SMS messages in EE | SMS credits purchase, pricing & character length

1) What are SMS credits
2) Why is this important
3) How to purchase SMS credits
4) How to check what SMS messages have been sent
5) When are SMS credits used
6) How to check the length of your SMS messages

 


 

1) What are SMS credits

SMS credits in Easy Employer, give managers the ability to send an external notice to employees in their organisation via a text message (SMS) directly to the employee's mobile phone.

Examples of these communications are roster shifts, leave requests, or notices.

 

2) Why is this important

The text message service provided in Easy Employer has a cost attached to it. If text messages fail to send, users are advised to check that they have enough credit to send the messages, and purchase additional credits if required. Please check with the relevant person in your own organisation before utilising this feature. as not all organisations wish to make use of it.

To use SMS communication from the system, SMS credits need to be purchased.


NOTE: Only Organisation-level Owners are able to make SMS purchases.


Charges only apply for outgoing SMS messages. Incoming SMS messages (e.g. from roster replies) are not charged.

 

3) How to purchase SMS credits

  1. Click Organisation.
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  2. Click Settings.
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  3. Click Billing. Your current SMS quota will be displayed.
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  4. Click Purchase SMS and the available packs will be displayed:
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  1. Click Purchase corresponding the the amount of credits you would like to purchase.
  2. Remember that SMS Credits don't expire.

 

4) How to check what SMS messages have been sent

Checking what SMS messages have been sent is also easy to do.

  1. Click on 'Reports' in the navigation bar.
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  2. Scroll to the Misc. Reports and select the 'Communication log'.
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  3. The communication log tracks all communication sent from or to Easy Employer. This report can be further scoped to only display SMS communications be clicking 'Edit' in the methods row (remember to select a time period).
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  4. Making this selection will cause a pop up box to appear. Select the type or types of communication methods that need to be reviewed.
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  5. Once the selections have been submitted all of the relevant communication messages will be displayed.
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5) When are SMS credits used

Whenever the communication method "SMS" is used, this consumes your SMS credit. This is across the entire Easy Employer system.

Generally speaking, whenever you are making these communications, a ("manager") type user has the choice to use the users default method (which can be a variety of internal notice and/or external method e.g. email and/or SMS). If you want to avoid consuming SMS credits then you will need to ensure that internally the overrides are being used e.g. "Email". This will ensure that SMS communication is not used, irrespective of a users preference. You can also bulk override a users preference, by using the bulk user changes page, a guide below linked for you: https://support.easyemployer.com/hc/en-us/articles/230921267

Remember - there's also a communications report (mentioned above) which can assist in understanding what has been sent using the SMS method, a guide below linked for you: https://support.easyemployer.com/hc/en-us/articles/230920967

 

6) How to check the length of your SMS messages

The number of credits the system will deduct depends on the length of the SMS. One SMS credit is 160 characters (including spaces). The number of SMS credits used per communication depends on the number of characters set for each specific message, which will be increased/decreased by the information sent on each (e.g. number of shifts), and also other features being used (e.g. if you are communicating site addresses).

You can check how many SMS credits are going to be used by a specific message (before sending it), by following these steps

  1. Open sandbox –you can test email and SMS communications in sandbox, but they do not actually go out to staff (as they are blocked in sandbox), but still get recorded in the communications log.
  2. Click Reports.
  3. Click Communications log.
  4. Change the date to today's date.
  5. Edit methods and select SMS only.
  6. In another tab, open the current roster.
  7. Then re-communicate the roster to one specific staff member SMS –click the cog on the right, click recommunicate and select SMS.
  8. Go back to the communications log and reload –the SMS then shows.
  9. Copy the body of the SMS and paste into a Word document. In Word, right-click any area of the status bar and choose “Character Count (with spaces)” from the context menu, or go to Tools and select "Word Count" to check the character count (with spaces). If the result is equal or less than 160 characters, the SMS credits to be used is one. If the result is more than 160 characters, divide it by 160 and round it up to the nearest whole value to get the total SMS credits.

You can also review the number of SMS credits used in communications already sent by the system:

  1. Follow the steps on section 4 of this page to produce a report of the SMS messages sent by the system.
  2. Download the communication log by exporting it to a CSV or XLS file*.
  3. Open the file in Excel.
  4. To get the exact character count of the message (including spaces), add the following formula on a new column (e.g. Column I): =LEN(CELL#); where "CELL#" indicates where the Body of the text is (e.g. cell G2), so for this particular example, the formula would be: =LEN(G2).

    *NOTE: It is possible the download comes with extra characters that are actually not part of the message (e.g. html tags: <p> </p>). These are
    not part of the character count, you can delete them before step four (using find and replace in Excel), or leave them and add a '-7' to the formula: =LEN(CELL#)-7.


  5. To get the exact number of credits used in the message, on another column (e.g. Column J), add the formula: =ROUNDUP(CELL#/160,0); in this case, "CELL#" indicates the cell with the character count added in the previous step (e.g. Column I, cell I2); for this particular example, the formula would be: =ROUNDUP(I2/160,0); (character count divided by 160; rounded up to the nearest whole value).
  6. Add up the values down on the column added on step 5 (e.g. Column J), to get the total of SMS credits used in the selected period.

Reduce SMS credits use:

You can modify the SMS format to see how that impacts the character count and hence the SMS credits used. You can customise the string(s) of text used, which can ultimately reduce total quantity of SMS consumed. Please remember that SMS is a character limited format (160 characters), so longer SMS messages might consume more than 1x SMS credit. To change the SMS format:

  1. Click Organisation.
  2. Then Settings.
  3. Then Communication.
  4. Change the options under Roster SMS Customisation.

You can test the changes you want to make to the SMS format in sandbox (repeat the first set of steps mentioned in this section). Once you have found a SMS format that works, you can then implement the change(s) in your Easy Employer live environment. 

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