Note: Current functionality only supports text. Sending/receiving images is not currently supported, but adding that functionality is in the works.


Before we dive into the wonders of two-way client communication, we'll need to get a pinch of housekeeping out of the way.

In order to get 2-way SMS messaging set up, you'll need to make sure you have:

If you've already done those things, head to the messaging section overview.

Adding an SMS number

If you haven't already, you'll need to add an SMS number for your clinic. To do that, open your clinic settings (Admin > Clinic Settings > Edit Clinic Settings), and add a number at the bottom of the Advanced Settings Section (pink).

Note: Once you pick a number, you cannot change it. We'd recommend picking one with the same area code as your practice so your clients can recognize it more easily.

Add an SMS number here in the clinic settings section of Admin

Enabling the Messaging Permission

If you want a user to have access to the Shepherd's messaging functionality, they'll need to have the messaging permission attached to their role(s).

To do that, open up the roles section of Shepherd (Admin > Users > Roles), and select the role you want to add the messaging permission to.

With the role's permissions open, check the "Messaging" permission's box (pink) and press 'Save.'

All of the permissions you can attach to a role; messaging is in the pink box

Tip: you can also make a messaging role by clicking the 'Add New' button in Admin > Users > Roles. Then only select 'Messaging' when you pick the role's permissions, save it, and add the messaging-specific role to individual users.

Messaging Section Overview

Starting a new conversation

Once you've set up your clinic's SMS number and given the messaging permission to some users, you're ready to start sending messages. To get there, click 'Messaging' in the lefthand menu (light blue).

To start a new conversation, click the + button (pink).

The messaging section of Shepherd

Clicking the + button will open the 'Create New Chat' window.

From there, you'll be able to send a message to an existing client (orange). If they don't have a number attached to their profile, you can add one in by using the custom client phone field.

Once you've selected a client, click 'Create Chat' to start a new conversation.

A new chat

All open chats will populate in the lefthand section of the messaging section. You can click on a chat to open it.

Once you've started a new chat (or opened an existing one), you can send the client a message. To do that:

  1. Type your message in the message bubble at the bottom

  2. Press the send icon or 'Enter/Return' to send the message

The messaging section of Shepherd

Closing Conversations

Closing a conversation allows you to archive it. It won't be deleted, and you can always go back and access it if you need to.

To close a conversation:

  1. Open the conversation

  2. Click the 'Close Conversation' button on the right side of the page

Note: you can view closed conversations by clicking the 'Closed' tab on the left side of the messaging section (above your open conversations).

Make an appointment from a conversation

If you're getting in touch with a client (say a vaccination reminder) and they want to make an appointment, click the 'Make Appointment' icon on the right side of the screen.

This will generate a modal where you'll be able to add in all necessary appointment details.

Making an appointment from the messaging section

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