How to Make a Mass Notification System Work for You.
Almost every school has one. Most churches do, as do healthcare facilities and local governments. In fact, many businesses have them too. What is it? A Mass Notification System.
Why Not Just Use Emails for Everything?
Organizations realize that sending out emails to everybody is increasingly ineffective. Emails are frequently lost amidst the fast-growing number of emails people receive since the start of the COVID pandemic.
The other problem with emailing is that most email sending services struggle with their ability to keep emails out of the recipient’s Junk Mail Folder.
How About Just Moving to Texts?
Some organizations have decided that emails are simply not reliable enough. So they have moved their more critical communications to text messages. In some respects, texting helps as an adjunct to email for messages that need to reach people more reliably and in a more timely way – but then they run into new problems.
Most texting services are limited to 160 characters. It’s hard to get a full message into that small number of words. If using a service that uses a “long code” (comes from a 10-digit phone number), texts are randomly blocked by the cell phone carriers and often don’t come through. If using their texting service uses “short code” (a 5-digit originating phone number) then you, the sender, needs to orchestrate the opting-in of the recipient before they receive the message. That’s all you need – more data management work and recipient approval cycles just to get your messages out.
In addition, you need to send everybody emails AND texts because not everybody is opted in or using texts. So typically you have to use two different services to get one message out. Plus you have to them figure out how to load your email and phone lists with these services.
The other problem is that not everybody looks at texts frequently enough. In fact, we often see a demographic correlation between texting users and the age of the recipient. Some age groups seem to receive and handle texts well, but people who are younger tend towards apps and push notifications while people who are older often really need an automated phone call to reliably receive a message.
Is There A Better Way?
Yes. Not all messages are created equal. Some are very time sensitive, so the need to be delivered in a way that people are likely to receive quickly. Others are very in-depth and need to be easy to save for future reference, but not time-sensitive. Then there are the ones that are simply so important that the recipient needs to receive it in all formats.
The best communication solution has the following characteristics:
- It needs to excel in all types of message formats: email, text, voice, push notification, social media posting, and instant messaging.
- It must give the sender the ability to easily determine which combination of messages makes sense for the specific situation.
- It also needs to give the recipient a way of choosing how they would like to receive the messages.
- It allows you to send text messages of unlimited text.
- Finally, it has the ability to automate your phone and email address synchronization with your contact database.
So Where To Go From Here?
If you are doing only email or email plus text, especially if your emails show up in SPAM a lot and your texts are often attempted to those who are not opted in, it might be time to upgrade your communication tools. I think you will be pleasantly surprised that more feature rich, flexible, and reliable tools might actually cost you less – and allow you to deliver your important messages a lot more reliably.