Your questions answered
|What is SMS?||SMS is short for SHORT MESSAGING SERVICE. It is a transmission of text or binary data to a mobile device like a phone or PDA. 99% of all mobile phones support SMS. SMS is more commonly known as a TEXT MESSAGE and these can be transmitted from device to device or from software such as that provided by Communicloud to a device.
|How much does it cost?||Communicloud offer different plans to suit any business.
Our Entry package is completely free and text messages are purchased on a 'pay as you go' basis.
You can upgrade your account to use any of the features we offer, and if required downgrade it again. No lengthy contracts or commitments - just pay as you go!
|How do my clients 'Opt in' and 'Opt out'?||OPTING IN:
Providing a facility for your clients to opt in is very simple. Your client simply texts YOURKEYWORD to either our Virtual Mobile Number (VMN) or if enabled on your account, to one of our shortcode numbers (e.g. 82055).
Communicloud provide two simple ways for your customers to opt out. They can do so by simply texting YOURKEYWORD STOP to unsubscribe from your database or STOP to unsubscribe from all databases they may have registered to on our system to either our VMN or shortcode.
|Can I see handset delivery reports?||Yes you can.
Firstly we initially provide a report that the SMS network has accepted each message for each phone on your list.
When your message has been routed to a handset a DELIVERED status is applied with a timestamp so you can see exactly when it has been delivered.
If the message could not be delivered, a NON DELIVERED status is applied and one of over 50 reasons why. If the reason is due to handset problem, not a temporary phone issue (like inbox full), you can quarantine the number. This locks the phone in your account (so it will be ignored) next time you send a message to help prevent you from wasting messages.
|Can I upload my own numbers?||Yes you can.
Not only can you upload your own numbers, but our system can automatically check your file for valid mobile numbers from up to 3 fields of your data, remove duplicates and compare the new clean data against numbers already in your database. You can even include landline numbers.
Every time you upload a database, you can assign a new client group to it to identify it later. When a number already exists in your current database, the group is simply tagged against them rather than the client being added again.
|Can I build multiple databases/client groups?||Yes you can.
Simply upgrade to use Client Groups/Sub Keywords.
(Client groups are not just groups of clients, but those groups are also known as "sub keywords". This is because someone can text your keyword followed by one of your configured group names. Hence the term "sub keyword")
Each group/sub keyword can contain unlimited numbers, so you could for example have sub keywords like MALE and FEMALE. Using this example, your clients can text YOURKEYWORD MALE to join your male database or YOURKEYWORD FEMALE to join your female database.
You can also set different replies for each sub keyword. these can be SMS, MMS, a live RSS feed or other interactive responses such as those provided by our text raffle or competition/voting services.
It is also set different replies to each keyword and have the alert sent to different email addresses with your organisation.
|Can I provide reverse billing?||Yes you can. We can provide 25p, 50p, £1, £1.50, £2.50, £5, £3 charity and £5 charity - and multiples thereof.
We can provide 1mth-12mth plans not just 12 month contracts. The amount you charge your clients is not fixed and can be switched between plans at any time from within your account. You can even run multiple campaigns simultaneously at different rates.
|How do I advertise a service like on TV?||Simply upgrade to use your keyword on the shortcode.
For example, "text BROCHURE to 82055" for a free information booklet.
This is a great way to capture your clients number and all enquiries are sent to you in an automated email or by SMS if you prefer.
If required, add more keywords (like BROCHURE, INFORMATION, BOOKLET etc) which all point to sub keywords in your account. This allows you to quickly see which areas of your marketing are working and which are not. Also specifically tailored replies can be sent back. You can also send a group or bulk text message to any single, group or all clients from your account at any time.
|Are there are any delays or routing problems?||Some other SMS providers may route through one, two, four or even more providers to route your message. They may even use overseas routes which are inherently unreliable. Each gateway in the chain can fail at anytime, increase their price, delay your message or worst of all lose your message altogether.
Communicloud use 5 routes directly to the UK network partners.
This gives an unparalleled delivery time and reliability, plus at very busy times by threading messages, delivery times are rarely affected. Our systems will easily cope with up to 2.5 million messages per day.
