At Everbridge, we have long espoused the benefits of several communication best practices to engage your residents, employees and other key stakeholders as part of your critical communications program. One of our central tenets is that a communication strategy that employs multiple delivery paths, along with confirmation, will maximize your connection rates, increase engagement and reduce redundant messages. We stand by the importance of this—always have, and always will.
However, given the increased prevalence of mobility in organizational critical communication plans, we decided it was time to expand some of our thinking around this best practice, particularly the emphasis on “confirmation”. For instance, why are confirmation rates so important, anyway? Do people confirm on their mobile phones? What does a higher rate of confirmation actually achieve? And, while we are at it, how does “employing multiple delivery paths” figure in to all of this?
To start, we asked one of our customers, Mark Bagby, Director of Emergency Management at Washington University St. Louis & Hospitals (you can follow him on Twitter @WUSTLemergency), for his perspective on the importance of analyzing confirmation metrics and why it is so important to improve this rate:
“Whether we are conducting one of our regular system tests, or sending out an actual notification through Everbridge, we always request confirmation and analyze the number of users that acknowledge receipt of the message,” said Mark.
“The reason for this is twofold. First, achieving a high rate of confirmation informs us that we are doing our job effectively and that people are actually getting these critical messages. Second, regardless of the rate, it’s invaluable for us to analyze confirmations to help us troubleshoot. For instance, we can look into pockets of folks who did not confirm to see if there might have been some issue with a carrier, email provider, or some other type of outage. We can dig further in to this, figure out what happened, and improve for the next set of notifications.”
In the spirit of Mark’s sentiments, and now that we know why higher confirmation rates are important, we decided to take a look at some of our system data, as well as recent findings from the BCI Emergency Communications Report, to see if there was anything new that we can learn to help you improve your own rates. What we found was revealing—and we decided to depict the data in the above infographic. Please feel free to access and save the document and share with members of your team.
Some of the highlights, include:
- Organizations (like yours?) are increasingly recognizing the importance of critical communications plans. According to the BCI Study, over 85% of organizations have an emergency communications plan in place.
- However, the same report found that engagement is lacking, and 42% of organizations felt their critical messages were not reaching their users.
Confirmation rates, as Mark indicated above, are important because they can help measure the success of your critical communications strategy. The infographic also explains the importance of setting realistic organizational goals for confirmation rates, and the importance of leveraging multiple delivery paths (remember what we said above)? By doing so, you will increase engagement and confirmation rates:
- Internal system data determined a 47% confirmation rate on the first attempt when a message was to be delivered to multiple contact paths/preferences, versus a 33% rate when it will only be delivered to a single path/preference.
The conclusion? Requesting confirmation is your friend, and urging recipients to opt-in with multiple delivery paths will improve your rate of success. But, be realistic, you will never be perfect and will never achieve a 100% confirmation rate.
So, what do you say? Do you request/require confirmation? Do you effectively analyze the rate? Do you agree that this even matters? We want to hear from you!