Alert Solutions Blog

Survey Reveals Baby Boomers’ Rental Property Wants & Needs

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Oct 08, 2015 @ 12:10 PM

Over 76 million Americans are in the age bracket known as “baby boomers”. According to Multifamily Executive, this is the second-largest demographic group nationwide.

In conjunction with J Turner Research, Multifamily Executive sought out to determine baby boomers’ wants and needs when looking for a rental property.  The groups sent a survey to over 25,000 participants.

For property managers looking to retain their baby boomer tenants at their rental property, pay attention to the following trends:

1. Baby Boomers Care about Online ReviewBabyBoomerRenters
63% of those surveyed said they read online reviews about a particular rental property or property management company before signing a lease.  Interestingly, only 21% of baby boomers surveyed have been encouraged by their property manager to post a review after settling in.
2. Their Top Concerns are Safety, Cleanliness and Quietness
92% prefer safety, 90% cleanliness and 82% quietness.  These are the most important factors in a rental property according to baby boomers.
3. Property Managers Should Market Vacant Units Appropriately
55% of baby boomers rate internet listing sites (ILSs) as the best way to find a new rental property.  44% actually prefer to drive by and take in the curb-appeal of available listings.
4. Social Media is Not a Preferred Form of Communication
25% of baby boomers say they don’t even use social media; something to take into consideration when sharing information with your rental community.

BONUS TIP = Property managers can stay in touch with their tenants through other preferred communication methods besides social media, such as email, voice and SMS text messaging.
Alert Solutions is used by property managers to send emergency and non-messages in tenants’ preferred communication methods.  To learn more, download our brochure!

Ready To Go Digital? Click here to learn more.

Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Oct 06, 2015 @ 09:10 AM

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, a month dedicated to discussing and supporting efforts to reduce the harmful effects of bullying and cyberbullying on students in k-12 schools.

Did you know bullying is said to be the number two health concern for youth? Coming just under childhood obesity, the effects of bullying can be just as deadly and long-lasting as physical health problems. Here is some of the latest research:parentsandbullying-resized-600

Bullying is a Serious Issue for the Entire School Environment
Research supports the fact that students who are bullied are also more likely to be absent, negatively affecting their academic performance. Ensuring every k-12 school has a bullying prevention strategy is crucial to the success of every student.
Bullying in Teen Years Doubles Risk of Depression as Adults
The British National Child Development study tracked 7,700 children starting in 1958. As the children aged, they were asked about their social relationships, mental health, professional and economic situations and quality of life. The study showed the following side effects from school bullying were actively present in adults: depression, anxiety, suicide, lower educational levels, and a higher risk of being unemployed.
The Difference Between In-Person Bullying and Cyberbullying
Many studies say bullying is still most prevalent in-person. However, researchers at the University of New Hampshire suggest that cyberbullying could be less harmful than in-person bullying. However, the study also revealed that the combination of cyberbullying with in-person bullying is the most distressing to students.
The short term and long term effects of bullying are staggering. Here are a few tips to help k-12 schools combat this growing issue:
1. Add Anti-Bullying Education to the Curriculum 
As part of the curriculum, students should learn to identify bullying actions in themselves and others. They should also promote student engagement, which will help create a more positive school environment.
2. Implement an Anonymous Communication System 
There should be an established system for a student to report school bullying incidents and get immediate help.
3. Promote School-Wide Bullying Awareness Events
There should be school-wide events that focus the student body on bullying. October is National Bullying Prevention Month! This is a great time of year to schedule activities and events that help raise awareness of school bullying prevention.
For more tips and tricks, download our Guide to Bullying Prevention today!

Download our  Bullying Prevention Guide!

Topics: student health, bullying, cyberbullying, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, school programs

Appointment Reminder Study for Dental Patients: Most Prefer SMS Text

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Oct 01, 2015 @ 11:10 AM

Direct mail reminders just won’t cut it anymore.  That’s the message resonating with dentists as patient communication preferences shift to electronic forms of communication, especially SMS text messaging.

According to a study referenced by the California Dental Association, 30% of patients, the largest segment, reported SMS text messaging as their preferred method of receiving an appointment reminder.DoctorMobileApp-2

The full results of the survey are as follows:

With the vast majority preferring an electronic appointment reminder option, it’s clear to see the trend away from direct mail reminders.

Dentists should be paying attention; like other forms of medicine, missed appointments represent the most significant loss of revenue to dental providers.  And because retaining a current patient is far more efficient than attracting a new one, reminding them of their appointments is just as important as ever.

