How to Improve Mass Notification Response Rates, Part I

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Readers are fickle. You could write the best notification in the history of notification, but it still wouldn’t guarantee anyone would respond. Many factors influence the delivery and acceptance of your messages, and getting the response rate you need is even trickier.

What do we mean by response rate? Simply the number of targeted recipients who successfully receive a notification and then respond appropriately. And what you’ll find when you first introduce a mass notification system to your organization—and indeed, sometimes long after—is that your response rate is underwhelming.

Does it matter? For some messages, a response isn’t necessary; it’s often enough to know you’re your information has been delivered, and that your recipients had the opportunity to read or listen to the information you shared.

But keep this in mind if you’re deciding whether or not to ask for responses—randomly requiring response options on some notifications, but not others, can be confusing.

As a best practice, always ask for a response from your recipients, even if it’s just to make them acknowledge receipt of the message. Why? Recipients will be more inclined to read or listen to your entire message if they know they need to respond.

Plus, if recipients are trained to always reply, then when that reply is critical they’ll be more likely to automatically get back to you.

So… with expectations around mandatory replies in place, here are the first two of several ways to improve response ratesand consequently increase the success of your mass notification solution. (Others will be detailed in future blog posts.)

1. Use the same process every time

By following the same steps for all messages, you’ll make the job of writing them easier for yourself, and reduce the chance of forgetting a critical piece of the content, such as the call to action.

At the same time, you’ll train your recipients on what to expect, and reinforce how to digest and respond to your message.

Aim for consistency in the following areas:

  • Always confirm your recipients
  • Always confirm recipient responses
  • Use a similar introductory message
  • Include the same type of information when possible (for example, what the situation is; what is needed from recipients; and when further information can be expected.)

2. Give clear indication of your message’s purpose

You’ll get the best response if you use a consistent subject line or introduction for all communications, one that quickly explains why the message was sent and what to do next. (Hint: respond!)

Your subject should be clear and concise; state the issue and the action required. For instance: “Critical outage today at 17:00. Response required.”

More next time

In the next post in this series, we’ll look at more ways of increasing your response rate. Learn more from the white paper, Best Practices in Using a Notification System.

Posted with permission from MIR3

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