Franklin Mint FCU Improves Reliability With AlertMedia
Looking for a reliable mass notification system, Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union switched to AlertMedia. Learn how AlertMedia was able to help.
Interview with John Hargrove, CIO and VP of IT for Franklin Federal Union
Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union has provided financial products and services to members in the greater Philadelphia region and beyond since 1970. FMFCU houses over $1 billion in assets. This make them the largest financial institution in Delaware County and the 10th largest in Pennsylvania. With 375 employees spread across 40 locations—many of them freestanding branch buildings—FMFCU needs a reliable mass notification system.
To learn more about the company’s internal communication policies and procedures, we recently spoke with John Hargrove, the company’s CIO and VP of IT, who has been with the credit union for nearly 30 years.
How did you choose the AlertMedia platform?
John: Before we began using AlertMedia for critical communications, we were using another provider. We had a situation where we sent out a mobile communication but half of our employees didn’t receive the message because the provider had an unplanned outage. Once you lose confidence in your emergency communications solution provider, you need to find a new one, which is what we did.
I evaluated several emergency notification systems before choosing AlertMedia. The product is very easy to use and intuitive. Within 15 minutes of receiving my login, I had all 375 employees uploaded, and I was sending test messages to our employee base within seconds. Our original provider took weeks to figure out why a subset of our users was not receiving mobile messages. During that time, several winter storms hit our area. Had we stayed with our old provider and not selected AlertMedia, we would’ve had to go back to using a call tree to communicate with employees.
What impressed you the most about the AlertMedia platform?
John: The AlertMedia platform offers a robust, comprehensive portal, and an easy-to-use mobile app. With the emergency notification app, I can do everything I need. When evaluating this type of software, you think you’re going to be at your desk when an emergency happens and have the luxury of working off your desktop machine, but the reality is—that’s often not the case. If I get a phone call at 3:00 a.m. about a situation and I need to let my employees know immediately, I need the flexibility to send out alerts using my cell phone.
How do you use the AlertMedia platform?
John: We invested in an emergency communications system because we wanted to be prepared for a disaster scenario, but we use it most often for inclement weather. We’re based outside of Philadelphia and we experience plenty of snowstorms and icy weather.
How have you used the AlertMedia emergency communications platform before/during/after severe weather?
John: When bad weather is approaching, we use the system to tell employees that we may be delayed or closed. Typically, I will get an early-morning call from our management team instructing me to alert our employees about office closures or delayed openings. I simply update my existing weather template in AlertMedia with specifics and then send the communication to all employees. I prefer to use multiple channels when I send out a weather message, so I will send it to their cell phone, home phone, text, and office phone to ensure the message is received.
In addition to sending a message to multiple channels simultaneously, one of the great features of AlertMedia is two-way communication. When an employee receives a message, they can respond with questions or updates. We can answer clarifying questions, get updates from the employee directly on their personal situation, or, provide additional resources to help them get out of a situation. Last winter, I probably used the system 10 times to communicate with employees about severe weather closures.
Seems like AlertMedia really helped with the severe weather. Are there other examples of when you’ve utilized the AlertMedia platform to communicate about critical events?
John: We have a core conversion coming up this summer and the AlertMedia communication system is going to play a large role in it. We will use AlertMedia to keep employees informed of what’s taking place and when and where they need to be. We have already set up the various teams within the system, which will allow us to provide them with updates and contact them with information specific to their responsibilities. For example, an employee might be required to work a shift in the middle of the night and AlertMedia will help us communicate these types of requirements. Being able to communicate quickly and easily with all the teams involved via AlertMedia will be a key factor in our success because everyone will be on the same page at all times.
We’ve also added other administrators to the AlertMedia platform, so people can send messages when I’m unavailable. While I’m responsible for disseminating information to employees about disasters and inclement weather, some of my colleagues are responsible for risk management, building security, and facilities. They can use the platform to alert employees if we have an active shooter or other workplace violence taking place.
FMFCU is not alone in upgrading their unreliable communication technologies to a more robust, reliable mass notification system. Thousands of businesses find that the ability to communicate on multiple channels across multiple devices, individually or simultaneously, drastically speeds communications and allows them to keep their people safe and informed.
For John, having a reliable mass notification system that is ready to go 24/7/365 was a must-have. When his old provider couldn’t meet his needs, FMFCU made the switch to AlertMedia.