Which are the best devices to target with mass notification?

Recommended stampIf you’re wondering about the best device to target with your notification, the answer is easy. Target the devices most likely to get the response you want. This means targeting more than just a single device, because circumstances might mean that delivery route is unavailable. Targeting home phones during business hours won’t be as effective as targeting office phones and cell phones. If your people are more likely to respond to SMS, then use SMS. If your system allows for it, let your contacts prioritize device use themselves. For instance, some users may opt to have home phones off at night but allow for cell calls and SMS. Some may opt for SMS during business hours in order to avoid meeting interruptions, etc.

A best practice is to use as many modalities as you can to reach your recipients. If your choice of devices is limited or you can’t let recipients set their own priorities, be sure that limitation is included in your training so recipients know to pay attention to the designated device path.

Challenges and limitations of SMS notification

With the proliferation of smart phones in today’s environment, it’s easy to think of recipients as always being a simple text message (SMS) away. In widespread regional events, cellular service is often limited, and capacity demands can limit outbound calls to phones. In such a situation, SMS is often an alternate mode of communication.

Although SMS seems to becoming the preferred way of alerting people, if you’re targeting notifications across international boundaries, you may find that SMS comes with challenges. Consider the following limitations:

  • SMS is intended to be a Short Message Service. That usually means each message is limited to approximately 180 characters. Sometimes this limitation hampers meaningful communication.
  • It’s not the notification system you choose, but rather the wireless carrier that controls the length of the SMS message. And if they message exceeds the carrier’s character limitation, it’s up to the carrier to truncate, break up or otherwise size the message appropriately.
  • Each individual carrier sets the rules that they follow for identification of spam or high-volume messaging and can block delivery at their discretion.
  • A single message, sent through multiple carriers, might ultimately be presented to users in different fashions, timings, etc.
  • Rules and regulations can vary by country and by carrier
  • While establishing short codes and long codes may help address these challenges, they are not always as reliable as needed with emergency notifications

This doesn’t mean you need to stop using SMS as a mode for important message delivery, but if you’re that every mode of communication has strengths and weaknesses, you’ll make the wise choice. Learn more from the white paper, Best Practices in Using a Notification System.

Looking for the best emergency notification system? Download the Automated Notification System RFP Template.