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Two-Way Messaging Changes the State of Critical Communications

November 15, 2016

With the never-ending array of communication solutions and corresponding features being released on a regular basis, it can become difficult to know what tools are necessary when creating or updating an emergency communications plan. An effective two-way messaging feature offers a significant advantage to clients who desire the ability to reach and communicate with contacts (internal or external) to receive real-time responses and data. This capability can be crucial when you need to communicate and fulfill staffing requirements, particularly during an emergency event.

Providers who offer this feature should not use antiquated technology like two-way SMS, which poses a threat to security, as well as delivery failures, and difficulty in collecting statistics. To further ensure that our critical communication solutions are best in breed, ECN has established two-way messaging for its clients in a unique fashion which sets it apart from other notification solutions available on the market.  Instead of using two-way Short Message Service (SMS) texts, which relies on carriers to touch and pass along both the initial message and the reply; we use a shortened URL to directly capture and report responses on a custom web form – saving response time and expenses.

ECN’s approach to two-way messaging incorporates advanced technologies which provide a unique short code to each client. This adds an additional level of security and even allows each user to customize certain aspects of the web page directly through the system’s interface. With ECN’s Two-Way Messaging feature, authorized users can enable recipients to respond to their request with a return message – either through a simple survey response or a detailed text message — directly to the web-based response center. The system tracks and displays all recipient responses and non-responses on the statistics page. Key information provided to decision makers includes when the message was delivered, who has opened the message, what device type was utilized, and the time stamp of the actual response. If a text response has been enabled, this information is also captured and will appear within the detailed analytics.

So just how can you incorporate this feature into your strategic crisis communications plan? The use cases of two-way messaging are virtually unlimited. Public safety agencies using CodeRED can receive live responses from their first responder teams to get onsite situational awareness updates and determine the estimated time of arrival for additional personnel. Business team leaders using SmartNotice can track if any employees are unaccounted for during a company-wide evacuation or drill. Hospital administrators can issue a staff recall requesting a specific number of personnel for an upcoming shift and monitor the results. The local police chief may need to add three additional patrol units to his shift within the next hour. The list goes on and on.

The key to any system or feature of a system is making sure system users are trained and ready to use such powerful tools at a moment’s notice. ECN’s fully-staffed team of client support specialists is always available to provide live training, help create and send your notification, and to answer any questions you may have.

 

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