Are you ready for the unexpected? Crisis Alerts

Posted 30 March, 2016 in Internal Communications, Security

SnapComms Alerts can be very effective when a mission critical situation arises and you need to update your teams FAST. Join us for a working session that will take you through four types of critical situations – adverse weather, system outages, imminent danger threats, and major announcements. We'll offer best practice techniques you can start using immediately, ensuring that your organisation is ready when the unexpected happens.



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Full Transcript

Paula: Here we go. We're going to record this and send you a link afterwards. Now I have a little bit of sound. I think, Kim, Phil, I think I'll mute you or maybe back off the mic a little. 

Kim: Okay.

Paula: So first before I introduce you to Phil and Kim, I just want to give you a little bit of background about who we are as a company. We're an enterprise software company, and you may not be aware, we have over a million users now in 45 countries around the world, 400 enterprise customers. That's who you're talking to and specifically here's who is on the line to run this half hour. There's myself, Paula, and I have Kim Cooper here with me, head of customer support.

Kim: Welcome, everybody. 

Paula: And Phil as well. Phil and Kim from our headquarters are here but, Phil, you want to say hi? 

Phil: Hi. Yeah. Hi, everyone. 

Paula: Great. Phil and Kim are going to be chiming in to remind me of things that I forget. They're going to be monitoring the chat as well. 

Just a couple slides more before we get into it. We want this to be a working session so please put your questions through and use the chat. We're going to ask you a few questions, ask of you to chat at different points in this session to give us some feedback. We really hope that you will leave with a better understanding of what you can do with SnapComms, the confidence to use it in crisis situations. Our goal is that you walk away with something practical that you can do immediately as well. All right? 

So another visual. Here's our agenda. We got six steps here that we're going to go through. We'll start with just defining what we mean and work our way around this circle. That's what we're going to go through today so let's get cracking. 

The first section, crisis situations. Let's talk about what we really mean by that. Generally, a crisis is going to be something that impacts your business, that has the potential to negatively impact your business. There's some research by Deloitte and we've included the link here for you, but based on a survey they did I think 2012, not too long ago. Every five years something is going to happen. Most companies see something happening at least every five years. It's definitely worth preparing for. 

They also feel that companies are under-prepared. Despite the majority of companies feeling confident they're ready, a lot of them are not actually performing the steps which Deloitte figures are key to being ready. So that's some background information for you just in terms of crises.

Now let's get a little more specific. Crisis scenarios, what are we talking about here? Well listen, I know we have a lot of different folks here on the webinar. Some of you are in IT, some of you are in corporate, at the corporate level. So we're not going to talk specifically about one incident, but I want you to keep in mind what exists in your company if you're in a company with over a few dozen people. There's going to be something in place and hopefully you're across that. If not, find out and take this conversation that we're having now in light of what your larger organization is doing, okay?

To get a little more specific, these are four categories we're going to talk about generally today in terms of crisis. You know, some sort of danger, emergency situation where people, specific people are threatened, weather situation or a site situation. Then there's of course major announcements, the sort of PR type announcements, "We've had a recall. Our CIO has left," whatever it might be, and then of course system outages. That's such a massive one, an outage that impacts the business. 

Listen, if you have one in mind, if there's one that's most important to you or one you would like to set up or just want to review, can you put that in the chat window or the question window? Phil is going to have a look at that. Really interested to know which one is most important to you as your priority in terms of a crisis category. Phil, I'll let you keep an eye on that while we move along. Once you know...

Phil: Sure.

Paula: ...what kind of crisis situation you're looking at, let's get into SnapComms alerts, and I think most of you on the call know what a SnapComms alert is. We give you a way with SnapComms alerts to get a warning on screen in a way that can be quite fast. It's visual and targeted, right?

Do you use SnapComms, another question for you coming fast now. Do you use SnapComms for crisis situations? Are you using them now? This one I really would love for you to answer if you're on the call. What are you using for your critical messages, really important time sensitive messages? Is it SnapComms or is it something else?

Let me know, Phil, what kind of answers you get for that. Okay. Phil, are people staying quiet? It sounds like people are staying quiet. 

Phil: Yup. I don't have anything in my chat windows yet, but if anybody wants to put that in, then feel free.

