Need for emergency notifications
In an emergency situation, like a natural disaster or a pandemic like the Covid-19 situation, emergency text notifications play an important role. It is a known fact that texting or SMS has been used effectively in sms marketing and business text messaging. It is extremely useful in an emergency situation to notify people of important information. In an emergency,people need to be notified about developments like lockdowns, restrictions on opening of businesses, restrictions for citizens, etc.
Such emergency notifications are not used only by the government but even by private organizations. Governments can use group texting to send notifications to citizens with warning messages, lockdown news, and other such alerts. In a situation like the Corona pandemic, these messages would be very important. This situation also affects private organizations that may have to shut down during the lockdown or offer partial services. Such organizations need to inform employees, customers, and other stakeholders of the plans.
What notifications are to be sent?
Organizations need to send emergency text notifications for the following purposes:
1. As a part of text marketing - to continue to be in touch with customers and engage them even though the stores may be closed. This is important to promote online sales or to keep customers updated of when the stores will open.
2. To send messages to employees on lockdown restrictions, work for home processes, and related matters.
3. To schedule text message to send to all employees informing them of work shifts and duty timings, whether it is to be done from home or from the office store.
4. To update vendors on the status of operations to ensure that materials/products can be collected when required later.
Writing an effective emergency text notification
Organizations can send an online text message to customers informing them of emergency notifications. These text messages have a limitation of 140 characters and therefore need to be effectively framed. The following are some guidelines that can be kept in mind to write an effective emergency text notification:
1. Templates of messages can be sent with contents relating to lockdown, closure of office/stores, partial re-opening, etc. These templates can be prepared in advance. At the time of writing these template messages, they can be read and reviewed to ensure the information is correct and the communication is meaningful. These templates can then be used to send text messages.
2. The key principle of communication – keep it short and simple needs to be followed. SMS has to be short, the contents should be simple so that everyone can understand, and at the same time it must be effective. Write the message keeping in mind the person(s) who will receive it, this ensures it will be effective.
3. The message should be such that it should be read within 30 seconds and understood. It must be clear and unambiguous with no doubts. The recipient should not have to read the message repeatedly to understand what it means. Ideally, text messages should be written by the same personeach time, so that there is consistency in the content.
4. Opportunities for clarification should be given. A survey text message option can be used, where recipients are asked to reply with Y or N. This helps to understand if the message has been understood. Other keywords can be used by the recipients and replies sent for the appropriate keyword, so that clarifications can be given.
5. The message must be timely. Since it is an emergency notification, the key is to send it on time. Sending it late may not be useful. For instance, if you are opening your store for 2 hours in the morning, you need to send this information to your employees at least a day before so they can be prepared.
6. Ensure that the right message goes to the right recipient. Mixing up messages to customers and employees or sending a mass message to everyone may create confusion. The best practice is to have separate lists for employees, customers, and vendors. Messages can then be sent only to the appropriate recipients.
7. Your messages are being sent in an emergency. They must reassure the recipients that things are in control. Recheck your message to ensure that you do not create panic through the message you send.
8. You must not forget to follow privacy laws. Every text message you send must have an option for the recipient to stop receiving messages. This is mandatory as per law.
The guidelines given above can be considered while writing emergency notifications. Organizations can use mass text messaging to send messages to all their stakeholders to keep them updated during an emergency. Using text software and having a database of recipients will help them do this in an easy and effective way.