Many companies subscribe to a third-party electronic notification service rather than handling all mass communications in-house. Here's how those subscription services work.
- Employees of the company or organization access the electronic notification system through a Web portal on their desktop. No extra software or hardware is needed.
- Employees use the Web portal to add individual contact information to the database, including phone numbers, e-mail addresses and fax numbers.
- The Web portal allows users to organize contacts into groups and subgroups. Often you can upload contacts and groups from existing e-mail programs like Microsoft Outlook.
- When it's time to initiate a notification, users can log onto the Web portal or access the system by phone for sending voice messages.
- Users then choose which platform they want to use to send their message. Most electronic notification services include text-to-speech capability so a written message can also be sent as audio to phones.
- Once the message is typed or recorded and sent, it arrives at the off-site headquarters of the electronic notifications service, where servers instantly send the message off to the chosen recipients.
It's also extremely easy for individuals to set up electronic notifications. Most Web sites and services that offer e-mail, text and phone alerts will simply require a user to fill in their contact information, select some simple preferences, and that's it.
For example, to receive SMS news alerts from your local newspaper:
- Go to the Web site of the newspaper.
- Click on a link for "text alerts."
- Fill in your name, phone number and mobile carrier.
- Check boxes for the types of news you want to receive: international, sports, dining, et cetera.
- Now you'll receive a text message each time a relevant story is posted on the newspaper's Web site.
Less Paper, More Control
E-mail and Web-enabled mobile devices have already significantly changed the way companies conduct business and the way individuals stay informed and in touch.
The next logical step is a paperless society, and electronic notifications provide the backbone for such a system.
Individuals could control all correspondence from a master account, choosing how and when to receive bank account notifications, news, tax forms, airline tickets, sales promotions and personalized medical information. They'd no longer have to toss out a stack of junk mail or wait in another line at the bank, the pharmacy or the airport ticket counter.
For more information about electronic notifications, check out the links on the next page.