How to use Sematime USSD Code to Engage Parents
At Sematime, we are on a mission to help any school anywhere engage parents through the mobile phone. There are four ways or channels that a school can use to engage parents: bulk SMS, *384*100#, website portals and the mobile application. Today, we will look at the *384*100# channel.
This channel is also known as the ShuleYanguMkononi which provides an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code. With this code parents can self-service themselves by dialing *384*100# to access exam results, fee balances and upcoming events in real time without visiting/calling the school. This provides a simple way of obtaining current information from the school, thereby reducing inquiries incoming calls by 95%.
Getting the USSD Code for your School
To get this self-service channel working for your school only requires that you have registered for a premium account with Sematime. This premium account gives you features like;
- Unlimited Bulk Sms
- Parents Portal
- Discussions Self-responsive platforms
- Mobile App (which can be customized)
- Support of Secondary Numbers
- Website Widgets
Once you get your Premium account ready and running, these entire features become active. Parents will now get to use the channels only if you have added their contacts in the system. Refer to contacts management article for reference on how to add contacts. After adding their contacts then everything is automated and they can now access exams results, fee balances/structure, upcoming events etc.
Note that the parents cannot get to access contents like; exams results, fees etc. if the content had not been uploaded in the first place. On our blog, you should see the different tutorial article that should help in updating some of these contents.
USSD Code Menu
The ussd code has several menu options which mainly involve student’s information and other school details. Let’s look at how the menu looks like;
- Exams Results – when the parent dials *384*100# the first thing they get is exams results. By replying with 1 they will get a series of the exams results that you as a school have been uploading.
- Fees Balance – this is the second option on the menu. Here the parents gets to know their current fees status and they can even go further and get an option on how to pay. The how to pay option provides them with the bank account details of the school.
- Upcoming Events – the third option providing parents with a school calendar. This keeps them updated on any upcoming events in the school making sure they don’t miss out on any. You can even send them reminders about this.
- Fee Structure – by uploading the fee structure in the system this is one of the platforms parents will find it on. They won’t have to keep coming/calling the school to ask for the fee structure. They are even given the total amount to be paid in a year helping them in better budgeting.
- Back-2- School Shopping – Parents can shop here for their student’s school shopping. They only need to buy and we deliver to the school. This helps in reducing contraband goods within the school.
- School Fees Loan – One of the newest options on the menu. Since some parents are not able to pay fees in time hence students can stay home long and miss classes. The parent can offset some fee payment by taking this loan which is sent directly to the bank. So this goes a long way in helping the student stay in the school.
The USSD code has several features which makes it very convenient and easy to use. Here are some of them;
- Works on all Phones – Whether the parent is using a smart-phone or a mulika mwizi (feature phone), it just works.
- Free for Parents – Parents do not incur any charges whenever they dial the USSD code.
- Instant & interactive – There are no delays in retrieving student information. Parents get instant responses in real-time.
- Memorable – Our USSD code, *384*100# is simple and easy to remember. All the schools use the same code.
- Multiple Child Support – If a parent has multiple students in the same school, Sematime will prompt him/her to choose the student whose information they want to access.
- Privacy & Security – All parents must be registered by the school before they access this service. Secondly, parents can only access their daughter or son information.
This channel goes a long way in helping maintain better parental engagement considering it’s even a free platform. So let’s get those contents updated thereby keeping the parents always updated. Remember our communication lines are always open. For calls it’s 0706129100 and for email it’s email@example.com.