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SMS module

Configuration

Activation

The new SMS module needs to be activated in the GEM-CAR settings before being used. Prior to activating it, your V2V company number must be configured in the Company management window. Follow the steps below to activate the new SMS module.

  1. From the GEM-CAR main menu, go to Configuration > General information.
  2. Click on the Options tab.
  3. On the list of options, check option 124 - Use the .NET module to send SMS box to activate the new SMS module.
  4. Click on the diskette button to save.

The Sent SMS log report accessible through Reports > Customer management will not be available with the new SMS module. However, you still can show reports for SMS sent with the previous module.

Enable sending SMSes to customers

Once the SMS module has been activated, GEM-CAR needs to know which customer accepted to receive SMSes. For doing so, follow the steps below.

  1. Access the Customer management window.
  2. Search for and select the customer on the list.
  3. Select the Customer Information tab.
  4. Check the Accepts communications by SMS box.
  5. Click on the diskette button to save.

Configure the country and province in the Company management window

To send SMSes, you need to configure the country in the Company management window. Otherwise, it will fail and you will get an error message. In order to do so, follow the steps below.

  1. Access the Company management window.
  2. Select the country in which your company is located using the Country drop-down menu.
  3. Select the province in which your company is located using the Province drop-down menu.
  4. Click on the diskette button to save.

The laws in Canada and the United States differ on consent regulations for sending commercial SMSes. Managing these rules and differences could be overwhelming, but, fortunately, they have a simple and common ground. Consequently, to comply with the anti-spamming legislation, the best practice is to obtain express consent from customers before activating SMSes for them in GEM-CAR and therefore sending them any SMS. This practice is in accordance with both Canadian and American legislation and is also the easiest to manage.

Express consent consists of a signed physical document or can also be provided electronically. Customers must clearly agree to received SMSes from your company for confirmations, appointments, repair statuses, promotions or any other information that you wish to share with them by SMS. This can be done by adding a consent message on invoices and making the customers acknowledge and sign them. You must also be very careful and keep good records on customer consents and, in case of doubt, you should not assume that consent has been obtained.

The Canadian legislation also permits implicit consent or oral explicit consent under certain conditions. However, these conditions are complicated and uneasy to manage. This is why we recommend that you use explicit written consent. For more information about Canadian and American regulations regarding sending commercial SMSes, please consult the links below.

Workflow

First SMS

A disclaimer SMS will be sent to customers when sending the first SMS. It will give them the option to unsubscribe and not receive further messages by responding STOP. When customers unsubscribe, they will not receive any further SMS sent by GEM-CAR or GEM-CRM. This means that, if customers do business with more than one shop using GEM-CAR or GEM-CRM, unsubscribing will affect messages sent by all shops. In other words, this cannot apply to a single shop.

Replies

GEM-CAR

When customers reply to your SMSes, your shop will receive the messages by e-mail. Do not reply to the e-mails because customers will not receive the responses. Use the GEM-CAR built-in SMS feature to reply to messages instead.

GEM-CRM

When customers reply to your SMSes, your shop can receive the messages by e-mail and/or to a chosen cellular number, following the GEM-CRM settings. Do not reply to the e-mails because customers will not receive the responses. Also, do not reply using your personal cellphone because the customers would receive the responses from this phone number. Use the GEM-CAR built-in SMS feature to reply to messages instead.

SMS queues

To comply with the mobile phone carriers’ restrictions for preventing spamming, all SMS messages cannot be sent at the same time. For this reason, we use queues. Messages are generally sent rapidly, but occasionally, if a large number of messages are placed in a queue at the same time, there might be delays.

We presently use two (2) queues to send the SMSes and they can be sent from eight (8) different phone numbers.

  • The promotional queue is used for promotional purposes like marketing and advertisements and is used only by GEM-CRM. It uses the two (2) following Canadian phone numbers:
    • (438) 601-3549
    • (438) 601-3643
  • The transactional queue is used for business purposes like appointment status information or reminders and can be used by both GEM-CRM and GEM-CAR. It uses the six (6) following Canadian phone numbers:
    • (438) 601-3562
    • (438) 601-3492
    • (438) 601-1668
    • (438) 601-1575
    • (438) 601-4488
    • (438) 601-3998

Segmentation and pricing

The pricing is established by segmentation and not by the number of sent messages. One segment consists of up to:

  • 153 regular characters; or
  • 67 characters if a message contains Unicode characters such as accents or emojis.

Therefore, sending a message containing 200 regular characters is equal to two segments while a message containing only 150 characters, but including Unicode characters, is equal to three segments.


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