Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Emergency Notification Strategies for Community Banks

A solid emergency notification system will leverage all of the technologies available today -- phone calls, SMS text messaging and email. Call trees and printed lists are a last resort -- when nothing else is working.

Dedicated emergency notification systems -- such as those used by hospitals and universities -- are pricey and probably overkill for a community bank. But with a little creativity and basic data manipulation skills, you can put together a low cost, high tech system yourself.

First, be sure your employee notification records contain the appropriate fields: Home and mobile phone numbers, an SMS text message field, and personal email.

Next, store the information using tools that are "platform independent". Notification lists in particular should be portable -- meaning, you must be able to quickly extract a current list and then port it to a number of different platforms. Excel is probably the best all-around format for moving data between systems.

Finally, test your system two or three times a year to give your team some practice.

Here are some tools that may help:

Bulk Texting Systems:

SMS, Mail and Manage Contacts

Android App

If you need something more comprehensive, here is a full-featured service that actually recovers your ability to receive inbound customer calls. It has an emergency notification feature built in: