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 among millennials.Email still has its place in the work environment for non-urgent messages and day-to-day communications, but is an email alert system really the most effective way to notify employees of an urgent situation? Likely not.
There are several problems with emails. A few include the volume we receive each day (an average of 88, per one study), the inevitable delay between sending and receiving, and the possibility the recipient won’t 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. But statistics show that only 30 percent actually get around to reading them. Few emails garner the same level of attention as a text alert or similar form of communication. Email alert systems are fine for run-of-the-mill announcements, but when safety is on the line, you need to have access to other communication channels.
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 utilize SMS, push notifications, voice calls, intranet, social media posts, and even custom channels. Using text alerts for business, in particular, can solve many of the problems with an email alert system.
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.
Sending the Right Message
When companies invest in a mass communication system, they are getting a powerful tool. Whether for emergency communications, operations, or day-to-day 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. Make sure you are only sending out relevant, targeted messaging. Otherwise, the system will turn into an email alert system–less effective and eventually ignored.
The best way to optimize a mass communication system is to use pre-built templates. These will help the user craft messages rapidly when a crisis occurs. 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. First, evaluate risk factors to understand where you 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. They can then give them instructions on how to operate offline until the servers are back up. If all you are using is an email alert system, your employees probably won’t even be able to receive the message if your servers are down.
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. Needless to say, an email alert system is useless for something as time-sensitive as logistics.
Example #4: Event Coordination
Whether your event is internal or external, 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 just a few examples of the ways you can use a mass communications system to connect with your audience. These communication systems are also measurable. They give you various metrics to improve your communication in the future. You can see what channels were most effective in delivering the message, message open rates, message response rates, and time to deliver the message.
Does your email alert system give you that information?
Today, people expect on-demand, instantaneous information. Isn’t it time you move from an email alert system to a robust, scalable platform? You’ll be 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. Email isn’t going anywhere, but your emergency communications deserve better.
Want to learn more about AlertMedia’s mass notification solution?