Create and test a Twilio Account for SMS

Voicent software now uses Twilio service for sending and receiving text messages.

The legacy SMS modem based solution should still work but we no longer provide technical support.

Twilio mainly target developers and it could be overwhelming trying to navigate its various service. However, to set it up to enable Voicent software to send and receive SMS/text messages should be pretty simple.

  1. Sign up for a Twilio account
  2. Create a messaging service
  3. Test a messaging service

Once it is working, you should be able to use it with Voicent software (You also need to purchase the Voicent Twilio Module add-on).

Posted in SMS Usage |

Answer more questions after a bulk text campaign

if I send out a bulk text message using this software would I be able to respond to individual customers through this software as questions arise? Would I be able to respond through my cell phone? Would I be able to receive customer questions through my cell phone after sending out a bulk text? If not can I access the program through my cell phone and then respond through my cell phone while using the program? I really appreciate your time

Voicent’s 2-way text message solution is powerful and flexible to handle most situations. For general information, please take a look at the article How to manage incoming text message.

When you use our cloud service, the text message feature comes with a dedicated phone number. Customers can text you any time. Based on your settings, these incoming text can be handled by auto responders automatically, or forwarded to a particular agent/user. If there is a new text message, the agent will see a notification in the top status bar. He can then read the message and respond to it manually. All these are done in a web browser window.

If a cell phone is used to login to your Voicent account, you can respond to these messages the same way as you do on a computer. (The text message is sent from your account, not from your cell phone company).

Posted in SMS Usage |

Troubleshooting SMS modem

The on-premise software for bulk test messaging (BroadcastBySMS) relies on a device called SMS modem. Unfortunately, no US-based manufactures make these devices anymore. Further, if there are any technical issues, it is impossible to get any support from the oversea’s vendors. In addition, SMS modem requires a SIM card from your mobile company. The account associated with the SIM card normally has fair usage limitations. The SIM card/account will be blocked by your mobile company if the usage exceeds some limits. As a result, we have discontinued the support for these devices starting from 2015. (Customers who want to send out text messages are encourage to use our cloud platform.)

Though we do not support these devices, you may still be able to get it working with the right modem. To help customers who still want to use these devices, the following is the list we use internally to troubleshoot the device.

Make sure the modem and SIM card works

1. Plugin the SIM card to your modem. Please make sure the size fit. If not, you can always ask your mobile company change it to a different size.

2. The first time you plugin the modem to your computer, it should install the modem software automatically.

3. Most modem should show a green light if the modem is recognized by your computer.

4. Run the modem software (not Voicent software) and you should be able to send and receive text messages.

If you cannot find the software to send text messages, then your modem may not support the text interface.
If you cannot see from the modem software that it is connected (you should see signal strength bars like you see on your cell phone). Check the modem software is set to 3G or 4G. Some older modem only support 2G network, these modems are not going to work.

Make sure the modem works with Voicent Software

5. If the modem software is running, make sure it is fully exited. (check windows task bar’s notification area and make sure there is no modem software icon in running status).

6. Open Voicent app, go to Setup, Options, SMS tab. Make sure Auto Detect is selected. Click OK. The app should restart. If not, click the Start button.

7. If the modem is detected by the software, you should see SMS line started. You can check the message from System Status icon.

Posted in SMS Usage |

Multiple Language Text Survey App

The new survey designer is actually pretty powerful. As long as your app does not require back end integration (database, website, email etc.), it can pretty much define any interactive apps. This article explains how to handle branches in an IVR app.

Handling Branches Using Auto Responder

For incoming survey, you could use auto responder definite to trigger different surveys. For example, the following figure shows to trigger Agent1 Survey when the incoming text is “001″ and Agent2 Survey when it is “002″.

Handling Branches Using Node Response

Each node can specify its own error handling. Simply select “invalid” answer and then choose its action as follows:

Using exactly the same method, you can define a multi-language text survey app.

Posted in Developer |

Inbound Text Survey App

The survey app defined in the previous article can also be used for inbound text message survey.

To do so, simply go to Setup, PBX, SMS app, select the Add button to add a new auto responder.

In the figure, the “When receiving text message” section basically defines the survey should be triggered whenever there is an incoming text message “survey”. Save the auto responder.

Now, you can select the new auto responder for incoming text. Go to Setup, PBX, SMS app, select the Edit button.

Now, send message “survey” to your text number to start the survey.

Posted in Developer, SMS Usage |

Text Survey Error Handling

The new survey app designer handles invalid input automatically. The default action is to repeat the node up till the max retry time.

