When you think about how 97% of citizens own cell phones and 85% own smartphones, connecting through text messaging just makes sense. What’s more, 98% of text messages get opened—which makes texting an ideal messaging tool for both staff and citizen communication.
We’ve assembled a few ideas and thank-you giveaways to help you make the most of this communication opportunity, both inside and outside the office.
Communicate important safety information
There is a severe weather alert. A power outage has caused one of your branches to close. One of your staff members receives an email they think may not be legitimate. All these incidents warrant prompt attention. Employees may not see an email or even answer their phone if something else has their attention. But there’s a good chance they’ll glance at their phone if there’s a notification, making text messaging a great way to ensure everyone gets the memo immediately.
Give staff members a webcam blocker with a number to text when there’s an immediate concern the rest of the staff needs to know about.
Create employee collaboration
When your office needs a quick brainstorm, or to assemble a team for a project, trying to get enough staff members’ attention can be a challenge, especially as hybrid offices have become more common.
Text messaging can help a supervisor get in touch with numerous people in a matter of minutes, making it easy to find the staff members necessary to accomplish a task or provide feedback.
Share need-to-know information
While public emergency information can certainly go out over radio, TV and social media, text messaging is an ideal “need-to-know-now” method of getting news and knowledge to the public. Consider sending texts when:
- Long-term road closures begin
- Areas are blocked off due to a water or gas leak
- Parking restrictions due to weather, such as snow removal or downed trees
Citizen communication doesn’t just have to go out. It can also come in. Creating a tip line for a neighborhood watch or public works issues can allow citizens to easily send texts about problems that need to be handled by a government office.
Even better: They can also share pictures and videos of an issue, which is the true definition of something that’s worth more than 1,000 words. For instance, graffiti on a local bridge or a downed road sign.
If people are offering information, show your gratitude with a thank-you giveaway. Easily mailable items like a seed packet can thank people for keeping your community looking good. Or invite them to stop in to pick up something fun or useful, such as a magnet, bandage dispenser or ice scraper.
Bonus tip: Keep a real person on the other side of the text conversation, so citizens can request further information about a situation, if necessary.
Send helpful reminders
Much the way your doctor or dentist will text a helpful reminder of an upcoming appointment, text messages can be a useful way to remind citizens to pay fees or fines, return library materials or attend a court date.
Offer aid and opportunities
All too often, citizens in need don’t know where to get help. Text people who are currently getting unemployment insurance information when job fairs or free training are offered. Or text citizens who are behind on their public works bills information about agencies that can get them temporary assistance. You can also create a text line for people who need assistance in these or other areas and assign staff members to provide them with one-on-one help.
Improve staff and citizen communication with text messaging
When you use text messaging for staff and citizen communication, you almost guarantee your message will be seen. That makes it one of the best modern ways to make your community better.