The single best way to get the most out of your mass notification solution is to train your team. Most people assume this means only the people that actually craft and initiate alerts, but it’s a great idea to train your recipients as well.
Since most people want to know what’s in it for them, be sure frame your discussion in ways matter to them, like safety, convenience, comfort, protection, etc. If you can show them how the system will benefit them and their families as well as the organization, your recipients will respond more favorably.
Your initiators need to thoroughly understand how to use the system and when. They need to have a clear path of authority and escalation and should know who else is authorized to send notifications. When you implement an automated notification system, you should define a set of policies and requirements to make sure that all messages are consistent (i.e., each notifications should identify the sender and the purpose of the message, have concise clear instruction, be delivered via various devices and have a clear call to action).
To train recipients, start by explaining why you decided to implement a mass notification solution (remember to couch this in terms that matter to your audience). Tell them how to recognize a notification from the system; this works best if you choose a standard number to display with each alert. Show them how to retrieve messages and how to respond, and explain why their response is important. Even when a response is not necessary, it’s smart to encourage a response for every alert so that message recipients become accustomed and responses become a natural reaction to an alert. Some people will balk at the beginning because they don’t want to do it wrong; be sure show them what happens if they make a mistake and must change a response. As some of them may be invited to join an automated conference bridge, tell them how that works as well.
Mass notification systems today are designed to be simple, and people are becoming more accustomed to receiving automated calls. Yet without proper training, your recipients may not understand the importance of the alert and might not be consistent in their response. Take these simple steps and you stand the best chance of getting all you can from your system.
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