What kinds of notifications should you send?

Resources-img-4-newsPlanning on implementing a mass notification system? Congratulations—that’s a smart move. Mass notification can solve communication challenges at virtually every level of an organization. You can improve your messaging around everything from building closures and safety alerts to shipment notifications or HR communications.

But no matter what you’re thinking about sending, use a mass notification tool long enough and you’ll find that all messages fall into three broad categories. Use the categories below to help in your planning—perhaps you’ll discover a use for mass notification that you hadn’t considered.

Notifications to share information

When you need to get the word out to a lot people at once, mass notification is the tool to use.

Sometimes the information may be important; other times it’s more a matter of formality. Often this is checkbox communication, when because of a commitment or some other accountability the sender is responsible for disseminating information. By broadcasting it the sender can check a box on a to-do list, whether or not the recipient ever reads the message. (Think of a company sending an updated price list to its 3,000 customers.)

If the notification is informal enough, there’s no need for an audit trail to confirm every recipient received or read the message. Therefore, with most notifications meant simply to share information, there’s typically no response or validation required from recipients.

And as is the case many times with informational messages, there isn’t a particularly critical timeframe in which recipients need to receive the message—meaning that less mission-critical channels such as email, one-way phone or one-way text message may safely be used for delivery.

Notifications to gather information

In other cases, a sender may wish to capture information or get answers from recipients.

Senders may need to know, for example, about the recipients’ ability to report to work, or may require an update on employee safety. The response may need to identify the location of recipients, or there may be some need for recipients to “put up their hands”—for example, to request emergency help, say that they can help others, join a conference call to discuss important issues, indicate that they’ve turned in important paperwork or just about any other information.

These kinds of notifications may or may not be urgent, but they do require a response—and one that might be more than a simple yes or no. Mass notification software can help here, too—especially if senders need to capture alternate phone numbers, time estimates to report to work, recorded voice responses or more.

Notifications to let you know something is being done

Other messages—while perhaps not extremely time-sensitive or critical—need an audit trail that verifies each recipient received the message.

These notifications require an option for the sender to request an answer or affirmation from the recipient—in other words, a two-way message with response required.

Urgency may vary here, so channels or devices used should be based on the type of information you need to send, the degree to which the message is critical, and when you would prefer that recipients got the notification.

Whichever kind you need, most mass notification systems will be able to help

Communication is not just important in time of crisis, but is vital to every aspect of business operations. And whether you’re alerting employees about IT outages or communicating critical details about emergency care, some simple thought beforehand about how you’ll need to use your mass notification system will go a long way toward keeping your communications running smoothly.

Learn more from the white paper Best Practices in Using a Notification System.