Create New Reminder
A reminder in Promptly is a specific text Message sent to a Group of phone numbers at a specific time in the future. To create a reminder you must first create the content for the Message and create a Group of recipient phone numbers. To schedule a reminder:
- Sign in and go to the dashboard
- Click Reminders
- Click Schedule a Reminder
- Select an existing text message or Create New Message
- Select one or more recipient groups or Create New Group
- Choose a send date and optionally change the send time
- Click Schedule Reminder to preview the reminder
- Click Schedule Reminder confirm
##Create New Message A message in Promptly is the written content that is sent out to a Group of recipients for a Reminder. To create a message:
- Sign in and go to the dashboard
- Click Messages
- Click Create Message
- Enter a name for the message (The name will not show up for recipients)
- Enter the text message content see best practices for government text messaging
- Click "Create Message**
Create New Group
Groups in Promptly are lists of phone numbers with a name and description of the group. To create a group:
- Sign in and go to the dashboard
- Click Groups on the sidebar
- Click New Group
- Give the group a name and description to help you remember
- Enter a list of phone numbers one phone number per line with NO spaces, like this:
5105555555 4156666666 6267777777 ...
- Click Create Group
If you want to create a dynamic group that updates periodically from another datasource, either talk to your admin (if you have one) or check out the section below for developers.
Message style guide
Take a look at our best practices for government text messaging.
For install/deploy instructions, check out the readme.
This section assumes you have Promptly up and running and have access to the rails console via
Currently the only way for Promptly to import groups is directly from custom tables within the application database. Yes, we recognize this is super lame. We apologize. Please make something better and send a pull request! So here's how:
- First, do some prep. Suppose you have a table called 'rent_overdue' in the application database that gets refreshed every day with people whose rent is overdue:
phone, rent_due_date 5105555555, 1/1/1999 4156666666, 5/27/1800 ...
Make sure there's a phone column with the phone number. All other columns are ignored.
- Run the import rake task manually
# The import command is `rake "import_group[TABLE_NAME,GROUP_NAME]"` # So, to import the 'rent_overdue' table as the 'delinquents' Group, run: $ rake "import_group[rent_overdue,delinquents]"
Check the console to make sure everything ran smoothly. Then check Promptly web to double-check.
- Automate import via cron jobs (Heroku doesn't support cron jobs, so read this article instead)
- Edit config/scheduler.rb
# See the whenever docs for details: https://github.com/javan/whenever every 1.day, :at => '10:00 am' do rake "import_group[rent_overdue,delinquents]", :environment => 'production' # Feel free to add more... rake "import_group[rent_due_soon,pay_now]", :environment => 'production' end
- Log into the Rails console with
$ rails c
- And update the crontab with
$ whenever --update
And now the import task will run automatically. The task itself basically just clears all recipients from the group and adds them again from scratch.
CalFresh discontinuation text messages
CalFresh (Food Stamps): Your CalFresh benefits may stop at the end of this month. Questions? Call (415) 944-4301.
CalFresh (Estampillas de Comida): Sus beneficios de CalFresh podrìan descontinuarse al final de este mes. ¿Preguntas? Llame al (415) 944-4301.
糧食券: 你的糧食券福利可能會在本月底停止. 有問題嗎？請致電 (415) 944-4301.
CalFresh (Food Stamps): В конце месяца выплата вашего пособия CalFresh может быть остановлена. Если у вас есть вопросы, позвоните 415-944-4301.
CalFresh (Phiếu Thực phẩm): Phúc lợi CalFresh của quý vị có thể sẽ bị ngưng vào cuối tháng này. Nếu quý vị có thắc mắc thì xin gọi về (415) 944-4301.
CalFresh (Food Stamps): Ang inyong mga benepisyo ng CalFresh ay maaaring tumigil sa katapusan ng buwang ito. May mga katanungan ba kayo? Tumawag sa (415) 944-4301.
Privacy and security
Text messages are not a secure means of communication. That's why clients must explicitly request text messages by filling out the Text and Email Consent Form.
Future Text Message Ideas from HSA Employees
- You are approved for ________.
- Your new driver license is ready.
- You are eligible to enroll in Social Security benefits.
- [Street Name] will be closed from [date] to [date].
- Maximum benefit allotments have decreased to ___________.
- Consider Medi-Cal for your health care needs.
- Visit our new lobby.
- Apply for WIC here: ___________.
CIS is a county-specific data extract from the CalWIN data system that 18 CA counties use to manage various public benefit programs. We initially built and deployed Promptly for the San Francisco Human Service Agency to notify CalFresh clients when they were at risk of losing benefits (see here for more info). We used CIS data to import these client groups into Promptly. We've published the specific SQL queries here just in case other IT staff within Human Service Agencies want to implement a similar program.