Below are a couple more interesting findings from the survey:

The Timing of the Reminder is Important
The same study confirmed that most dental patients prefer to receive an automated appointment reminder at least one to three days in advance of their actual scheduled appointment.
Scheduling and Re-Scheduling
Many dental providers may not know that as many as 40% of patients would rather schedule an appointment electronically than in person.
Don’t Forget!  HIPAA regulations prevent medical providers from including certain information in message content.  The patient’s first name, appointment date, time and medical practice information is permissible.
Are you thinking of implementing SMS text messaging or other electronic message reminders in your dental practice?  Alert Solutions offers automated SMS text messaging reminders in addition to email and voice. 
Check Out Our Suite of Healthcare Solutions.

Topics: SMS text messaging, appointment reminders, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication

Can a Four-Day School Week Improve Student Achievement?

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 @ 10:09 AM

The four-day school week has been a hot topic among k-12 school administrators over the past year. For example, last August we shared a story about a school in Oklahoma that implemented a four-day school week in hopes of reducing student absenteeism.

Recently, a study published in “Education and Finance Policy” suggests that shortening the school week to four days versus five could improve student test scores.

Over the course of two years, researchers looked at 14 schools that made the switch from a traditional five-day school week to four - adding several hours to each school day to meet basic instructional requirements.

four_dayDespite researchers expecting to see a drop in student achievement, the results suggested otherwise:
Math Scores Improved For Fourth and Fifth Grade Students
Reading Scores Remained Steady
These findings suggest there is little evidence that moving to a four-day school week compromises student academic achievement.
Furthermore, many schools that adopt a four-day school week find parents tend to schedule appointments and events on Fridays to avoid taking the student out of school – reducing student absenteeism.
More than 30% of school districts in Colorado have already adopted a four-day school week. Schools in New Mexico and Wyoming also participate in this new schedule. Other states on the fence include Oregon, Missouri, Florida and Georgia.
Is your school thinking about implementing a four-day school week? Share your thoughts with us!


Topics: attendance, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education

Creating Relevant Email Marketing Content – 4 Tips for Success

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Sep 24, 2015 @ 10:09 AM

According to MarketingSherpa, using relevant email marketing content is one of the most important, but underutilized, elements of a successfull email marketing campaign.

It becomes clear, then, why consumers cringe at email marketing campaigns that promote a product or service that’s of no interest to them.  As an email marketer, you may even share the same frustrations with your own personal email inbox.

A good step to improved email marketing performance is definitely more relevant email marketing content.

At this year’s annual MarketingSherpa Email Summit, experts shared their tips on increasing relevance in their email content.  Check it out:


Tip #1: Set realistic goals.
Tip #2: Take the time to develop good email marketing content.
Tip #3: Segment your recipients.
Tip #4: Use data to its fullest advantage.
Things to keep in mind:
At first, you may not be able to achieve 100% relevance for all of your subscribers.  Don’t give up!  This is why goal setting is so important.  Consider the effect you want increased email marketing relevance to have: better open rates, better click-through rates, more conversions, or all of the above?  Start with a goal that can be achieved and ramp-up from there.
Also, remember that email marketing relevance is nothing without list segmentation. Segmenting your subscribers by their demographics, interests or past behavior will yield much better email marketing campaign results.  How else can I go about list segmentation?  Good question.  Check out this blog post for some answers.
With email marketing being the most-preferred communication method by consumers (over 70% of respondents said so), it’s easy to see why relevant email marketing content is so crucial to organizations.
In addition to the great resources at MarketingSherpa, check out Alert Solutions’ Target Marketing Guide for even more email marketing relevance tips and tricks.

Personalization and Segmentation Download the Best Practice Kit!

Topics: personalization, list segmentation, audience targeting, marketing relevance, email marketing, email marketing best practices

Using Social Media in the Classroom – 3 Tips for Teachers

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Sep 22, 2015 @ 11:09 AM

Despite the expansion of EdTech tools as classroom resources, educators have not warmed to the idea of embracing social media as quickly as other types of classroom technology. 

In fact, 87% of K-12 teachers have still not integrated social media into classroom learning. This surprising statistic comes from a new University of Phoenix College of Education survey. Here are some other revelations from the survey:


20% of teachers feel intimidated by students’ knowledge and use of technology devices.

