Imagine there is a sudden emergency at your place of business – whether it's a medical emergency, a threat to personal safety, or a biological hazard. Does your business have a service that allows you to reach out to your employees and customers to notify them of the incident?
More and more businesses are implementing an emergency alert service in an effort to reduce the amount of time it takes to notify all stakeholders when time is of the essence. The faster the notification time, the faster the response time.
Ultimately what’s most important is that contacts receive any notifications in the most time-efficient manner possible to ensure both awareness and safety, so there is no need to emphasize how important it is that any emergency alert service being used is able to send notifications out quickly and reliably.
Aside from just being able to send out timely alerts, there are additional features of an emergency alert service that may be important to consider before a solution is selected. The following list of features can assist with both the creation and sending of your alert notifications, as well as the post-send reporting aspects.
First and foremost, it is always beneficial to be able to send out an alert notification using as many communication channels as possible to help ensure that your contacts will receive it as soon as possible, especially in the event of an emergency.
The four primary communication channels your emergency alert service should support are email, SMS, voice, and fax. If the alert service can support additional methods such as social media or digital signage, that’s just a bonus!
However, one thing you don’t want is to have to switch back and forth between several user interfaces to set up your emergency notification for each channel. The ability to configure your messages for each communication method within the same interface will go a long way to speeding up the creation process, allowing you to send the notification to your contacts sooner, which is always ideal.
Intuitive setup process
You want to be sure the alert service you are using to create your emergency alerts is easy to learn how to use and intuitive so that users can create notifications efficiently whenever they need to without a lot of prior training.
This ties into the previous feature in that you don’t want your users to have to flip back and forth between various screens in order to set up notifications for various communication channels. A good rule of thumb is the fewer mouse clicks the setup process takes, the more efficient and intuitive the service will ultimately be.
The setup process should also follow a logical order – for example, choosing your contact set before actually creating the alert notification just doesn’t make much sense, does it? The next step in the process should always be able to be predicted before the user gets to it. This way they don’t have to stop and think about why they were directed to do something that doesn’t make a lot of sense, causing them to slow down the process.
Easy contact selection
Choosing the contact set you wish to receive the alert notification should be simple to do, and ideally the emergency alert service should provide users with several different methods they can use to select contacts based on their need and the urgency of the particular alert notification.
For example, in an emergency, it can be quite time consuming if you have to select contacts individually one at a time to send the notification to. To speed up the contact selection process, users should be able to select entire lists of contacts at once. On the other hand, sometimes it is beneficial to be able to choose a few select contacts to receive a more sensitive notification.
Other useful contact selection options provided by an emergency alert service could be the ability to choose notification recipients based on location or through the use of a conditional filter.
Confirm receipt of notification
The next beneficial feature your business should consider when selecting an emergency alert service is a mechanism you can enable to require recipients to indicate they have received your notification. During emergencies, you not only want to make sure that the alert notification was sent but that it was actually read by the recipient.
Depending on the communication channel used to send out the alert notification, this confirmation mechanism can be a confirmation link in an email; responding with a code via SMS; or pressing a number on a dial pad for a voice notification. When contacts perform the required confirmation action, your business should be able to view this information in the report for the notification and send follow-up notifications to those contacts who haven’t yet confirmed.
And speaking of send reports, the last beneficial feature of an emergency alert service your business should consider before making a purchase is a comprehensive reporting tool that allows users to view details regarding the sending of the notification.
Reports are an important tool for users of an alert service as they provide valuable information regarding the various aspects of the alert notification. The more information a report can provide users with, the better the users will be able to optimize future sends to ensure contacts receive the most useful information as soon as they need it.
At the very least, reports should capture basic details about the actual send of the notification – such as the number of messages that were sent out successfully based on the communication method used; which contacts were sent the notification and via which channel; as well as any confirmation responses received.
Is your business looking for an emergency alert service?
If you and your business are looking to implement an emergency alert service and you like what you just read, lucky for you SimplyCast has a mass notification tool that possesses all these features!
The Alerts tool is comprised of an intuitive interface that allows users to create notification using email, SMS, voice, and fax – all in one single user interface. Alerts has a variety of contact selection options and users can enable the Confirm Receipt of Alert functionality which will store the information in its comprehensive reporting interface.
If you would like a demo of the SimplyCast platform that includes the Alerts tool, don’t hesitate to click the button below!