The odds are that your head of security can’t nail Detroit Rock City on Guitar Hero. And the odds are even greater that your Shopping Center will never experience a terrorist takeover. But it still begs the question, what if Paul Blart (you remember Paul from 2009’s comedy Mall Cop) had a Mass Notification System? Or even better still, what if Paul Blart was signed up to receive notifications from the Shopping Center where he worked? Perhaps all of the ensuing comedy in the movie could have been avoided. Certainly this would have made movie critics happy!
Over the past decade, the communications industry has exploded with new technology that can help businesses communicate effectively. Obviously, not all Shopping Centers have the luxury of a security officer as light on his feet and as adept at fighting crime as Paul Blart, but Shopping Centers can equip themselves with Mass Notification Systems to help improve overall communication plans, increase awareness during an emergency and improve business goals.
If you select the right one, a Mass Notification System (let’s call them MNSs from here on out) can be fabulously easy to use. If you know how to get on the internet and how to click a mouse you pretty much already know how to use one. MNSs are already used in higher education, healthcare and transportation and by local governments. They provide numerous benefits and are a perfect fit for Shopping Centers that have a multi-tenant workforce.
For all of us, the ability to communicate quickly is critical—especially during an emergency. People expect to be notified when important info is available these days. I don’t know about you, but my smartphone alerts me about breaking news, sports scores, movie times… anything I want it to actually. Incorporating widely used platforms—like smartphones—into your Shopping Center’s communication strategy is a no brainer in today’s environment. Utilizing a MNS is the perfect way to do so.
Just like you, I know that often it seems like there is never enough time in the day. And when something doesn’t go as planned or an urgent situation develops your tenant’s satisfaction and peace of mind will decline when they feel uninformed.
Let me say that again. Your tenant’s satisfaction and peace of mind will decline. Satisfaction and peace of mind are some of those intangible benefits of a MNS. Have you ever left your smartphone at home for the day? How did you feel? I know I can’t stand it. I feel disconnected and like I am missing out on everything. Well, a MNS can help reassure your tenants that they won’t miss out on anything.
Not to be so doom and gloomy, but do you know the most likely emergencies that could occur at your Shopping Center? Where are you vulnerable? What would you do if something happened right now? Planning is the key to either avoiding these situations or being prepared to react effectively. A key component in managing a crisis is to ensure effective communication. In my opinion, a MNS should be an integral part of your emergency action plan’s communication efforts when a crisis occurs.
Safety aside, how do you pump out day-to-day communications to your tenants? How you communicate even routine information can impact your tenant satisfaction and overall reputation. Once again, tenants want to be kept informed. It is inevitable that things won’t always go as planned, just ask Paul Blart, but what helps you stand apart is how you react when things do go wrong.
You get it. A MNS can help you communicate effectively both during an emergency and on a day-to-day basis. So, how can it make your life easier as a landlord or property manager? MNSs can help your Shopping Center increase its operational efficiency, drive revenue and mitigate risk. Whoa! Tell you more? Okay. Self-registration portals reduce administrative load, increasing tenant satisfaction and peace of mind, which can help encourage lease renewals. Additionally sending messages via multiple channels reduces safety risks by increasing the readership of messages that contain critical information. Just a few examples of how MNSs are good for business.
Just like any product out there, knowing which one is right for you and your Shopping Center depends on a variety of factors like budget constraints and your communication priorities. Take a minute to think about your Shopping Center’s specific priorities. Write them down. Discuss them with colleagues.
It shouldn’t take you too long to develop a usage plan for a MNS because they are so relevant in today’s digital and information era. I just scraped the surface on why I think a Mass Notification System is an ideal communication tool for Shopping Centers. The great thing about MNSs is they can be used in countless ways to keep communications flowing and keep your tenants happy.