59% believe using personal tech devices outside of the classroom make it more difficult for students to pay attention in a group setting in the classroom.

82% of teachers worry about conflicts that can occur from using social media with students and/or parents.

62% of teachers say they have had minimal or no training in the area of interacting with students and parents through social media.

48% of teachers express the desire to learn more about integrating technology in the classroom.

To help minimize the reluctance many teachers in k-12 schools have about using social media in the classroom, here are some helpful tips:

1. Create Student Social Media Guidelines
If your k-12 school has guidelines for social media use already, make sure your students are aware and understand them. If your school district does not have any social media guidelines in place, consider creating some.  
2. Involve Your Class in a Social Service Project
Explore projects online that your students can get involved in to help make the world a better place. For example, Choose2Matter is a global movement that encourages students to use their imagination to figure out how social media can be used to help others.
3. Connect With Classrooms Around the World
Projects such as Global Read Aloud allows you to connect students in your classroom with other students worldwide. Another example is Connected Classrooms, a program that connects k-12 teachers with virtual field trip resources.  
TIP! Schools can start small by using social media as a communication tool! Student families are increasingly turning to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook as an additional means of getting information about their K-12 school.
By keeping your school’s social media pages updated with the latest school alerts, student families and staff members can rely on Facebook and Twitter as a resource.
Does your k-12 school have a social media policy? Share it with us!

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, social media education, school programs

3 Ways to Improve Tenant Communication at Your Property

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 @ 10:09 AM

Property managers that communicate effectively with their tenants enjoy higher tenant retention rates, higher tenant satisfaction levels, and more profitable, efficient real estate operations.

With the benefits so apparent, could your property management team’s tenant communication use any improvement?  It might be worth a look.

An article from Lowe’s ProServices offers excellent advice for property managers looking to improve effective tenant communication at their properties.  Here are just a few examples:automatedcollectionreminder

#1) Become Accustomed to Listening
Although a two-way dialogue between tenants and property managers is essential for effective communication, property managers already know that most of the communication they can expect involves a maintenance or lease concern.  By actively listening to these conversations, tenants feel that there is sincere and urgent concern for their problems.
#2) Encourage Feedback at All Times
According to experts, “property managers must learn as much as they can about each tenant to establish trust and facilitate future interactions”. A significant component of this is encouraging feedback.  This gives the tenant the opportunity to be expressive and the property manager the opportunity to rectify any issues before a tenant becomes dissatisfied.  This strengthens tenants’ confidence and goes a long way in increasing tenant retention.
#3) Respect Preferred Forms of Tenant Communication
Your tenants are a diverse group of individuals.  As such, you may not be able to reach them all in exactly the same way.  Once you gather communication preferences for your tenants, one way to ensure the most effective tenant communication is to adopt a multi-channel notification system.
In the end, effective tenant communication could mean fewer lease turnovers and less vacant unit expenses.
Alert Solutions allows property managers to send messages to tenants in their preferred communication methods. Download our brochure and start improving tenant communication today!


Alert Solutions' Resident Reach Download the Brochure!

Topics: property management, tenant retention, tenant communication, tenant satisfaction

School Absenteeism Rates Linked to Achievement Gaps

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 @ 10:09 AM

According to a new report released by Attendance Works and Healthy Schools Campaign, gaps in school attendance rates are contributing to achievement gaps and high school dropout rates in the US - starting as early as preschool! Here are some key findings from the report:

1. Students in Kindergarten Have Absenteeism Rates as High as Teenagers
Poor attendance is often seen as a problem in middle and high school. However, reports indicate it is also an issue in early grades. For example, in Rhode Island 16% of kindergarten students miss too much school compared to 17% of 8th graders. Research shows that students who miss school days in the early years tend to have weaker reading skills and lower graduation rates.

2. Low-Income Students Face Attendance Gap That Undermines Achievement in All States
Analysis of NAEP data shows that 23% of low-income fourth graders miss three or more days the month prior to the test, compared with 17% of their peers. Weak attendance rates often reflect the challenges that accompany poverty including unstable housing, homelessness and unreliable transportation.

