Hot off the press - it's a special edition of our MBE Release Notes!
Many Product, Dev, BA, QA and IT team members have been hard at work giving the Communication Module a complete overhaul - making it easier to use and more dynamic than ever before.
From new features (hello, text messaging!) to new filters, you won't want to miss this hefty update filled with "hot tips" that you can use to help improve your client's communication module experience.
As a reminder, you will still access the Communications Module in the same way by navigating to:
Tools > Setup > Client
- Next choose Client Communication Configuration from the Customer Service section.
- To configure a new communication job, click the “Setup Mass Communication Job” link.
- To view or approve an existing job, click the “View Mass Communication Jobs” link.
Because the Communication Module is so dynamic, it has been possible to send the same email to an employee several times. These new features are designed to ensure employees are getting only the intended communications and nothing extra:
- Hold for Secondary Approval
- Hold Duplicates
New Feature: Category
We have added a “Category” option to minimize the configuration requirements if all you’re trying to do is message employees without specifics about their enrollment such as a note to the entire company about a new employee handbook or the upcoming company picnic.
If all employees had the same open enrollment window, you could also use this to remind them about their upcoming Annual Enrollment.
If you are sending confirmation statements, you’ll want to use the “Enrollment Windows – multiple records per employee” category.
To increase the speed of the load times, the employee data will not load until after you have added some filters and clicked the new “Apply Criteria” button.
New Filters Include:
- Delivery Preference
Gone are the days of using reports to determine which employees should receive an email communication versus those that prefer print. The Communication Module will now support filtering of an employee’s delivery preference. However, you will still need to create individual mass communication jobs for each delivery preference type.
- Language Preference
We also moved some filters around! The three filters that relate to Enrollment Dates have been moved up and will automatically be expanded when the page loads.
Hot Tip! The best way to minimize how many of the same User IDs are generated for a single communication job is to use the Enrollment Date filters.
New Feature: Texting
To include Text/SMS as a communication preference option, go to:
Tools > Setup > Client
and click General Settings under the Content Maintenance section.
Set “Show SMS Phone Validation” to Yes.
Enabling this one field will present the option on both the “EComm At First Login” page and the “ECommunication in Enrollment” page (if that page is enabled, which is done by clicking “Show ECommunication Email in Enrollment”).
As before, the phone number will immediately be validated by texting a code to the number entered by the employee that must be entered prior to moving forward. The numbered entered will also be the one they use to receive their FSA balance if that applies to the client.
Once you have enabled texting as an option and an employee has selected it as their preferred communication method, it will then appear as a delivery preference for which you can filter when creating a new job.
Once you've chosen the employee group you would like to message via text and click the "create job" button, select "SMS" from the Communication Type drop-down.
As with Email and Print Communication Types, you have the opportunity to name the job you are creating.
Because formatting is not available via text, formatting options have been removed along with the Content Zones drop-down.
Currently, the size of the message you can create is limited to 420 characters (including spaces) and there is a helpful counter at the bottom of the message area so you know when you are close to or reach your limit. The maximum is the equivalent of three individual texts if the recipient's phone were to break them up.
Also, while you cannot send a hyperlinked word/phrase (such as a "click here"), you ARE able to type out a web address and a recipient's phone will likely convert it to a clickable link upon receipt.
New Feature: Hold for Secondary Approval
While previously you were able to choose which jobs would be held for secondary approval, all jobs now require approval from a user other than the creator of the job in order for them to be sent. This includes a “Release All” link so that all emails/texts that are not duplicates can be sent without individually selecting them.
Hot Tip! If you would only like to release the communication for the employees on the single page you are viewing, you can click the checkbox at the top and then click the @ symbol.
Being that large jobs can take a considerable amount of time to finish, if an end user, such as an employee, wants to send themselves their confirmation statement, we have updated how the “queue” works so that single items of this nature are giving a higher priority or worked into the queue so they are not waiting for the job to finish before receiving the single item (and subsequently clicking “send” several times thinking it may not be working).
New Feature: Hold Duplicates
If a job is created with duplicates and approved for release by a second reviewer, it will still hold any communication that is to be sent to:
- Two or more User IDs within the same job
- Two or more Admin IDs within the same job
- Two or more email addresses within the same job
- One company email address that matches another in the MBE system
A user will only be able to release one of the two (or more) duplicates within a job. In order to release a single communication that is being held because of a duplicate email address, one of the emails will have to be updated and then that communication can be released. If you would like to review only the duplicates contained within the job, you can click the red “Job Contains Duplicates” link on the top right-hand side.
To release a duplicate, you select the single communication you would like to send and then click the new “unlocked lock” icon. This icon will always appear (even if your job has no duplicates).
Hot Tip! If there are so many duplicates that releasing them one-by-one is too daunting, it may be worth revisiting the original job criteria and modifying those rules. Most commonly, updating the enrollment date fields will minimize the number of duplicates.
New Feature: One-Time Dynamic Job
It is important to understand the difference between a “static” and “dynamic” job when using the Communication Module.
- Static - after entering your criteria, you click the check boxes next to some of or all the User IDs and the button at the top changes to say “Create Job”
- Dynamic- after entering your criteria, you click the “Create Scheduled Job” button
A Static Job means you would only like to send it once and only to the exact group of employees you have selected regardless of when the messages are scheduled to be sent.
For example, if you select the list on Monday based on a specific set of criteria such to employees that have already completed their enrollment for a window that closes on Friday and then schedule the job to send on Thursday, only the people that had completed their enrollment on Monday will receive the message because you clicked the check boxes.
A Dynamic Job means you would like to choose the criteria of the group of employees you will be messaging, but the total number receiving a message could change depending on when the message is sent.
Using the same example as above, you select the list on Monday based on a specific set of criteria such to employees that have already completed their enrollment for a window that closes on Friday and then schedule the job to send on Thursday; a dynamic job will include any employees that complete their enrollment between the time you created the job to the time the job is sent because they meet all the “criteria” you selected on the left-hand side.
One-Time Dynamic Job:
A One-Time Dynamic Job means that you would like the job to include all employees that meet the criteria at the time the job runs instead of at the time you are creating the criteria, but you will only be sending it out once instead of on a recurring basis.
- Select the criteria for the job
- Click “Apply Criteria” and give a cursory review for duplicates to ensure you don’t need more criteria and you’re getting the population of employees you intended.
- Click “Create Scheduled Job”
- Select the Communication Type.
- Enter a Job Title.
- Enter your message.
- Enter the Date/Time you would like the job to begin sending.
- Enter the Notification Email that should receive the status emails about the job.
- Click “Create Job”
If you want to send a dynamic job more than once, you would click the box next to “Is This a Recurring Job” and the select the options you would like for your recurrence.
Hot Tip! When choosing a “Schedule End Date”, it is better to select the date 1 day prior to your next recurrence. For example, if you job regularly goes out on Tuesdays and you want the job to finish after 2 weeks, set your end date for the Monday of the third week.