*Following the video there is a transcript of the same content for those who prefer to read the material.*
Whether you’ve never logged in to the platform, and you’re brand new, or it’s been a while, this overview is designed to answer your basic questions about each of the available features.
We’ll define the following pages that you see when you log on to your platform account:
Platform 101 Groundwork
Brainstorming: Identify 1-3 organizations that utilize text messaging in a way that resonates with you. Identify the following:
What is the main purpose of their SMS? (Info sharing, appointment scheduling, rapid response to your questions, etc.)
How would you describe the tone of their messages? Are they automated (from a bot or AI), or does an individual send it? How do you know?
How did you opt-in and how do you opt-out?
Put yourself in your intended recipient’s shoes: What problems can you solve for them? What can you make easier, more convenient, or more accessible with SMS technology?
Draw a timeline of an optimal user experience with your organization.
Include: When they opt-in to receive messages, message frequency, the kinds of content they might receive, and when SMS communications might conclude.
Identify what content might be better suited to be shared in a flow or a campaign.
Consider that some users might prefer to receive one kind of message (say, notifications about their status) and not another (say, notifications about an upcoming event); how can you accommodate this?
Consider the data you can collect: What do you need, what would you like, and how will you collect it? Common approaches include SMS surveys, collecting net promoter scores, and asking for qualitative feedback or user testimonials.
Let’s begin with Flows.
Flows are the basis of CCL’s platform: once programmed, flows are sequences of technical actions in order. As an example, many flows begin by sorting imported contacts so that if a contact has previously opted out, they are “exited” from the flow and will not receive any messages that are part of the flow.
Flow design determines the end-user journey by sorting contacts, mapping the order of messages, determining the logic of messages (e.g. “if a user responds Y, then they move to [this step]”), and handling opt-out or opt-in requests.
Programming is the process of writing flows. Check out the right-hand menu. You’ll find the simulator is especially useful when you’re programming, so you can test what your contacts will see.
You may also like to export your flow, go back to a previous version, or check on errors.
You’ll notice multilingual links at the top. That is where you’ll input translations. You can read more about those in the help section.
Contacts are the clients or constituents you want to outreach to. Lists of contacts can be uploaded via spreadsheet by clicking Import Contacts or by open API.
Once contacts are imported, they are automatically added to a group with the same name as the file you imported. Once in the platform, different groups can receive different messages or “flows.”
When you click “Messages,” you’ll see an inbox fill the page. This inbox shows any messages that have been received by the numbers associated with your account, but not related to a product or flows.
On the left, you’ll notice the Flows folder. This is where all messages related to the flows or products live.
You will also notice your outbox, which functions similarly to your outbox for email. Messages that are in the process of being sent will go through your outbox before winding up in your “sent” messages.
Labeling, creating folders, or exporting these messages are all ways to manage your inbox.
Campaigns initiate a sequence of events based on specified timelines. Most often, we use campaigns when we want users to receive a standard cadence of SMS messages. E.g. “One day after opting-in, we want to text Message A. Four days after opting-in, we want to text Message B.”
Triggers initiate flows based on user actions or schedules. For e.g. Texting “Join” to a specific number can be a trigger. Scheduling flows to a group for a specific date and time will also appear as triggers.
Trackable links are helpful tools that allow us to see which users click hyperlinks we send to them. You can create them right in the platform, and then include them in your campaign or flow messages. We also shorten the links, which optimizes them for SMS by reducing the number of characters needed. You’ll be able to see the date and time of each click for each user.
The Help page will open in another tab, saving your place in the platform. You can use the Search bar at the top to find information you need about using the platform, or log a new support ticket. Your support tickets will alert CCL staff to your need and ensure you receive a prompt response.
Account Settings - Click your account name on the top right. Here is where you’ll see some more technical information like channels or phone numbers connected, timezone, back-end users, service configurations, and API tokens.
Whenever you’re using the CCL platform, the most important thing to keep in mind is how you’re reaching the people in your care in ways that are meaningful to them and effective for you.