First, we don’t like to talk about other products a whole lot especially another startup. They work just as hard as we do and have the best of intentions. They also, we’re sure, have smart people and think what they are doing is the best possible solution when it comes to communication. We do get asked the question a lot though, about how we differ from the Remind product. So here are 10 things, as of today at least, that we think sets Class Messenger apart from Remind (and most other available communication options out there):
1. Intelligent Messaging - for us, intelligent messaging means when we can anticipate what messages need to be sent…and do it for our users. one example of this is when you launch an Order Form. we will automatically send follow up messages ONLY to those people who have not responded (we don’t just keep repeating it to everyone….that would be annoying).
2. Staffroom (previously Staff Messenger) - we built a ‘product within a product’ called Staffroom that’s specific to Teachers and Administrators communicating among themselves….not shoehorning our Class product. it’s much more robust than 1-to-1 chat…there are hundreds of options that do that and we’re sure you already know how to text each other. This creates a dynamic group messaging product complete with the ability to do things like: create group messages within the Staff on the fly, send Surveys and (in july) Meeting requests with RSVPs and auto reminders, solicit Volunteers for different roles you might need, block message threads if there’s a conversation going on you don’t need to hear. our point is, there is a LOT in this product…well beyond chat 1-to-1 conversation. Set one up today and be ready for the Fall.
3. Surveys - we recently rebuilt our Survey messaging to handle multiple questions in a single message so you can ditch Surveymonkey if you need to. in addition, we now let you edit an existing Survey, let whoever you want see the results (or hide them) and drill down into different survey answers to see who chose what. it’s actually pretty amazing.
4. We let Teachers add Parents and Students to a Class - although most people use our Sign Up feature (instead of typing in a bunch of info) we know for a fact, there a people who just don’t sign up. our service allows you to add them in so they can start getting your messages immediately. because if you don’t have 100% coverage, there’s a lot of rework.
5. Order Forms - if you need a quick read on how many cheese slices versus pepperoni you’ll need, you can create an Order Form in the app and everyone can respond with two clicks. even better, if you want to collect book orders, members can write in their own items and send them to you. we collect all the info and summarize it for the Teacher.
6. $60 million dollars in venture capital and a lot of t-shirts to give away - the main reason you know more about Remind is that they’ve done a great job with marketing and PR and reaching out to Teachers since they’ve got close to $60 million dollars in venture capital (we have $1.6 million). And let’s be fair, their product is a good broadcast tool for Teachers.
7. Two way messaging - our service has always been about ‘being in sync’ which means two way communication all the time. remind finally released a ‘chat’ product but we see that as a very inflexible approach. with Class Messenger, you can ‘reply to all’ for small group conversations and you don’t have to ‘request’ two way communication…it’s just there. we also allow for ‘block thread’ if there’s a conversation you don’t want to know about.
8. Parent to Parent messaging - parents can be a tremendous resource for the classroom and many are willing to pitch in. we allow the Teacher to turn on Parent to Parent messaging so Parents can communicate freely without sharing emails or phone numbers.
9. Roles & Responsibilities - we offer different roles such as Volunteers and Administrators as well as give them different tool sets (like Messaging Only or Full Authority) to meet the different needs of the classroom.
10. Meetings, Volunteers & Donations - we’re rebuilding these three features with a late July launch. when you ask for Volunteers now, it will ‘countdown’ from how many you need and stop taking volunteers once you reach your goal. for Donations, it will now allow people to write in their own items they are donating AND let everyone see the current list (so you don’t end up with 15 lemon pies). and for Meetings, you’ll be able to create ‘timeslots’ in a snap and members can snap them up like picking a seat on an airplane…once the slot is chosen, no one else can pick it…imagine that on Parent-Teacher interview night.
That’s some of the big differences we can think of but the biggest one is that as a company, we’ve got a history of developing the deepest, most useful feature set for educational messaging. We hope this summer and fall you can use this list and make the decision that’s right for you and your school. If you want a free t-shirt…sorry….(really…we wish we could…we love free shirts) but if you need any help or have questions just send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.