SMS Auto-Replies

Jude N.
Jude N.
  • Updated

Overview: What are we talking about?

Gingr provides the option of creating Auto-Reply SMS Templates that can be sent automatically to your customers on set schedules. This feature requires the All-in-One Multimedia Messaging Bundle subscription add-on. 

In our ever-connected mobile age, customers expect clear communication from the facilities caring for their pets. This feature allows your business to provide timely replies to customers during your off-hours, during other set times of day, on select days of the week, and on select calendar dates. Setting up auto-replies helps your business maintain clear lines of communication and to more efficiently and effectively communicate with your customers.  

 

This article includes: 

Related Articles:

Helpful Hints:

  • The maximum number of characters per message is 320. Variables count into this limit AFTER being filled in. So while "{first_name}" is 12 characters, if the owner's name is "John", then only 4 characters will be counted into the max. 

  • If multiple auto-replies are set up for the same time(s), then both messages will send as independent messages. If needed, you can split longer messages into multiple canned templates and set them up to send on the same schedule. 

  • If you have 2-way SMS enabled, for users to receive in-app notifications for incoming text messages, the user must have the "Notification: Incoming SMS" user permission turned on.

  • Gingr will send SMS to your customers from a custom, toll-free number. This phone number for your SMS can be found under Left-hand Navigation: Admin » System SMS

  • All admin users have access to the admin page controlling these settings. Additionally, admin users are able to delegate this particular admin page to other user groups. Non-admin users with access to this page will be able to make edits that affect all locations in the app. For more information see our article on User Groups and Permissions

  • Important! Our messaging provider, Twilio, enforces strict guidelines for SMS content. Twilio prohibits sending messages related to illegal substances, including terms like CBD, Cannabis, or Kratom. Messages containing prohibited words will be automatically censored with asterisks (*), both within your app and for the message recipient. Violating these guidelines may lead to the immediate blocking of all messages from your SMS number. Refer to Twilio's Acceptable Use Policy and Forbidden Message Categories for more details.

Pricing for SMS Functionality:

Using SMS Auto-Replies requires the All-in-One Messaging Bundle.

There are additional SMS Features available on Gingr that are an add-on to the system SMS functionality. These include 2-Way SMS, Marketing SMS, and a bundle that also includes Multi-media Messaging, Canned SMS, and SMS Auto-Replies. Please see our articles on 2-Way SMS, SMS Marketing Campaigns, and SMS Canned Responses for more information. 

Navigate to Left-hand Navigation: Admin » Manage Gingr Subscription and click Enable on the add-on you would like to subscribe to. Your billing period begins on the day that you enable this feature. 

The following is the pricing structure for these additional features:

2-Way SMS:

Includes 2-way SMS capability. There is an annual charge as well as metered usage charges. Metered usage is per incoming text. For metered charges (see tiers below), a “SMS” is up to 160 characters. A SMS longer than 160 characters will count as multiple messages. This number resets each monthly billing cycle.

  • $165/subdomain/year
  • $0.00/incoming SMS for 0-500 messages received per month
  • $0.04/incoming SMS received over 500 per month
     

Marketing SMS:

Includes Marketing SMS capability. There is an annual charge as well as metered usage charges. Metered usage is per outgoing text. For metered charges (see tiers below), a “SMS” is up to 160 characters. A SMS longer than 160 characters will count as multiple messages.  This number resets each monthly billing cycle.

  • $135/location/year
  • $0.00/outgoing SMS for 0-500 messages sent per month
  • $0.04/outgoing SMS sent over 500 per month
     

All-in-One Multimedia Messaging Bundle:

Includes:

  • 2-Way SMS
  • SMS Marketing
  • Multi-Media Messaging
  • Canned SMS Templates
  • Auto-Reply SMS

There is an annual charge as well as metered usage charges. 2-Way SMS is per incoming text. Marketing SMS is per outgoing text. For metered charges (see tiers below), a “SMS” is up to 160 characters. A SMS longer than 160 characters will count as multiple messages. This number resets each monthly billing cycle. The following pricing structure is for 2-Way and Marketing SMS COMBINED:

  • $225/subdomain/year
  • $0.00/SMS for 0-1000 sent or received per month
  • $0.04/SMS for 1001-2000 sent or received per month
  • $0.03/SMS for 2001-3000 sent or received per month
  • $0.02/SMS for 3000+ sent or received per month

If you were previously signed up for 2-way SMS and/or Marketing SMS, upon signing up for the All-in-One Bundle our system will provide a pro-rated credit to your next invoice (regular subscription or messaging bundle, whichever comes first). Metered usage numbers will reset with the upgrade, but usage costs will not get reimbursed if you upgrade mid-month. Please reach out to our support team if you have questions. 