Bonus Fact: Chronically truant students at all income levels experience lower test scores.
3. Physical and Mental Health Concerns Cause Many Absences in Early Grades
Did you know asthma is a leading cause of absenteeism at all ages? It accounts for 14 million missed days nationwide! Absences due to depression and anxiety are harder to quantify, but rob many students of valuable learning time. Anxiety and depression are two very common side effects of school bullying.
The report also highlights the power of state legislatures to tackle school absenteeism by tapping key champions, using data to identify students and schools with high chronic absence rates, especially in the early grades.
In previous blog posts we have shared what some states are doing to help combat absenteeismHere are a few examples:

Student Attendance Rates Becomes Driver’s License Requirement in Nevada
When applying for a driver’s license, a student between 14-18 years old must submit a letter from school officials confirming they have met the attendance requirements.
Reducing Chronic Truancy: Michigan School Districts Revamp Attendance Policies
At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, Detroit Public Schools implemented the 3-6-9 policy.   The new attendance policy is a district-wide formalization of past practices, which calls for intervention after a student accrues 3 unexcused absences.
Are you looking to reduce absenteeism in your school? Download our best practice guide today for tips and tricks!

Download Now!

Topics: attendance, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, truancy

Automated Patient Reminders Proven Effective for Recalls, Survey Says

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 @ 10:09 AM

Patients who miss their scheduled appointments or fail to complete preventive screening are of particular concern to healthcare providers.  If the patient is 65 years or older, the concern is even greater.

Unfortunately, keeping these patients engaged with their health has been somewhat of a challenge.  CDC figures have indicated that more than 50% of patients 65 or older have not completed all clinical preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Following the introduction of Meaningful Use, specifically Stage 1, medical providers are required by the Department of Health & Human Services to remind patients of preventive and follow-up care using the patient-preferred communication methods.

How is this objective being received?  The Profitable Practice set out to learn more about the preventive care challenge and what’s helping to reduce it.

Their Findings:

In a 2014 survey sent to patients 65 or older, nearly 80% said an automated patient reminder would cause them to schedule a preventive services appointment.patientengagementrx

The communication methods used to remind patients of these matters were also important.  The survey revealed:

As could be expected, the bulk of patients over 65 prefer a phone call, but the overwhelming majority (88%) prefers an electronic communication method in general for automated patient reminders.

Has your medical practice encountered a problem with preventive screening?  It may be time to evaluate the way(s) in which you remind patients about the importance of these appointments.

Alert Solutions helps medical practices nationwide automatically recall patients for preventive and follow up care.  We can help you, too!  Download our Patient Communication Brochure today to learn more.

Alert Solutions' Patient Communication Suite Download Our Brochure!

Topics: follow-up notifications, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication

Emergency Preparedness Planning in K-12 Schools – 4 Strategies That Work

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Sep 08, 2015 @ 11:09 AM

Recent school shootings, severe weather and other emergency situations have prompted a dialogue on school safety in school communities across the country.

Student families and parents are pressing school administrators to share their current school safety plans, and work to improve security procedures and emergency preparedness guidelines.

In this day and age, school administrators must be prepared to proactively communicate about school safety. Here are 4 strategies to help emergency preparedness planning in k-12 schools:

1. Evaluate and Refine School Security Measuresemergency-resized-600
Security is often equated with equipment including metal detectors and surveillance cameras. While these measures play an important role in school security, it must be viewed as a supplement to a comprehensive school safety program. Some basic emergency preparedness measures include reducing the number of open doors and having a functional school notification system.
2. Update and Exercise School Emergency Preparedness Plans
Evaluations of school emergency plans nationwide show that while schools have emergency preparedness plans on paper, many emergency preparedness plans need improvement.  Gaps in emergency plans include a lack of training of school staff and a lack of exercising plans in cooperation with public safety partners.
TIP! School emergency plans should address emergency preparedness procedures such as lockdowns, evacuations, and emergency communications protocols with parents.
3. Strengthen Partnerships with Public Safety Officials  
School administrators should meet regularly with public safety partners including police, fire, emergency medical services and emergency management agencies. Police are strongly encouraged to train and practice the rapid response to active shooter techniques. Schools should also provide police and fire departments with updated floor plans.
4. Create Engaged Crisis Communication Plans
During an emergency situation schools need to have open communication with parents, students and staff in order to minimize miscommunication and rumors. Having an effective communication plan is vital. Most schools utilize an automated school notification system within their emergency response plans.  This allows the school to notify parents of the situation via their preferred communication method of text, email or voice. >> Example <<

Looking for more tips and tricks? Download our Emergency Preparedness Guide today!

Download Alert Solutions'  Emergency Preparedness Guide

Topics: school announcement, school safety, power announcement, powerschool, education, emergency preparedness, emergency response

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