We also only use 'ported routes'. These are SMS routes to phones who have had their number moved 'cross network' (when changing a provider from Vodafone to Orange for example). Other companies sometimes offer both a 'standard route' and 'premium route' where only the premium route includes ported numbers. Non ported routes see around 50% of message delivery occurring making them not cost effective for large batches of numbers. Be sure when comparing our prices that you are seeing quotations based on premium ported routes (PPR) or ask the provider you are considering before committing.
|Can I have multiple logins?||Yes you can.
Your account can be used by your staff or other persons. You can assign a password for each and then set a limit to how much they can do from within their account.
For example, a level one user can manage all aspects of the account but a level four user can only add customers, amend the database or send single text messages.
This is especially useful for chat services where you may have operators managing your service.
|Can SMS be converted to an email and back?||Yes.
1) Our system forwards a copy of the details and message of any person texting YOUR KEYWORD.
Also by setting up 2 way SMS for you, your customers can reply to your messages with the reply coming to you as an email. By simply following a link in the email reply, you can text the customer back.
|Can I do text chat?||Yes.
All incoming messages are shown inside your account in real time. Although your account can be configured to automatically reply to your clients, there are times (especially with chat services) where you want to respond to the client yourself.
With our chat services this is possible. By clicking [reply] beneath any incoming message that has not been responded to you can reply to the person easily.
Replies can be either
|Is my data secure?||
Communicloud are registered with the Information Commisioners Office (ICO) and abide by laws laid down in the Data Protection Act 1998. See http://www.ico.gov.uk/
Once you login to Communicloud, your connection uses 128bit encryption. This ensures that the transfer of data between yourselves and Communicloud is as secure as possible.
We also host our own servers and products via a dedicated Tier 1 10Mb Leased Line.
Be aware of other companies who may not provide any of these.
|bulk texting||Otherwise known as bulk text messaging, bulk text messages, bulk texting, group messaging or sms broadcasting.
This is the ability to send many text messages simultaneously. For example with Communicloud you can enter a message once, import or select a list of numbers and send the same message to many phones at the same time.
|Multimedia Messages, (sometimes called texting pictures or texting videos)||MMS messages are delivered in a fashion almost identical to SMS, but any multimedia content is first encoded and inserted into a text message in a fashion similar to sending a MIME e-mail. MMS defines a subset of MIME content formats in the MMS Message Encapsulation specification. The message is then forwarded to the carrier's SMS store and forward server, the "MMS relay". If the receiver is on another carrier, the relay forwards the message to the recipient's carrier using the Internet.
Once it reaches the correct MMS relay for the receiver, the content is extracted and sent to a temporary storage server (often the same process as the relay) with an HTTP front-end. An SMS "control message" containing the URL of the content is then sent to the recipient's handset to trigger the receiver's WAP browser to open a receive the content from the embedded URL. Several other messages are exchanged to indicate status of the delivery attempt.
Some installations also include a conversion service that will attempt to modify the multimedia content into a format suitable for the receiver. This is known as "content adaptation", or MMSC.
|Texting||A conversation that takes place using text messages on mobile phones.
|GPRS||General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a packet oriented Mobile Data Service available to users of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and IS-136 mobile phones. It provides data rates from 56 up to 114 kbit/s. GPRS is a technology which is changing the present shape of mobile communication.
A GPRS connection is established by reference to its Access Point Name (APN). The APN defines the services such as Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) access, Short Message Service (SMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), and for Internet communication services such as email and World Wide Web access. GPRS data transfer is typically charged per megabyte of traffic transferred, while data communication via traditional circuit switching is billed per minute of connection time, independent of whether the user actually is using the capacity or is in an idle state. GPRS is a best-effort packet switched service, as opposed to circuit switching, where a certain Quality of Service (QoS) is guaranteed during the connection for non-mobile users.
2G cellular systems combined with GPRS are often described as "2.5G", that is, a technology between the second (2G) and third (3G) generations of mobile telephony. It provides moderate speed data transfer, by using unused Time division multiple access (TDMA) channels in, for example, the GSM system. Originally there was some thought to extend GPRS to cover other standards, but instead those networks are being converted to use the GSM standard, so that GSM is the only kind of network where GPRS is in use. GPRS is integrated into GSM Release 97 and newer releases. It was originally standardized by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), but now by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).