Last week we looked at the Messaging feature in DigiQuatics. Specifically, the Email Messaging feature, it’s many uses, and how to use it. This week, we’ll be looking at the text messaging side of Messaging, and then we’ll get some suggestions on the best ways to utilize text messaging in DigiQuatics.
Text Messages or Emails?
Text messages have many benefits that you don’t have with emails, but there are also drawbacks. Knowing these benefits and drawbacks are essential to picking which feature is best suited to your need. So what are the plus and minus sides for using texting?
- Immediate receipt of messages by staff
- Easy for staff to respond
- Less intrusive than a phone call
- Fastest way to contact large amounts of staff
- Short length
- Easy to ignore
Getting to know the Messaging Module
Underneath the “Employees” dropdown menu on your DigiQuatics dashboard, is the option to select “Messaging”. By selecting the “Messaging” item, you are brought to the main messaging page.
On this messaging page you are shown a list of the messages you, or administrative users in your organization, have sent out in chronological order: with the most recent message on top, and the oldest ones toward the bottom.
This handy record of your communications sent to your employees is a wonderful tool, but if you’re like my organization, messaging is a feature we use heavily. So sifting through your hundreds or maybe even thousands of messages would take hours. Luckily, there’s a search feature built into the messaging module!
Using the search box you can search for message content that was in the message, such as key terms. But it doesn’t stop there, you can also search the recipients and senders. So if you’re looking for a message that was sent by a specific person, or received by someone specific, you need only type in their name!
Composing a Text Message
On the page there is also a button to “COMPOSE” a message. If you press this button a window will pop-up and here is where you can, you guessed it, compose your message. If you’re composing a text message, you will be given two boxes, a “To” box, and a “Message” box. The same features for who you send your emails to still work for text messaging, so you can select by name, location, position, or a combination of the three.
Some special reminders and tips about composing your text messages:
- Text messages are short, and limited to 147 characters.
- Due to the limited length of texts, they’re best for brief messages, or requests to contact you, not long messages spanning multiple texts.
- Include a phone number for people to contact in response to your message. (With smart phones it’s as simple as clicking the number to either dial or text it!)
- Always read over and check your text messages for any misspellings, typos, missing content.
- Always double-check your recipients.
PRO-TIPS to help you compose texts:
Texts are short, only 147 characters through DigiQuatics. And due to the system, if you send a message spread across more than one text, the message can get jumbled, so it’s important to get your message consolidated down into a single text. So what’s the easiest way to shrink your message size down?:
- Use texts for short messages only.
- Write it out at full length, even if it is too long to fit.
- Once you’ve got your basic message down, look over it and cut unnecessary words such as greetings, introductions etc..
- Use abbreviations and shorthand wherever possible.
- When sending a phone number, dashes are unnecessary, cell phones know it’s a number without them.
Using these methods you can turn this:
Hello! Attention staff, you are currently scheduled for our next set of lessons, starting this Saturday at 9:00am. If you have any questions or issues contact Corey at 123-456-7890. Thank you! (192 characters)
ATTN: You are scheduled for lessons starting Saturday 2/9. Contact Corey for details or w/ q’s @ 1234567890 (107 characters)
A special note on messaging:
Messaging, like all things in DigiQuatics, is easy to use, so it can be easy to inundate your staff with messages, especially if you have several supervisors utilizing the feature. So be sure not to over-saturate your staff. If you aren’t careful, your messages may become something your staff simply ignores, so make sure to utilize the messaging feature with some thought.
3 Most Effective Ways to Utilize Text Messaging in DigiQuatics
With text messaging, as opposed to email messaging, the content you can get to your staff is much more limited. It’s best not to use the texting feature for things that require lots of details, space, or information be sent out; that’s what emails are for. So, what are the best ways to use the text messaging feature in DigiQuatics?
While some of these uses can be done with email messaging, they are much more effective as text messages.
1. Text Message Reminders
Let’s face it, every staff needs a few reminders now and again. It could be a reminder that they have a staff meeting, something is due, or that they are teaching swimming lessons starting this weekend. Whatever it is, reminding staff can be a tedious task if you are left making endless calls to notify everyone needed. However, sending out a single text message to your entire staff all at once alleviates the problem!
“REMINDER: Mandatory staff meetings tonight, and 2/9 @ 7pm. Contact Corey w/ q’s 123-456-7890”
“REMINDER: Fall availabilities are due tomorrow. Contact Corey w/ q’s 123-456-7890”
Messages like these bare bones ones take only a couple of second to tailor to your needs, and they do the job of notifying and reminding staff in a fraction of the time.
Aside from saving you time in reminding staff, it also makes things easier for your staff! Most smart phones have features to turn dates and times in text messages into calendar events with reminders of their own. And even if staff doesn’t go that far, the reminder is still in their text messages in case they forget.
2. Notifying Staff
Aside from reminding staff about things they may have forgotten, using text messaging in DigiQuatics can be an extremely helpful tool in notifying staff.
Have a last minute closure or cancellation? Send everyone scheduled a quick text to let them know. “ATTN: We will not open today due to inclement weather. Contact Corey w/ q’s 123-456-7890”
You can also let your staff know about upcoming meetings, important dates, or of changes to their schedules. Using text messaging to notify your staff saves you the time of having to contact your staff one-by-one. Not to mention you have no doubt that they’ve received the information, unlike signs hung around your staff room that get ignored, especially if they change often.
3. Getting Staff
You’re probably noticing a trend about the best ways to utilize text messaging in Digiquatics; they are all about immediacy and accessibility. With cell phones your staff is more accessible than they’ve ever been before, even if they pretend they’re not.
Probably the most useful way to utilize the text messaging feature due to the immediacy and accessibility text messaging provides, is getting staff. If you have staff call in sick, or just not show up, it’s not as simple as just being down a lifeguard. If you don’t have enough staff, it can be unsafe for your patrons. But you can send a single text message out to your entire staff as an SOS to find staff fast:
“SOS: we need a lifeguard to work today 12-3pm. Respond to Corey @ 123-456-7890 if you can! Thank you!”
GETTING STAFF PRO-TIP:
Don’t use DigiQuatics text messaging to fill shifts all the time.
As mentioned before, the more you message your staff, the more they will ignore your texts. So if you’re filling open shifts each day by sending out a mass text through DigiQuatics you’ll get fewer and fewer responses each time.
If you keep the information you send through texts, and emails to a lesser extent, relevant and don’t send them too frequently, the response will be much stronger when you need help urgently!
Do you have other ways you’ve utilized the text messaging feature in Digiquatics? Let us know below!