How to improve mass notification response, part III

Keys vintageIn previous posts on this subject we discussed message consistency and clarity, and examined how removing the element of surprise around senders and structures can increase response to mass notification.

In this final post, we’ll look at two more ways to encourage response.

Balance consistency with customization

As we’ve seen already in this series, consistency and standardization can help—but not if it’s a straight-jacket that keeps you from accomplishing what you need to do with your messages.

For this reason, any robust mass notification solution should allow you to customize your messages to meet your requirements and reflect your culture.

Every enterprise uses notification for its own reasons. For some, it’s just in case of emergency. Other organizations use notification as a multi-purpose communication tool that may be adapted by various departments, business units, etc., as a way to share information of any stripe. That kind of flexibility, however, requires a balancing act if it’s to be successful—even as you change from message to message, stay consistent when you can.

For example, always follow the same pattern when constructing notifications, even though your messages may be very different.

Ask for the same thing of your users every time; if you sometimes need to verify a recipient’s identity before delivering the message, then always verify your recipients.

And use consistent directions—if it’s “press one to hear your message” and “press two to join a conference bridge,” you’ll only create confusion if those change from message to message. You’ll see better response rates, in other words, if every team in the organization uses the same approach.

Train your team

A key element in improving response rates is training—if you explain the purpose and value of notification to your recipients before you send your first message, they’ll respond more favorably when they start to receive them.

Here’s what to cover in training:

  • Why a notification solution is being implemented in your organization
  • What the value is to the recipients
  • How to recognize a notification from the system
  • Whether or not a standard phone number will be displayed for calls
  • How to retrieve messages
  • How to respond, and what happens if you do it wrong and must change your response
  • How to join a conference bridge if requested

Wondering why you need to train recipients? After all, notification systems are simple—and today’s employees have become more accustomed to automated calls, emails and texts.

Without proper training, though, your recipients may not understand the importance of alerts they receive—and might not know what to do when they get one.

It’s important, of course, to train the initiators that will be creating and launching notifications. These staff members will need to thoroughly understand what policies and requirements you’ve defined to ensure consistency and maximize your response rates.

But for maximum effect and response, train your recipients as well.

Next steps

If you’ve enjoyed reading this series, you can learn more from the white paper, Best Practices in Using a Notification System.