Alert Solutions Blog

Open Teacher-Parent Communication Vital to Student Success, Says Study

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Sep 01, 2015 @ 11:09 AM

Researchers from VitalSmarts have found that open parent communication with teachers about what is going on at home is vital to a student’s success.

The recent study surveyed 622 parents and teachers across the nation about their communication habits. Researchers found discrepancies in what teachers and parents thought should be shared about a student’s home life.

More than 90% of teachers felt it was important for parents to inform them of a divorce or separation.
Only 23% of splitting-up parents say they told their child’s teacher of the situation.

93% of teachers want to know about a major illness or accident in the family.
Only 21% of parents inform the teacher when this occurs.
 
The study also revealed that teachers kept parents in the dark on a variety of issues as well, including:
 
Suspected Drug Use: Only 27% of parents said the teacher contacted them.
Missing in Class: Over 30% of parents said the teacher never contacted them about truancy.
 
To help bridge the teacher-parent communication gap, researchers share the following tips and encourage both sides to take action at the beginning of the school year.powerteacherintegrationbanner-2
 
For Parents
 
1. Over-Communicate
Share your child’s background, interests and talents with teachers early in the school year. Throughout the school year, update them on any changes in their life that could impact their academic success.
 
2. Swap Contact Information
Make sure teachers know the best time and communication method to contact you.
>> School Communication Survey Results <<
 
BONUS TIP! If you have access to a Parent Portal, make sure to log in and update your contact information and communication preferences.
 
For Teachers
 
1. Call Before School Starts
Reach out to parents before school starts to introduce yourself and share your visit of the teacher-parent relationship you want to have.
 
2. Share Praise with Parents Regularly
Communicate positive events with parents when they occur. Be sure to use communication methods parents prefer, including email, voice calls and text messages!
 
Download Our Parent Engagement Strategy Guide for more tips and tricks!

Improving Parent Engagement

Topics: school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent engagement, parent communication

Property Managers Using Technology to Improve Tenant Retention

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Aug 27, 2015 @ 11:08 AM

There are several factors that influence a tenant’s decision to renew a lease agreement.  Among them is the level of tenant communication from the property manager and the quality of property maintenance received.

But according to Property Management Insider, more and more property managers have learned that technology also carries weight in many lease renewal decisions.

With the cost of attracting new tenants far more costly than retaining current ones, property managers should consider investing in technology to aid in improving tenant retention.

Here are a few ideas:TenantCommunication

Energy-Saving Devices
If you haven’t been to a home improvement store lately, the new energy-saving technology that’s available may surprise you.  Low-flow bathroom fixtures, LED lighting and programmable thermostats are all relatively-simple improvements that can help you and your tenants save energy and money.  It’s very appealing to residents that want the most out of their rent and utility bills.
 
Mobile Technology
Nearly everyone has a mobile phone this day and age.  It’s no wonder why some property managers are installing mobile technology that tenants can control from wherever they are.  Right at the press of a button, tenants can control door locks, lighting and thermostat settings right from their smartphone, to name a few examples.  These once “high-end” features are steadily making their way more mainstream.
 
Digital Communication
Tenants regularly in touch with their property manager feel more confident that they will be available when a question or concern arises.  We also know that consistent tenant communication plays a major role in a tenant’s lease renewal decision, so why not leverage technology?   The applications are endless – from tenant satisfaction surveys to inclement weather notifications, property managers can use email, voice and SMS text messaging for efficient, two-way communication.

Alert Solutions can be the first step in improving technology at your rental community.  Download our Property Management brochure to learn more about our communication solutions today.

To read more tech tips from Property Management Insider, click here to access the rest of the article.

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

Attendance Awareness Month is September – Start Planning Now!

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

I think we all can agree, students must attend school regularly to benefit from what is taught there. However, an estimated 5 million to 7.5 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school each year.  

Here are some other startling statistics:
-  By 6th grade, chronic absenteeism becomes a leading indicator that a student will dropout
-  Absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the year.
- Student attendance improves when schools engage students and parents in positive ways.
 
September is fast approaching, which means that Attendance Awareness Month is almost here! K-12 schools across the country are participating and working to combat this growing issue.

To help get your school started, here are some simple tips from Attendance Works for different members of your school community:

1. Superintendents
Superintendents can lead the school district in monitoring chronic absenteeism and intervening with students that are headed down a bad path. It should be made very clear that improved student attendance is one of your top priorities!

DID YOU KNOW? K-12 schools across the country send attendance alerts to parents when a student is truant. This has been shown to drastically reduce chronic absenteeism. Click here to read about a school that is experiencing real results.

