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Is Multi-Modal Messaging Required for a Solid IT Incident Management Strategy?

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You’re an IT service provider with a client account where a critical server that manages payment processing just crashed. You need to get that server operational immediately. And every minute that it’s down can represent thousands in lost revenue for your client.

You have a dedicated IT team that’s assigned to handle maintenance and emergency response for exactly this task. 

The only problem is, you’re not quite sure who’s on duty today. More importantly, it’s lunchtime, and there’s a good chance that the on-staff crew might be away from their desks. You have company pagers that you can ping, but they don’t always respond promptly. So, what might be an easy fix can easily take half a day or more to correct. 

 

Optimizing Communications for Faster Response Times

If the above scenario sounded even remotely familiar, you’re not exactly alone. Even the most effective preventative maintenance IT team can’t entirely safeguard against unexpected service interruptions. But, poor communications can be an issue that bogs down your emergency response plan, leading to customer dissatisfaction and lost revenue for both you and your clients. 

According to Dimensional Research, a third-party research group, nearly 91% of IT professionals shared that poor communication during an emergency increased total downtime. But poor communication can mean a wide range of things. And until you identify where the bottleneck or miscommunications are occurring, you can’t improve your emergency response strategy. 

For IT providers, poor communication can mean much more than simply having staff that fails to reply to notifications promptly. It can also mean that resources aren’t being leveraged properly. And as a result, response times and solutions are delayed. 



What is Multi-Modal Messaging?

While “multi-modal messaging” might sound like a shiny new concept, it’s quite straightforward. Multi-modal messaging simply means that IT providers are not relying on a single method for relaying emergencies or escalating tickets to the proper stakeholders when needed. 

Using only a single communication platform to contact your emergency response team is outdated and leads to delays. But more importantly, not properly identifying a solid chain of command for event resolution can compound your communication woes. 

Signs that your Communication Strategy Needs Help

Again, we can’t stress enough that communication is about more than simply sending messages to relevant parties. You need to also be sure that the right people are receiving messages that are best equipped to tackle emergencies when they arise. A reliance on old communication methods, as well as poor organization, can create haphazard responses, slow resolutions, and — more importantly — customer dissatisfaction. Signs that your communication strategy needs an overhaul include: 

  • Manual review of the emergency severity

  • Waiting until emergencies arise to create response teams

  • Manually sending system-wide emergency alert messages

  • Manually selecting communication channels

  • Waiting until the staff is unresponsive to escalate communications to additional parties

  • Requiring emergency response teams to also manage client communication

 

How Multi-Modal Messaging Can Streamline Your Business

Good multi-modal messaging begins by taking the time to create an organizational flow that delegates which staff members are first responders when specific emergencies arise. You’re not going to rely on a “batch and blast” style communication system that sends company-wide alerts for every emergency — even if it’s not an all-hands-on-deck type of event. 

 

Stick to the Relevant Parties

Instead, you need an automated emergency alert system like HipLink that allows you to adjust communications based on who’s actively on-call, and within the relevant department. But just as critical, that messaging is automated based on parameters you create — ensuring that no one individual is tasked with crafting and sending messages during an emergency. 

This allows you to create contingencies based on response times, and create a chain of command so that if your on-call staff responds but realizes the emergency needs more assistance than they can provide, the next knowledgeable individual is looped into the situation. 

When integrated properly, multi-modal messaging can improve employee response rates as people are not inundated with irrelevant communications that can lead to desensitization. Likewise, you can even program your system to send follow-up texts if the initial text doesn’t receive a response. 

 

Don’t Rely on a Single Communication Channel

To make the most of multi-modal messaging, you also need to leverage more than one communication solution. While some people might reply to direct SMS messages to personal smartphones, on-site staff might respond faster to a department-wide corporate messaging solution like Slack. And even still, for field members, relying on company equipment might make more sense. 

Having the flexibility to send automated messages to all of those communication channels can speed up response times. Likewise, having the ability to set a timeline for responses before triggering a follow-up message can also ensure that critical communications aren’t missed.  

To reiterate, a responsive automation solution:

  • Define parameters and triggers for emergency alerts to improve response times

  • Create an organizational flow for relevant individuals/teams and backup contacts depending on the emergency

  • Craft a strategy to escalate alerts as needed

  • Flexibility to adjust communication channels across devices and methods to lower response times


Another benefit of automating your emergency response is a reduction in wasting resources like employee overtime. And leveraging multiple communication options reduces downtime associated with identifying and gathering essential staff. 

 

Making the Shift to Smarter Communications

Even the most proactive IT response team can’t entirely prevent emergencies. But a customizable and flexible system like HipLink can improve emergency response times, which can lead to less downtime. Research has shown that even reducing incidents by 15 minutes can save your clients $35,000 to $135,000 depending on the size of the organization. That can amount to anywhere from $280,000 to just over $1M. 

HipLink is an emergency management and communication software solution that empowers IT service providers to create customized communications that offer enhanced emergency response solutions. Better still, the solution implements easily into existing infrastructures, which reduces downtime. Learn how HipLink can improve your IT service provider business by revolutionizing emergency alerts and streamlining response times.




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