To date, it is estimated that there are more than 50 online sellers of mass notification systems. With the ever-increasing number of vendors selling mass notification programs, it can be quite overwhelming to choose just one system. How to Choose a Mass Notification System Provider?
Not all notification systems are created the same way. They vary in mode, price, functionality, and even user experience. If you are looking for a mass notification solution for your organization, you must find a vendor that will fulfill all your notification and communication needs. Regardless of the kind of organization you run, here are some factors that bear consideration to ensure that the service your mass notification system provider offers is right for you.
The factors that you need to keep in mind when searching for the right mass notification system
1. Notification Hub
When choosing software that will manage the communication needs of a company, a business should carefully look for an established brand that can offer multiple options for notifications. Knowing that each employee has many things on their plate, the communication software should find ways to get their attention for important mass notifications.
Thankfully, technology can offer various ways to get across important advisories. It can come in the form of screensavers, e-mail notifications, mobile alerts, and desktop pop-up windows that can be customized in a way that it will not close without being read.
Another way in which reliable communication software can improve the efficiency of a business is when it can minimize or eradicate the need to troubleshoot problems with the help desk. How to Choose a Mass Notification System Provider? In cases of emergency, an effective notification system can instantly alert employees. This can also help coordinate scheduled outages for maintenance. The important factor is that the entire organization can be informed immediately no matter what they are doing or where they are within the office premises.
There will be times when the online connectivity of a business will suffer problems. In cases when e-mail correspondences can be hard to come by, the pop-up notifications of an efficient communication software can help act as a backup communication channel.
2. Information Loss and Feedback, How to Choose a Mass Notification System Provider?
It may be an overlooked aspect in any workplace but information loss or miscommunication can actually cause unnecessary confusion, anxiety, and stress among employees. It can hamper their efficiency and even morale. A reliable communication infrastructure can help increase the awareness of the employees about events and milestones in the company.
This is a two-way street as well. Employees can provide instant feedback to the company and not just receive message notifications. There are features that enable a centralized reception of data from employees that can be used to quickly generate reports for reference.
With the use of mass notifications, a company can also swiftly create and send out surveys for employees on important topics for the business. If a digital communication system has an intuitive interface, employees can trust that they can operate it without any elaborate training.
And that is the key to any successful digital infrastructure, it must be user-friendly with its web interface. Sending and composing messages and advisories should not be rocket science. With just a click of a button, notifications can be sent without any delays or difficulties. Of course for the protection of the company, reliable software should have a clear management hierarchy from system administrators to content publishers. Access rights are important so that a business cannot be easily compromised.
Ease of use is very vital in any dependable digital infrastructure. Message templates should be readily available for various contingencies and scenarios within the company. Scheduling patterns can also be established to help facilitate the flow of communications.
3. Seamless Integration with the Daily Grind
An efficient communication platform should not hamper the day-to-day operations of a business and should add to its output improvement. There should be options that let mass notifications close automatically after confirmation that it has been read. In times when only a particular department should read an advisory, the software should also be able to target specific IP groups with their intended message.
There should also be flexibility with the way messages are created so they can adapt to various needs of the business.
Moreover, the software should also require low maintenance. It must be lightweight within the facility and should not consume immense digital resources. It can also help establish stability within the company by continuously checking for online connectivity and the optimized performance of the server. When problems arise, the software should inform the company with prompt alerts.
4. Speed of message or notification delivery, How to Choose a Mass Notification System Provider?
The most common way of sending notifications at present is through text messaging or SMS, due to the number of individuals who own cellphones and smartphones. Ideally, a notification service provider can send as many as 48,000 text messages in less than a minute.
Notification providers generally use two ways of sending notification messages – through email or shortcode. Sending text messages through email is not very ideal, since bulk sending can cause the mobile carrier to consider your message as spam and block it altogether.
Using shortcodes is the more universally accepted method of sending SMS, especially because of its security features. However, shortcodes can be shared – meaning several services can use the same phone numbers, which can put the integrity of your notification services at a compromise. Therefore, you need to look for a provider that uses a dedicated short code, or its own specific number for sending your alerts.
5. Modes of delivering the message
While SMS is the most popular way of delivering notification messages, not everyone in the organization will be reachable by text message all the time. So another factor you need to consider is the coverage of message delivery used by the vendor. Does your provider offer outdoor warning systems, webpages, digital signage, and the like?
Some communities make do with a basic mass notification system, with the belief that more complex systems will be expensive and difficult to implement. However, there are vendors that offer multimodal communication functionality with ease and low costs. You only need to do your homework and find out as much as you can about your different options before you decide on deploying a system.
6. Vendor support, How to Choose a Mass Notification System Provider?
Notification solutions must generally be easy to use, but regardless of this, the level of support that your provider will give before and after your purchase of the system must also be taken into account. Make sure to ask questions regarding the setup and the maintenance of the system. The mark of a good vendor is one who does not just train you on the system functions but also shares best practices and recommends improvements for your system.
7. Vendor experience
Notification solutions are very popular these days, so it is no surprise that everyone wants to be a provider. Sure enough, you do not want to be the guinea pig. So invest in a vendor that has been in the industry long enough to have a comprehensive experience in emergency services and knows exactly what mass notification really is.
Tips in Selecting Mass Notifications Software
When shopping for a notification system it is important that companies get more information than the details listed in a vendor’s marketing collaterals. The use of jargon or buzz words can entice companies to buy a specific mass notifications software, only to end up disappointed with the product itself.
By following these five tips, you are taking a step closer to getting the right mass notifications product for your business.
1. Evaluate your company’s needs
Whether you own the company or in charge of procuring the mass notification alert system, you must ask yourself what are the company’s needs before even meeting any mass notification system vendor.
Does your company have more field-based workers than office-based personnel? If that’s the case, you might want to opt for a text-based mass notification system. Or you can buy software that facilitates both email and text alerts.
2. Consider analyst reports
There are many analyst reports online that break down the strengths and weaknesses of many mass notification programs. More often than not, you’ll get a very good idea of what you can expect from alerts programs by reading analyst reports.
But keep in mind though that certain features may not be discussed in these reports. Thus you should ask the vendor representative about other features during the initial meeting.
3. Word of mouth
One way to ensure that you will get the right mass alert system is to ask around. Find what other firms in your field are using. You can research on the level of satisfaction of these firms, or if they experienced any problem with the system they’re using.
4. Ask about the vendor’s clients
During the initial meeting, find out if the vendor you’re talking with has provided the same solution to large, well-known companies. Don’t be overwhelmed by a vendor that gives you a long list of clients. You should be more particular about the clients’ names. Most of the time, recognizable and respected brands or firms devote more time and resources in shopping for a mass notification program.
Thus, when you purchase software from a vendor with well-known clients, you have the peace of mind knowing that you bought from an entity that was trusted by other reputable firms.
Like in any other investment, the price is an important consideration. For some companies, it is even the deal breaker. Ask for price quotes including the features integrated into the product. Then make a decision.
While mass notification systems can be a bit pricey for smaller firms, you should also realize that these products are worth the investment because they can save lives and minimize disruptions in your business.