 

How to: Create a Canned SMS Template

Using SMS Auto-Replies requires first making the templates for these automatic messages. These templates can be used for these Auto-replies, for direct 2-way SMS messages, and for SMS Marketing Campaigns. 

To create a new Canned SMS template:

  1. Navigate to Left-hand Navigation: Admin » Canned SMS Templates.

  2. Click the blue Add button towards to right of the screen to create a new template
    Screen_Shot_2022-07-01_at_10.17.00_AM.png

  3. There are several fields you will need to fill out. Please review the following guide. Once these details are filled out you can click Save or Save and Add Another

Field Guide to Canned SMS Settings:

Field Name Description Helpful Hint
Variables Variables can be placed within a message. These automatically fill in with the relevant information depending on the owner, animal, and location information.

Variables count into the 255 character limit AFTER being filled in. So while "{first_name}" is 12 characters, if the owner's name is "John", then only 4 characters will be counted into the max. 

If an owner has multiple pets, they will be separated by a comma by default. 

Choose Locations Select the location(s) where this template should be available. Which canned templates show will depend on which location the user is logged into while accessing the list.
Campaign Name This is the name of the template within your Gingr application and is not visible to customers. Make this name descriptive enough for easy access to choose the correct template.
Message

Enter the message to be delivered to customers. Up to 320 characters can be entered. However, if after the variables fill in the message is longer, then you will receive an error and must shorten the message.

Custom variables can be entered here which will automatically fill with the relevant information. See the top of the popup for a list of available variables. 

Be sure to enter variables exactly as listed or they will not populate. 

Emojis and images are not supported when using canned templates.

Media can be added to 2-Way SMS, however, you cannot have the template automatically add any media so you must do so manually at the time of sending.

 

canned SMS creation.gif

How to: Set Up Auto-Replies

Once you have set up your Canned SMS templates, you can configure automated messaging.

  1. Navigate to Left-hand Navigation: Admin » Manage SMS Auto-Replies.

  2. Click the blue Add button towards to right of the screen to create a new template.
    Screen Shot 2022-07-06 at 10.40.11 AM.png

  3. There are several fields you will need to fill out. Please review the following guide. Once these details are filled out you can click Save or Save and Add Another

Field Guide to Auto-Reply SMS Settings:

Field Name Description Helpful Hint
Location Select the location where this template should send. 

 

Name This is the name of the template within your Gingr application and is not visible to customers. Make this name descriptive enough for easy access to choose the correct template.
Template Select the Canned SMS Template that should send for this Auto-Reply.  Please see the section on Canned Templates above for more information about setting these up. 
Status Choose whether or not this template should send. You can filter the list to enabled and/or disabled templates just above the list of templates. 
All-Day Select this toggle if the Auto-Reply should send at all hours of the day.  If the All Day toggle is on, the time selectors will disappear.
Start Date & Time Select the date & time this auto-reply should start sending.

You can schedule auto-replies to begin at a later date.

If the All Day toggle is on, the time selector will disappear.

End Date & Time

Select the time this auto-reply should stop sending.

You can schedule auto-replies to stop sending on a certain date.

If the All Day toggle is on, the time selector will disappear.

Type Select if the Auto-Reply should send on certain days of the week and/or end on certain dates. 

Repeat: select from daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. See more details below.

Repeat Every: select how frequently the reply should repeat (depending on which repeat selection you chose above).

End: optionally set the reply to send Until a certain date or after a certain Count of sends. This defaults to ending Never.