Paula: Yeah. Do feel free because we can move in your direction too depending on who's out there. Listen with SnapComms alerts, what we really want to do right now is get you prepared so that you're ready to go so you can be a hero when these critical situations come. This is all about getting it prepared ahead of time. Here are the pop-up alerts, here are the four areas we're going to talk about. 

If you look up here on this screen, on the top right corner, there is a user guide. If you want to get into the detail about how to use SnapComms alerts, exactly what each of these features are, then please go through and have a look at that fantastic user guide or some of our videos. But for now, we're going to have a look at the administrator portal. This is a screenshot of an alert where you have your tabs, you work across your tabs to really fine tune exactly how this visual message is going to show up, to whom it's going to show up, etc.

Let's look at those four areas, who, what, and how in terms of our alerts. The first thing is target audience. Here's an example of a weather alert. You know, on the right-hand side if you look at the title "Weather - closing early." For this, this is going to be site specific or maybe a specific city. You want to make sure the target group that you send this to are the people that care about this. You wouldn't want to send it to your whole organization if you're nationwide of course. We have so many options. Just you want to make sure you're aligned, you have your target audience aligned with who cares about this message and who's impact with it.

Definitely, you don't want to be using manual groups. Use those active directory groups, the groups that we synchronize with and talk to IT as well if you don't know which one is right. IT is tracking. They usually have groups of all the devices by location or they'll have a user group for a specific software. Make sure you find the right group that's maintained and use that for your targeting so you're not creating noise for anyone else and no one is excluded that really needs to hear the message.

Now secondly what kind of message are you going to send? Now I've seen this go wrong. It's very important that you have a message that can be easily absorbed, and don't just tell them what happened. Tell them what you need them to do. This is an example, "Stay out of this particular area." We have a customer that has a manufacturing site and they do use it in this way. If there's ever a safety issue, they'll send out a silent alert to everyone on premise so they know that something is happening over there. It would just be great if you would avoid that area. 

All right and then another point as well point to resources that you already have. You don't have to manually put everything into an alert. You can have a hyperlink in here to more information if it already exists on your Internets. Here's an example where a company has a voice mail line set up, so they've put that number in there, "Call this voicemail line if you want to know the latest on the situation." 

Secondly, don't forget that SnapComms alerts, the visual frame, the template you have around your message can be any look and feel that you want. Many of our customers are having four different color codes on their templates. They'll have a corporate template. They'll have red, yellow, green and we all pretty much know what that means. Red is going to be the severest level of crisis and yellow is going to be a warning type level and then green means all clear. 

Now when you think of outage notifications for example, it's great to be able to send out an outage notification and then follow that when it's over with a green one letting everyone know the situation is over. Make sure you have that optimized as well. 

Now, moving on from content, visual display. Did you know that we have, hopefully you've seen this on the advanced tab, urgent and emergency levels? These are the cut through levels where if I'm in full screen mode, we're going to get a message cutting over on top. You can send something through full screen that everyone is going to see. 

I'm just going to pull up an alert right now so you see that. I had it up earlier but I actually had closed it. So let me get my...I'm going to pull back up my PowerPoint for you. Click on this, and now I want to just pull up an example of an emergency alert so you can see how that could appear. Here's an example where it's pretty high level. We've sent this through so it goes full screen. It's bright red. We really want you all to stop working on your computers and get out of here right now.

This is an alert that's sent full screen. It's sent to show up on top of anything that's going on in that computer. Here I can close it to get back to what I was doing as well so. That was an example of the emergency alert level that will cut through anyone who's in front of their computer. Okay? So make sure you optimize your message depending on the level of severity, the level of cut through you need, using all these settings here.

Once you have done that, a few other things for your master administrators. Don't forget to save all your crisis alerts in a place that you can find them again. You can set up as many folders as you want in SnapComms. If you look at that little screenshot on the right, but keep it simple. I'd say for crisis, you don't want to be trying to dig through folders to figure out where are these messages saved, right? Don't forget as well, you may know the system the system like the back of your hand, but you need to have a backup administrator, or two, or three. Those folks might not be in here very often, so you want it to be as straightforward as possible for them.

