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5 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Mass Notification System

5 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Mass Notification System

May 19, 2016 Posted by in Pockestop News, Mass Notification

Do you have the attitude “it won’t happen to us”? If so, you need to get ready, get a plan and get shopping.

I got a news alert on my phone last night about the EgyptAir Flight that disappeared from radar somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea and immediately, my heart sank. Tragic. What happened? I wondered. A malfunction? Human error? This morning, as the news reported the cause of the downed aircraft could likely be terrorism my heart sank even deeper.

From terrorism to tornadoes, there seems to be a constant trickle of high-profile emergency situations in the news nearly every week. We sit back and watch. We listen. And we think “how sad.” We may say a prayer or bow our heads in a moment of silence for the victims. Then, we move on with our day, on with our lives and subconsciously we think “that will never happen to me.”

But it could.

And it might.

Ask any of the family members who lost a loved one in an act of terrorism or in a flood or any unexpected situation and you will hear the same thing over and over—I didn’t think this could happen to us.

But there is hope.

Hope for a better outcome. How? It’s twofold: communication and preparedness. Implementing a communication plan complete with the tools available today for instantaneous, consistent and reliable messaging is imperative. Secondly, not letting your shiny new mass notification system collect dust is the best hedge you can have against a disaster. Use your system. Practice with it. Train your people consistently. Prepare. And prepare often. Don’t worry about a crisis—plan for one so you’re ready and confident you’ll know how to take care of your people if you’re presented with a worst case scenario.

Now, let’s back up a little. You’re ready to implement a mass notification system. Fantastic! As you shop, here are five things to consider when you get out into the market.

  1. Versatile.
    When you decide to implement a mass notification system you’re making an investment on behalf of the safety and well-being of your workforce and their families. Why not leverage your investment and put it to work for you during other situations as well? Consider a mass notification system that can provide sustained, superior performance during a crisis but also be your go-to system for day-to-day communication operations.
  2. Simple vs. Complicated.
    Remember those giant graphing calculators from your school days? So many buttons and so many menus! Pretty sure I mostly used it for basic math calculations. As you shop, be sure to select a mass notification system that has a simplistic user interface and is user friendly. Don’t select a system that takes twenty clicks to draft a message or has often used functions buried deep within a menu. In a crisis, nervous fingers may not be as steady and anxious minds may not be as sharp—keep that in mind.
  3. Integration.
    Consider a mass notification system that will work with your existing systems. Let me toot our own horn for a moment. The brand new RedFlag for Office 365 apps now allow users to create and send mass notification messages (via any channel including text, voice, email and social) directly from Outlook. Additionally, the RedFlag Subscriber Import is a simple app that enables a user to upload subscribers to a group without leaving Excel. RedFlag also integrates with Yammer.
  4. Functionality.
    Depending on your needs, you may want to consider a mass notification system with more or less functions or capabilities. As you shop, you’ll find the “no frills” system as well as the one with all the bells and whistles. Before you buy, understand what functions and capabilities your organization needs. Don’t spend money on functionality you’re not going to use.
  5. Reporting.
    The last thing I want you to consider as you shop for a mass notification system is reporting. Select a system that gives you details. Don’t just take a provider’s word for it, ask to see a sample report. You’ll want to gain insights on the success of message delivery by both channel and contact. You’ll also want to be able to track and have awareness of your broadcast history including the date, topic and creator of notification messages and, finally, you’ll want database visualization to understand preferences and gaps so you can continue to improve your communication plan.

Hope for the best, plan for the worst and you’ll be ready no matter what comes your way. For more information about the RedFlag Mass Notification system, RedFlag for Office 365 or our other communication solutions.

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