Mass Communications Benefit Every Organization
If you are thinking about investing in an alert notification system or have already implemented one as part of your emergency plan, you might be interested to know it can do much more than simply notify employees of impending danger. While many alert notifications may come in the form of an emergency, many may be of a less dire nature, yet still important.
The purpose of such a system is to reach all or a group of employees quickly, with real-time information, and on the channels they most use. Mass notifications have come a long way from email and phone trees. Today, alerts can be delivered via text message, push notifications, social media posts, and custom channels, such as two-way radio and broadcast systems, even simultaneously. Businesses, schools, and other organizations have never been so equipped to deliver urgent messaging rapidly across every available communication channel.
As increasingly more organizations are tasked with doing more with less and justifying technology investments with ROI data, eking out any cost savings can be difficult. One of the best ways to improve ROI is to extend the use of a technology beyond its original intent. Finding different use cases for new systems and applications is an excellent way to get the most bang for your buck.
Perhaps no sector is hit quite as hard as education when it comes to doing more with less. School districts, individual schools, and college campuses have suffered horrific tragedies from emergency situations, whether from tornadoes or mass shootings. Public outcry has placed tremendous pressure on these schools to do a better job at protecting students. Of course, schools want nothing more than to keep their students and staff safe, yet they are frequently strapped for budget to allocate towards such initiatives.
Organizations feel this same pressure when it comes to protecting its employees. As mass notification technology becomes the norm in most school districts and campuses, companies and other organizations are realizing the same benefits. Many times, however, investments in such technology has come at the sacrifice of other priorities. In order to gain the most value out of the investment, organizations are getting creative in how they use a notification alert system. This concept isn’t new. Campus Safety magazine, a leading school and hospital safety publication, recently said, “One way to realize a greater return on your mass notification technology investment is to use it for non-emergency announcements.”
Organizations can extend their dollars towards new functionality in these five highlighted use cases:
Use Case #1 – Mass Notifications and Reminders
Organizations often use their system to relay messages about road closings and weather-related issues, but also as an effective meeting, appointment, and event reminder tool. Any notification that needs to be delivered to a mass of people, whether an entire employee base or a group of employees segmented by geographical location, team, or job function, can benefit.
The reason the system works so well is that it eliminates the guesswork of knowing if your intended recipient not only received the message but actually understood it. Most mass notification systems include a measurement tool to see which channels were most effective, their open rates, and how recipients responded. This is powerful intel to help organizations continually improve both the message and the delivery.
Use Case #2 – Business Communications
Email may be king when it comes to internal communications, but email is often slow and there’s never a guarantee the intended recipients read the message. Alert notification systems can inform employees of emergencies, but also offer an alternative communication channel to engage with team members, departments, or the entire organization. Because the system works in real time and across multiple channels at once, there’s never a question of whether everyone is seeing the same message.
The system also enables users to quickly set up an impromptu conference call. Many conference call bridge lines require an email invite, lengthy bridge numbers, pin numbers, codes, and painful hold music. A mass communication system, however, eliminates all of the hassles while still connecting everyone who is available at that moment. Companies who use this feature of their system save time and are more productive.
Use Case #3 – Dispatching and Scheduling
If your company manages a remote and traveling workforce, or a workforce consisting of shift employees, you know how challenging it can be to make sure everyone is where they are supposed to be at the intended time. Schedule changes, urgent requests, traffic snarls, order cancellations, and other interruptions can have a ripple effect across the organization.
Mass communication software can be integrated with existing internal systems to eliminate most of the manual calls and cross-checking that slows dispatchers and schedulers. Instead, the system gets everyone on the same page, communicating in real-time so scheduling changes are a breeze for both the dispatcher/scheduler and the employees. The end result is more organized employees and happier customers.
Use Case #4 – Surveys and Member Groups
Schools often face bond elections, school board votes, redistricting, and other issues that garner plenty of parent and/or community involvement. A notification system is an effective way to connect staff and parents so both get a voice. Invitations to participate in a survey or be a part of a focus group can be sent via email, text message, push notification, or social media post, directing interested parties to a link, a community forum, or the survey itself.
Companies are using it in similar ways. They can easily poll employees about a number of topics. Whether it’s employee job satisfaction, ideas for the company holiday party, or simply everyone’s preference for lunch, a mass alert system is a quick, reliable way to get a response. Some companies link their system to their CRM and can then survey customers as well. Being that email only has an open rate of 21 percent, there’s a much better opportunity to attract participation in such a survey when the invitation is delivered across multiple channels.
Use Case #5 – Event Planning
Both schools and companies grapple with events. Fundraisers, athletic events, music and drama performances, dance recitals, orientations, parent nights, and other events are commonplace for education institutions. Companies deal with conferences, seminars, holiday events, galas, and VIP events, just to name a few. What both schools and companies have in common are that events often involve teams of people working together to pull it off.
These teams of people, both inside the organization and third parties, must find efficient ways to communicate, share ideas, and keep on track. An alert system connects all of the moving parts, ensuring everyone is working from the same playbook and has instant access to each other. Some people on the team may be working from their desktops, while others from laptops or mobile phones. It is critical everyone, no matter their channel preference, can collaborate as a team to get things done. Perhaps no other communication system is as comprehensive as a mass notification system.
How Do You ROI?
ROI isn’t always as simple as basic math. It requires you to look beyond hard numbers such as sales and revenue to more abstract, yet just as significant measurements. Productivity gains, employee and customer satisfaction, internal communication success, project management improvements, scheduling efficiencies, and the like are all important metrics that an alert notification system directly impacts. Simply put, it helps organizations of all sectors do more with less.
Consider how your people are communicating now. Would having a single, streamlined communication capability that reached all or a segment of your audience instantly across all channels be of value? Instead of thinking of an emergency alert system for emergencies only, imagine ways to repurpose it towards your own use cases. This highly-scalable, highly-flexible system may be just what you need to bring everyone together.