Emergency situations, albeit caused by natural disasters or events related to the activity of a business or institution, are difficult to manage, especially if proper precautionary measures are not taken in advance. Without an emergency notification software and crisis communication strategies tailored to both the needs of individuals and professional entities, a crisis can end up causing a significant amount of damage. From endangering the health and safety of employees, to bankruptcy, the risks to which a company is exposed in the event of an emergency can only be adverted if taken into consideration before it’s too late.
With every technological advancement, crisis management became more and more adaptable, and companies that knew how to tailor their strategies accordingly are now benefiting what it means to have less worries in the event of a crisis. Yet not everyone takes the right precautionary measures, nor do they handle the pre and after emergency communications in operational ways. Given the amount of software and solutions available, it is understandable that the industry can be overwhelming, which is why today we are going to tackle one of the most controversial topics in terms of crisis communication: email.
The Role of Email in Emergency Communications
With the appearance of email communication, companies and institutions found a way to better organize their internal and crisis communications, but also a channel of engaging with the outside world. If before, most businesses relied on phone and handwritten documents, computers, the internet, and emails offer a simpler and more effective solution to the administrative activities of a company. Yet in terms of emergency communications, the matter of finding the perfect solution goes beyond finding something that can replace phone calls or burdening paperwork.
Using email in an emergency situation might seem as an alternative to other more traditional means of communication, but the truth is that in today’s digitally-driven world, where other modern and cost-effective solutions are available, email should only be kept for report and maintenance purposes. But what makes email so unfit for alerts and crisis communications?
Why Email is a Horrible Substitute for Alert Notification Software
All emergency-related events and hazards, regardless of their nature or of the sector they are affecting, have one thing in common: urgency. Therefore, handling an urgent situation by sending alerts and information to employees and people involved via email can lead to a disaster if those emails aren’t received, read, and understood at once. Email inboxes can get crowded in a corporate or professional environment, there is no guarantee that an alarm can bypass that.
Implementing an email-based alert solution, without the use of an emergency notification software means depriving your company and employees of a wide range of features that can be of utmost importance in a crisis.
Features of alert notification software not found in email clients:
- Real-time feedback from message recipients
- Recipient self-registration and action controls
- User activity tracking
- Data imports from other systems and databases
- Security via cloud
- User access controls
- Integrate notifications and alerts with third-party solutions
- The ability to send both voice and text messages that reach their destination in a matter of seconds and are also read with swiftness
- Tracking and auditing of notification activities and generating online reports
Whether we are speaking of internal crisis situations, such as a network failure, machinery malfunctioning, or any other activity-related failure, or of a situation caused by a natural or manmade disaster, emails are not suitable to fully handle it. Further, we are going to discuss some of the main disadvantages of using email as an emergency communication solution, beyond lacking some of the most appealing features supported by an alert software.
The Main Disadvantages of Email as Emergency Communication Solution
Although in the case of most companies and institutions, internal communication strategies are implemented via email, when it comes to crisis communications, things need to be different, in order to achieve the best results and limit the damages to or exposures of a crisis. Relying solely on email to handle your crisis strategies and emergency situations means you are confiding in a system that depends on a lot of other factors in order to provide you with a somewhat successful outcome.
1. Emails Can Get Marked as Spam by Providers
The latest software developments, alongside privacy concerns have made some email providers automatically mark as spam – or place in other categories than the inbox – emails that shouldn’t normally be there. If you plan on sending emergency notifications via email, you need to consider this aspect, and the fact that there is no going around it, except for taking the risk of that email not being read in time, or at all.
2. Most Emails are not Read in Real-Time
As previously mentioned, inboxes can become rather crowded, and they are no place to send an emergency notification, especially since some of your employees might not find themselves in front of the computer at the moment you are trying to reach them. Also, with an email notification, you would not get statistics and feedback in regards to how many of your employees got the alert in real time, and especially how many have read and taken the necessary precautions or measures.
3. Email Format is Not Emergency-Oriented
Rarely will the format of an email client, either an internal or external software, have the proper design to fit an emergency situation. When you send an alert notification, the channel you are using it as your primary broadcaster needs to be clean, emergency-oriented, and tailored in such a way that will invite the recipient to take action. Whereas email formats are usually crowded with folders, contacts, and other organizational features that might stand in the way of an alert notification.
Regardless of the size of your company, the sector you are operating in, and the nature of the hazards your business is prone to, using email as a substitute for emergency notification software is not only a risky business decision but one that might jeopardize the health and safety of your employees. Therefore, make sure that all your emergency and crisis communications are implemented via a modern mass notification system that will allow you full control over your messages, metrics, and feedback.