
These prices are in Australian dollars, please ask for pricing for other countries.
If you would like more information, or enable SMS notifications for your school, please email [email protected].