Lastly, and this sort of takes us into the next point as well, how to think about how you want to publish your alerts. You can have an emergency notification setup, and if that situation arises, you can click into that message and simply check your settings and hit publish. Right? You can go in there and publish that message every time. You can change your text and publish on top of it. That's quite fast to do, but then sometimes maybe you want to have a separate entry for each notice. That's another way you can do it as well by copying that message and creating a clone of it. That takes a little bit longer though so it's really up to you what's going to work for you.

Now creating from scratch, we would not recommend for crisis messages. That's obviously why we're talking here. But the last one on this list if you look at my last entry, Quick Publish. This is the next part I want to talk about. Not everyone has this enabled in their SnapComms instance, but we do have this feature called Quick Publish. It's intended to let you get messages out quickly.

So let me know have you heard of Quick Publish and are you using Quick Publish? I'd really love to know. This is what it looks like in your administrator portal. If you have it enabled, you'll see it under your content folder right below the content calendar.

Paula: Okay. I was going to say so let me just click back into my slide show. Quick Publish, this is something we built about a year ago for a company that wanted their whole helpdesk to be able to send out outage notifications and all clear notifications really quickly without having to remember all the details and get into all the details of the SnapComms system. 

What it does, it lets you preset all the details in your SnapComms alert, lock everything down, and reduce the steps it takes to publish something to three simple steps. It saves time and it also ensures that everyone at the helpdesk is sending messages that were consistent. No errors sending to wrong people, and let me just give you a quick look at what that is like. 

I'm going to pull up my content manager portal. Here you can see I have my navigation tree on the left and on the right is my Quick Publish section. I have five messages here that are preset. You'll see some of the ones you've seen in the slide deck are here. I'm going to click on this first one. Here's a safety alert. Avoid a specific area. I'm going to click over here on publish, and we're going to pull up a window in a second, here we go. 

If you look at the top, you can see we have just a couple of words at the top. This one is narrowed down to three steps. I can come in here and change out just some details that are in brackets and send this out. But let me, you know what? I'm going to send one that's even faster. This one here, "Weather closing early." It's really up to you how much you lock down and how much you leave open. But this one here, here's a winter storm warning. It's all preset. We are going to close the office early, let's just get that going. 

So here we've included a step where you can just verify the audience that you're sending to as correct, and once we've done that, off we go. We'll send that through and that will be coming through to my computer in a minute or two. There we go. 

You can see here too, you can send text messages out at the same time. We do have some features too. You can enable even email messaging as well through SnapComms. But there, instead of going through all the tabs, all the details of your message, it's locked down. All of the key messages are right there. You don't have as much detail to go through. You can get it out quite fast. 

Now for Quick Publish, you let your administrators have access to this or not. You can enable it for folks. It's going to be under their general settings. Good idea to have several people able to publish in case someone is away from the office or on leave if the situation arises. Don't forget about that. 

Our last tips for Quick Publish as well. You can bookmark this page. You've probably seen that bookmark button in your content manager. Make this the landing page for those administrators that are only using SnapComms for crisis. That can be the first thing they see. 

Secondly I've done this. The SnapComms content manager has a lot of detail in it, but it is really actually pretty easy to trigger a SnapComms alert through Quick Publish on your phone, on your mobile phone. I would encourage you to experiment with that, too. It's not a mobile-optimized interface as you can imagine with all the detail we have for alerts. But I've seen that happen as well where the safety manager is away from their desk or away from the office and they need to send one. It's certainly possible to do that if you're on a hosted platform. 

Here, this alert, the blue alert has just come through. You can see that I would say what, that took about two minutes, guys, to come through? So that was the one we just sent through Quick Publish. 

Kim: Hey, Paula? Kim here.

Paula: Go ahead.

Kim: I just want to reiterate firstly about urgent and emergency alerts. And those are additional features too that we need to enable for people if they don't have that view through their content manager. Drop us a chat if you're interested in having a look at urgent or emergency, having that enabled for you. 

As Paula said, Quick Publish is a new feature, and not everybody will have that. We are happy to organize some testing for you so we can enable that for you to have a look, do some testing. Just drop us a chat in the window if you're interested, and we'll follow up after the webinar. 

Paula: Fabulous. Thank you. That's a good point. I hadn't thought about that. Sometimes won't see emergency or urgent, but yeah, that's easy to turn on. 

