The Problem with Emails
Emails. How many do you get each day? How often do you check them? When I say “check,” I mean read. The average time spent reading an email is 11.1 seconds and only five seconds for a text. With instant communications available via mass text alerts, instant messaging, and social media, email is rapidly losing its charm, particularly amongst millennials.Email still has its place in the work environment for non-urgent messages and regular communications with vendors, customers or other businesses, but is it really the most effective way to notify employees of an urgent situation? Likely not.
There are several problems with emails, such as the sheer number of them we receive each day, (an average of 88, per one study), sending and receiving isn’t always instantaneous, and there is no guarantee the receiver will take the time to open and read it. If there is a network outage, you may never get your message across as it sits in your outbox indefinitely.
When it comes to emergencies, emails simply do not convey a sense of urgency. People assume they can get to an email whenever they get the chance, and only 30 percent of them ever get read. Few emails garner the same level of attention as a text alert or similar form of communication.
Crossing Every Channel
For emergencies, it is critical to reach your audience as quickly as possible and ensure each person actually received the message. The best way to do this is via an emergency communication system that can relay messages across multiple channels simultaneously or on-demand. These channels include email, but also involve SMS texts, push notifications, voice calls, intranet updates, social media posts and even custom channels.
The case for multi-modal communications is becoming stronger every day. People are checking their phones between 46-74 times per day, compared to nearly 30 percent of people checking their email five or fewer times a day. This makes the mobile phone/smartphone the most logical device to target when you’re trying to determine the best delivery method for your communications.
Sending the Right Message
When companies invest in a mass communication system, they are getting a powerful tool to reach employees across multiple channels instantly. Whether for emergency communications, operations, or even communications with various audiences, mass notification software is the ideal tool to connect any audience to important events as they happen.
Once you have your mass communication system in place, however, the work isn’t finished. The power is realized in the message itself. Companies must use their system with care, sending out only relevant, targeted messaging to the right audience at the right time. Otherwise, the system will become like email, less effective and eventually ignored.
The best way to optimize a mass communication system is to use pre-built templates that help the user craft messages in advance of an event as well as during a crisis. Designated administrators can utilize the templates to craft messages, segment the audience population, and select the ideal channel(s). This planning process will save precious time in an emergency and ensure messages been thoughtfully developed instead of haphazardly sent.
Example #1: Emergency
We have often talked about how to design an effective emergency communication plan using mass communication software. One of the first things companies must do is evaluate their risk factors to understand where they may need to prepare. Coastal companies, for instance, can design messages to employees regarding a hurricane evacuation and post-hurricane recovery instructions, well ahead of any hurricane. Having this hurricane email template ready to go means the messages can be sent immediately when the threat is real, rather than trying to get the information together as the hurricane quickly approaches.
Example #2: Business Impacts
One of the biggest threats to any company isn’t a natural disaster but a downed server. Business can come to a halt when computer systems cannot be used. The mass communication system will enable companies to provide timely notifications to affected employees via their mobile devices and give them instructions on how to operate offline until the servers are back up.
Example #3: Logistics
Companies with fleets use mass communication software to effectively communicate with drivers and dock personnel to keep everyone informed in real time. The synchronization of delivery truck arrivals can be automated, saving costs and effort.
Example #4: Event Coordination
Whether your event is internal or involves your customers and partners, a mass communication system will ensure your audience receives timely messages about the event. Use the templates to create and send effective marketing communications, event reminders, driving or parking instructions, and even welcome messages when guests arrive.
These are but a few examples of the various ways a mass communications system can be used to connect with your audience in a more effective, measurable way. It’s measurable in that this system makes it easy to gauge the success of your messages – what channels were most effective in delivering the message, message open rates, message response rates, and time to deliver the message.
Do your emails give you that information?
In today’s on-demand, instantaneous expectations around receiving information, isn’t it time you move from antiquated emails to a robust, scalable platform that is guaranteed to reach more people with less effort and time? If you haven’t seen what a mass communication system can do for your company, take the time to research your options. Your email isn’t going anywhere, but your emergency communications deserve better.