 

Repeating Options: 

  • Never
    The auto-reply will only send between the selected Start and End Dates and Times.
    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 11.32.49 AM.png

  • Daily:
    The auto-reply will repeat daily on a set schedule. You can set it to repeat every set number of days. For example, entering 1 in the Repeat Every field means the template sends every day, entering 2 will make the template send every other day. Optionally set an end date.
    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 11.33.02 AM.png

  • Weekly:
    Auto-replies can send on select days of the week. A single rule can be applied to one or multiple days of the week. You can set it to repeat every set number of weeks. For example, entering 1 in the Repeat Every field means the template sends weekly, entering 2 will make the template send every other week. Optionally set an end date.
    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 11.33.23 AM.png

  • Monthly:
    Auto-replies can send on select days of each month. You can set it to repeat every set number of months. For example, entering 1 in the Repeat Every field means the template sends every month, entering 2 will make the template send every other month. There are two options for repeating dates: you can enter a set day of the month or based on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or last day of the week of the month. Optionally set an end date.
    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 11.43.51 AM.png

  • Yearly
    Auto-replies can send on select days of each year. You can set it to repeat every set number of years. For example, entering 1 in the Repeat Every field means the template sends every year, entering 2 will make the template send every other year. There are two options for repeating dates: you can enter a set day of the year or based on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or last day of the week of the year you select. Optionally set an end date.Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 11.41.59 AM.png

 

Example Configurations:

  • Repeating every other day:
    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 5.40.35 PM.png

  • Replies only on weekends:
    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 5.41.25 PM.png

  • Replies on a set day of the month. For example the 1st of each month:
    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 5.42.44 PM.png

  • Replies based on the day of the week in a month. For example the 1st Friday of every month:
    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 5.45.37 PM.png

  • Replies for a holiday that falls on a specific date. For example the 4th of July or Christmas:
    Screen Shot 2022-07-26 at 9.54.42 AM.png

  • Replies for a holiday that occurs on varying dates of the year. For example Thanksgiving or Labor Day:

    Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 5.36.40 PM.png

  • Temporary replies such as for facility closures can have an end date set. For example this would achieve an all day reply while your facility is closed July 5th thru the 9th. In this case the rule does not need to be set to repeat.

    Screen Shot 2022-07-26 at 10.02.09 AM.png

 

How to: View SMS History 

There are a couple of ways in which you can view SMS history. From the Owner Profile, you can access a tab with all the customer email and SMS communications in one place. If you are signed up for 2-Way texting, which is part of the All-in-One Multimedia Messaging bundle, then you will also have access to a complete SMS conversation history. 

Owner Communications Tab

In order to see a record of all communications with a customer, navigate to the Owner's profile and then click the Communications Tab. You will see a list of outgoing and incoming messages. Outgoing text messages and call records are listed on this tab. From this tab, you can also send SMS (if you have 2-Way texting enabled), send emails, create call records, add the customer to marketing campaigns, and more. Click each row to view details of the communication.  

For more information please see our article on the Owner Communications Tab

Screen Shot 2022-07-27 at 10.34.37 AM.png

Screen Shot 2022-07-27 at 4.28.29 PM.png

 

2-Way SMS

With 2-Way SMS enabled, all System, Marketing, and custom SMS will be listed in the SMS conversations section.  For more information please see our article on 2-Way SMS

Screen Shot 2022-07-27 at 10.22.00 AM.png

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How to: Export & Print Templates

Exporting

To export/download a list of your templates, you can click the Export button at the top of your template list. This exports an XLSX file, which can be opened in Excel. 

Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 11.48.54 AM.png

 

Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 11.52.13 AM.png

 

Printing

To print a list of your templates, click the Print button at the top of your template list. This opens your computer system print dialogue box. 

Screen Shot 2022-07-08 at 11.53.49 AM.png

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FAQ: Check this out!

What guidelines must I follow to avoid message filtering?

Our messaging service provider, Twilio, enforces an Acceptable Use Policy and Messaging Policy that explicitly disallow the transmission of any content that is unlawful, harmful, unwelcome, inappropriate, objectionable, confirmed to be criminal, misinformation, or that poses a potential risk to the public, even if such content may be legally permissible. Additionally, any usage that violates local laws in the recipient’s jurisdiction is also not allowed.

Referencing Cannabis, CBD, or Kratom is not allowed due to federal laws that prohibit their sale. Twilio defines a cannabis message as any communication pertaining to the marketing or sale of cannabis products.If you fail to comply with Twilio’s Acceptable Use Policy or Messaging Policy your messages may be blocked and your account may be suspended or terminated.

For more information about preventing your messages from being filtered and how to remain compliant, see this article: How do I prevent my Twilio messages from being filtered (blocked)?, and reach out to our support team if you have additional questions.

 

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