I'll mention as well, you know, there's a lot more you can do in terms of crisis alerts. Certainly, a lot of companies can get SMS or use the mobile app to get notifications out to phones. We have extensions for digital signage. We can enable email. We can also integrate with other systems. That's good if you want to maybe trigger an alert from another system and have SnapComms send it out. Those kind of things are all possible as well. 

So look, we've got into a little bit a detail around what to think about how to pre-setup your crisis messages. This bit, this isn't specific to SnapComms, but I do want to point out really you want to make sure you test these ahead of time. 

There was one company years ago that we worked with where the IT department took on SnapComms alerts. They were so keen and the first message that went out was an outage notification, and it went out to the entire company. They really hadn't practiced. The first thing that went out was to the wrong group of people. A lot of people weren't impacted. They didn't care. Testing is going to help you make sure that it's all working. Get the feedback from people ahead of time before you have that crisis so you really can adjust things and make sure everything's right on point for what you need. 

Revisit, certainly I think this is a process that never really ends. I think you'd all agree with me. I have a look every six months, at least once a year, maybe every quarter. It's up to you. But look at these messages. Test them again. See if anything needs changing. Certainly you can copy, add on new scenarios as you go. Expand out the kinds of situations you're ready for. You don't have to do it all in one big go. Just add on over time. 

Administrators if you have, administrators who are not in SnapComms all the time, please do make sure you schedule in just a short refresher training for them so they don't feel lost or can't find a password when the time comes six months down the road. 

So I'm just going to go through a couple of these. Is it possible to save more than one preset per Quick Publish? I gave that answer as well. Yeah, you can absolutely save as many as you want, so yeah. 

Are there any other questions, Phil and Kim, that you wanted to address, potential questions that you thought people might have? I don't see too many...

Phil: Just a comment from me, Paula. I think one of the advantages of Quick Publish is you're able to choose the amount of steps you wish your administrators to have. In other words, rather than go through the whole task workflow if you like which we got at SnapComms, you can decide is it simply a change in the audience that's receiving it? Is it a change in the message? Is it a change in how long that message is being published for and so on? 

But you have the ability to be very granular in that respect and say, "Well actually it's always going to have the same audience, so I don't need to have that as an option for my admin in a crisis situation." And the same for what the message is and who that's being sent to and so on. It's really a very streamlined workflow in terms of getting that message out quickly and concisely to your target audience. 

Paula: That's a great point, and if you look here on my screen, let me just get rid of that, there's a button down here. So I went into a normal alert, and if I want to turn this into a Quick Publish template, I simply click this button. This is exactly what you were talking about where we can decide what do we want locked down, we just leave it unticked. Or if there's something that we do want to enable people to change when that critical situation comes up, we can turn it on so they can see it and change it. Yeah. That's what this is here. 

Phil: Yeah, and I think that's the real value in terms of making sure that you've got that pretemplated not just a pretemplated message, but the pretemplated audience and the pretemplated duration and so on. So you just don't need to think about that in that particular timeframe. 

Paula: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Great. So and there is the new one. You can see at the very top here's the message that I just turned into a Quick Publish. All right? Great. Okay. 

So thanks for your time. Kim and Phil, what else shall we cover here? I think for me I just want to leave everyone with the encouragement to test out SnapComms alerts, whether it's alerts on their own or with Quick Publish. Test it out for these crisis situations for any kind of scenario you can anticipate. Talk to colleagues and see what they think. I think a lot of people in the crisis or disaster recovery teams would love to get their hands on a tool like this to notify employees of crises. Just get started. Get started with what makes sense to you in your context and that we wish you all the best. 

Kim: Thanks, Paula. I just wanted to wrap up by saying thanks everyone for attending, and we will send the slides and the session to you after the webinar. I think just as a bit of a wrap-up, one of our value proposition here at SnapComms is getting the right message to the right people at the right time. And Quick Publish in particular is fabulous for those crisis communications that Paula has covered today which enables you to get those communications out quickly and very effectively and of course to the right at the right time. So thanks everybody for your time. 

Paula: Fantastic. Thank you guys. Have a great rest of your day, everyone. 

Phil: Thank you all.

Paula: Okay. Bye now. 

Phil: Bye-bye.


Internal Communications, Security