2. Principals
Principals can create a culture of attendance in their k-12 school. Here are three things principals can do right away to reduce chronic absentattendnaceeeism:
  1. Engage Students and Families
  2. Recognize Improved Student Attendance
  3. Provide Personalized Early Outreach
3. Teachers
Teachers know that too many absences can disrupt learning.  Here are two things teachers can do to build a culture of attendance in the classroom:
  1. Emphasize Attendance from Day One
  2. Use Parent-Teacher Conferences to Discuss Attendance

For more best practice tips, download our Guide to Reducing Chronic Truancy today!

Download Now!

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

3 Simple Ways to Increase Patient Engagement with Social Media

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Aug 20, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

Many medical practices have increased their social media presence lately.  Not only does it provide great marketing opportunity, it also allows office staff to engage with patients in new ways.

In addition, patients are welcoming their healthcare providers on social media more than ever before.  According to Cardinal Web Solutions, a recent survey found that over 90% of millennials would trust health information on social media.

Is your medical practice maintaining a social media presence?

The following are three simple ways to increase patient engagement using social media:

1) Let everyone know you’re there.socialmediapresence
If your patients don’t know about your Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media page, they can’t connect with you!  Let your social media presence be known by including invitations on your website and in your office.  Some medical practices even promote their social media pages using links in other communication channels, such as icons in email templates.
 
2) Practice good thought-leadership.
Once your social media presence is established, don’t stop there.  Patients may be less likely to interact, and more likely to unfollow/unlike, if your social media page(s) appear inactive or stale.  Keep a recurring schedule so you don’t forget when to post new content.
 
3) Make sure your patients know you’re paying attention.
Be responsive to questions, comments, or concerns posted to your social media page(s). On Twitter, explore hashtags and weigh-in on conversations with other industry experts.  This could even allow you to collect valuable reviews and feedback that can be repurposed for testimonials.
 
Many medical practices find that the time spent on social media is well-worth their efforts.  However, proceed with caution! Due to HIPAA regulations, medical practices may only use social media as means of informational communication.  No patient-specific health information may be discussed.
 
Looking for more ways to improve patient engagement? Download our best practice guide today!

Download the Patient Communication Best Practice Guide!

Topics: Medical, patient communication, social media marketing, patient engagement

Alert Solutions Earns Spot on Inc. 5000 List for Second Straight Year

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 @ 11:08 AM

Alert Solutions, a leading provider of cloud-based multi-channel messaging and communication solutions, is excited to announce it has been named to Inc. Magazine’s 500|5000 list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in America for the second straight year.

"The story of this year’s Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership. In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top,” says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. “Business owners don’t achieve that kind of success by accident.”optimization-is-key

Over the past three years, Alert Solutions has achieved 92% growth, positioning the company at number 3,489 among 5,000. This level of growth has also placed Alert Solutions among the top 10 Rhode Island-based companies on the list, within the likes of TribalVision and Alliance Security.

“We are honored to be included on the Inc. 5000 list for the second straight year,” stated Dave Baeder, CEO of Alert Solutions. “This achievement recognizes the hardworking spirit of our employees and our dedication to creating innovative communication solutions for our customers.”

Alert Solutions is an affordable messaging delivery provider that offers services to thousands of customers in the United States and around the world. Alert Solutions has been providing messaging services since 1989, leveraging its strategic partnerships in education and healthcare along with its robust platform of email, voice broadcasting, fax and SMS text messaging.

The prestigious Inc. 5000 rankings are based on revenue growth between 2011 and 2014. The Inc. 5000's aggregate revenue is $205 billion, generating 647,000 jobs over the past three years. The 2015 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at Inc.com, is the most competitive crop in the list’s history.

Topics: property management, school announcement, Medical, power announcement, powerschool, education, awards

Increase Email Survey Responses for Valuable Feedback: 4 Steps to Follow

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

Does your organization send out email surveys?  They are particularly helpful in gaining valuable feedback from customers and prospects.  They are even fun to put together!

But the problem is rarely creating or sending the email survey, it’s getting a high survey response rate.  Organizations rushing to meet deadlines or eager to collect responses sometimes overlook important fundamentals and receive a lower survey response rate than they could otherwise achieve.

If your organization has ever wondered what could be done differently to maximize the number of email survey responses, check out the following four steps:

Step #1:  Send the Email Survey at the Right TimeEmailSurvey
You’d be surprised at how important send time is to ANY email marketing campaign, including email surveys.  Sending your email survey before the masses could get it buried in the inbox,
 while sending at peak times could get it opened, abandoned, and forgotten about before it’s completed. 
 
Step #2:  Emphasize the Importance of the Email Survey Response
If your recipient feels that their survey response is appreciated and valuable, they are more likely to take the time to respond.  Start with the email’s subject line; make sure it emphasizes importance.  Personalizing the message to your recipient is also helpful in making them feel appreciated rather than generic.
 