Where do I save text message and/or email consent in CalWIN?
There are two new case special indicators in CalWIN to mark clients who have signed up for text messaging and email communication. To add an indicator to a case, go to the Display Demographic Summary Tab > Collect Individual Demographics Detail, and add those that apply:
- Text Messages OK
- Email Ok
Where should I enter the client's cell phone number in CalWIN?
In the Messages field on the Case Summary Details window. The Demographics window will not work.
Do I have to run EDBC?
No. You can just click save.
For now, just during face-to-face intake and RRRs. Not over the phone.
Should I collect information even if the case isn’t immediately approved?
Yes, please collect this info at intake whether or not the case is immediately approved.
Do clients need to provide both text and email consent?
No. Clients can choose to receive either, both, or neither. They should also be informed that HSA is only sending text messages at this time.
How to start?
Open Chrome or Firefox preferably rather than Internet Explorer. On an HSA computer in the address bar of your web browser type "promptlytest/" Login with your username and password. If you do not have one, then request it from HSA IT.
What if people text back?
We can read what they wrote and they will receive an automatic reply. If people text back STOP then they will be dropped automatically from the program. You read what people text.
How do clients start receiving these text messages?
Clients have to sign a form in order to opt into this program.
Can we enter all the clients for the coming year so that at the end of the month they will automatically receive messages?
No, not in the current state of Promptly, but yes, we could create this.
Can we contact all existing CalFresh clients receiving messages about signing up for Medi-Cal?
Will HSA IT create the groups for us?
Yes, they will set up the queries.
So, how does that work?
If you want to send one text message to a group people, say for a one off reason, then you can ask HSA IT for a particular query. For ongoing, periodic texts, however, then a query needs to be set up that runs every night, updating the system, that allows for new clients’ information to be automatically imported and they will be texted automatically when about to be discontinued.
Are there capacity issues, like can we run a query for 15,000 people or text that many?
No capacity issues, you can query and text as many as you like as long as they’re in CalWIN.
Do we know how many contact the call center?
Yes, you can see when they call and how many. A report can be generated on this., however, it resides with a third-party called “Twilio.” Clients call this number that they receive when texted. The number will not change. They may decide to call this number rather than the call center directly in the future. So getting accurate data on total calls to the call center may require accessing this data.
How much does Promptly cost?
For clients, Promptly is a "free service," meaning HSA offers this communication option to clients for free. However, text messages from Promptly are just like normal text messages, meaning clients may have to pay depending on their service provider and text message plan. Typically in the U.S. no text messages will cost more than 10c. This issue is described in the text and email consent form.
For HSA, Promptly isn't free because Twilio isn't free. There are three types of costs from Twilio:
- Phone numbers cost $1 per month per number. We currently have two phone numbers.
- Outbound/inbound SMS messages cost 3/4c per message.
- Incoming calls cost 3c per minute (technically 1c/minute for the incoming leg + 2c/minute for the outgoing leg via call forwarding)
So here's a quick hypothetical total cost for a month of Promptly in the future, assuming Promptly sends 10k messages, 25% of clients text back, and 50% of clients call with an average call time of 5 mins:
- $2 per month for the phone numbers = $2
- 10,000 outbound messages * 3/4c = $75
- (2,500 incoming messages from clients + 2,500 automatic response outbound messages) * 3/4c = $38
- 5,000 incoming calls * 5 minutes * 3c per minute = $750
- = $865 total monthly cost
Someone needs to make sure there is always enough money in our Twilio account to ensure that Promptly can send messages and forward incoming calls.
Can we assign a different number to each community of people who speak a different language?
Can we embed a link within a text message so people can click it?
Can we do sub-groups, like all the CalWORKS clients or all the CalFresh clients?
No, not now, but we may be able to do this moving forward.
How long does it take to text people?
Promptly can send one text message per second. Clients should receive the message in under a minute.
Does Promptly replace mailed NOAs?
No. Clients will receive all regular mailed NOAs whether or not they choose to receive text messages.
What languages are available?
English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Russian, and Vietnamese.
What if clients refuse to participate?
No problem! This is an optional service. Please don't pressure them.
How can clients unsubscribe?
Clients can unsubscribe by replying STOP to any text message. Alternatively, you can unsubscribe a client on their behalf by removing the 'Text messages OK' special indicator in CalWIN.
What phone number will text messages come from?
HSA clients will only receive text messages from (415) 944-4301.
What if a client's phone is disconnected?
The client will stop receiving text messages. If a cell phone is disconnected, just remove the number from the Messages field on the Case Summary Details window and we won't send anymore messages.
Still need help? Please open a Github issue!