Extra Message for error

In the Error Handling Options section, you can specify additional message to send when an error occurs. You can also define the max retry time.

If additional message is specified for error handling, then it is sent before the node is retried.

Node Specified Error Handling

The generic error handling applies to all nodes. This is normally enough for most applications. If you would like to handle errors differently, you can add conditions in the node itself. For example, the following figure shows how to simply exit the survey if an answer is invalid.

Posted in Developer, SMS Usage |

Sample Outbound Text Survey App

In this article, we introduce the new survey app designer through the following sample survey.

  • Introduction: thank you for taking our xyz survey.
  • Question 1: how would you rate your overall experience? please enter 1 to 5, with 5 being the most satisfactory.
  • Question 2: how is our response time? please enter 1 to 5, with 5 being the fastest.
  • Question 3: how likely would you recommend us to your friends? please enter 1 to 3, with 3 being most likely.
  • End: Thank you for taking the time to finish the survey.

Design The Survey App

  1. Enter Introduction
  2. Under the label of Node 1, enter a label like introduction and enter the introduction for the prompt. Leave all numbers under the Answer section unchecked. When no answer is selected, the system sends the message listed in the prompt section, and move on to the next node.

  3. Enter Question 1
  4. Click the Add Node button to add a Node 2 section. Enter the information as follows. Select expected answers 1 to 5 in the Answer section. When some answers are selected, the system sends the prompt and then waits for text message response.

  5. Finish Up the Survey
  6. Add two more nodes for question 2 and question 3. Then add a thank you node similar to the introduction node.

  7. Save the app
  8. Click the Save button at the bottom to save the survey app.

Outbound Text Survey Campaign

To start a campaign using this survey app, select from the main menu Campaigns, click the Text Broadcast button. In step 2, select Simple Survey as the message type. Finish the rest of the steps to start the campaign.

Posted in Developer, SMS Usage |

Text Message Survey App Designer

In the upcoming 10.8.2 release, a new survey app designer is introduced to reduce the complexity of creating most survey applications. In previous releases, any interactions involve multiple questions require using Voicent IVR Studio, which is a full developers tool with support for database access, email and website and integrations. Though the tool is not that difficult to use, but it does require some learning time.

However, many survey applications do not need the full back end programming support. The new survey app designer eliminate the need for the additional tool, thus greatly reduces the complexity. The interface is intuitive and requires almost no learning. If you are using our cloud platform, the new designer is available in the basic subscription plan. If you use our on-premise software, you would need IVR Studio license.

The survey app designer can be accessed from the main menu under Setup, Apps, Survey Etc.. The designer works for voice survey and text message survey. To add text message survey, click the Text Message button.

Posted in SMS Usage |

How text survey are charged

Voicent cloud service has integrated text message service. There is a per text charge when using our service. When you design a text survey with a few questions and answers, how is the per text charge apply?

The per text charge is applied the same way your cell phone company charge for text. When you send a question, it counts as one text. When you receive an answer, it counts as one. So if you have a survey that have 5 questions and assume your customer answers all questions, you will have 10 text messages in total.

Also, please note long text message (more than 160 characters) will be charged more. For more details, please see the FAQ on our cloud pricing page.

(Please note this article does not apply to on-premise software, which uses your own text service)

Posted in SMS Usage |

Sample IVR text survey

Voicent IVR Studio is the most complex tool on our platform. It is actually a full developer tool with support for programming. However, most text survey apps are not that complicated and there is no need to learn the full scope of the tool. But if you want to learn the full scope of the tool, please take a look at IVR Tutorial. But for most users, just take a look at chapter one of the tutorial.

The following sample IVR app is a simple 3 question survry. This can be served as your starting point.

Please also note we offer full design service for creating your survey app. For more details, please contact our sales.

To download the sample app, click below:

Outbound Text Survey Sample
Inbound Text Survey Sample

How to handle wrong key and repeat the question?

If someone presses key 9 instead of the specified range 1 – 5, the system will send back some default message. If you want to change the prompt, you can add a go to element/node to handle that situation. The following is the updated call flow.

The repeat Message node is defined as:

How to build a survey with tree-like questions and answers?

If your survey is a little more complicated, you can easily add branches to your survey. For example, with the sample survey, if someone presses 1 to Q1, you can ask a different set of questions. The updated call flow should look like below:

You can download the updated sample ivr app here:

Outbound Text Survey Sample V2

For IVR phone survey samples, please see here.

Posted in SMS Usage |