Step #3:  Only Include the Most Important Questions
We get it; there are many things you’d like your customers’ or prospects’ opinion on.  But with all of the email volume today, it’s a good bet that your recipients have become experts at “skimming”, or briefly scanning for any information that appeals to them.  This is why it’s crucial to keep email surveys short-and-sweet.  Complex and multi-step questions could turn-off the reader and cause them to abandon the email survey mid-way, or worse, not start it at all.
 
Step #4:  Don’t Hesitate to Send a Reminder
There’s definitely no harm in sending a reminder to those that don’t complete your email survey after the first request.  In fact, it’s a good opportunity to gather even more responses.  Just don’t be overbearing – you don’t want to risk opt-outs from your email marketing campaigns altogether.
 
Don’t let all of the effort you put in to customer email surveys go to waste; get the most responses that you can!
 
To learn more tips and tricks, download our Email Survey Best Practice Kit!

Topics: email surveys, email marketing, email marketing best practices

4 Interesting Facts about America’s K-12 Students

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

It’s back to school time already. Can you believe it? This year, nearly 53.5 million K-12 students will head back to the classroom at one of more than 129,200 schools across the country.

The Pew Research Center has revealed some key findings about this year’s K-12 student population, including:

1. America’s K-12 students are more racially diverse than ever before.K-12 Students
The U.S. Department of Education projected that minorities would outnumber whites at public schools by fall 2014. Data from the Census Bureau shows that half of Americans younger than 5 were minorities in 2013.
 
Tip! In order to communication with student families more efficiently, try using a notification system that offers a multi-language translation feature.
 
2. American K-12 students have improved in math and science over the past 20 years.
Americans are critical of the quality of the nation’s K-12 STEM instruction. Only 29% believe U.S. STEM education is above average when compared to the rest of the world. Americans, on average, also believe math and science skills are less critical to success than communication and reading skills. For example, 90% of individuals say communication is one of the most important skills for American K-12 students to get ahead.
 
3. K-12 students today are more likely to stay in school.
As of 2013, American’s high school dropout rate had reached a record low. Only 7% of 18-24 year olds that year had dropped out of high school, down from 12% in 2000. According to a recent study, staying in school helps you live longer, too!
 
Tip! Many K-12 schools across the country have started sending automated attendance notifications to parents to help reduce chronic truancy. Truant students are at a higher risk to drop out of school altogether. >> Customer Testimonial <<
 
4. Millennials are on track to be the most educated generation in history.
This is partly due to increases in higher education among minorities and educational gains for women. For example, millennial women are four times as likely to have a bachelor’s degree when compared to women in the Silent Generation (1963).
 
To learn more about this year’s k-12 student population, click here.

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

Educate Your Tenants on Safe Grilling This Summer – 5 Tips

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Aug 06, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

Grilling is one of the greatest outdoor pastimes, especially this time of year. As a property manager, your tenants may have their own outdoor grills, or you might provide a communal grill for all residents at your property to enjoy.

Regardless, grilling is not without its risks.

According to Underwriters Laboratories, 8,300 grilling fires occur each year, sending 3,000 people to the emergency room and causing an estimated $37 million in property damage. We hope that there have been no grilling incidents at your properties.

Since grilling season is still in full-swing, it’s not too late to offer your tenants some safe grilling tips.

A helpful article from Propertyware lists several, but here are some of our favorites:grilling

#1Keep grills a safe distance from the building. Grills should be at least 10 feet away from anything that could catch fire. Also remind your tenants never to grill indoors.

#2Inspect the grill before cooking to determine if it’s safe to use. On gas grills, be especially careful of leaks.

#3Never leave a grill unattended because a fire can start in a matter of seconds.

#4Have a fire extinguisher nearby at all times and know how to use it. If clothing catches on fire, remember to stop, drop and roll!

#5Be sure to regularly clean grills including the grate and drip tray. This can pose a grease fire risk if not cleaned out properly.

BONUS TIP: Not sure how to share grilling tips and other information with everyone in your rental community? Use a tenant notification system! It will ensure your recipients are reading the information and getting it through the communication channels they prefer.

Learn more about implementing a communication system for your tenants. Download Alert Solutions’ Resident Reach brochure today!

Alert Solutions' Resident Reach Download the Brochure!

Topics: holiday, property management, tenant communication, emergency preparedness

Back-to-School Parent Communication – 3 Tips for Teachers

Posted by Nina Caliri on Tue, Aug 04, 2015 @ 10:08 AM

Can you believe it? Summer is almost over and another school year is around the corner!

The best way to avoid misunderstandings with parents is to have clear and ongoing parent communication from the very beginning. The more you keep parents informed about classroom news, the more they’ll feel like a part of the team.

According to an annual survey conducted by Speak Up, how and how often a school communicates with student families has a huge impact on their opinion of their child’s school.

The result:

- Most Communicative Schools Were Perceived as Having the Best Instruction
- Top 3 Ways Parents Prefer to Communicate are via Email, Automated Voice and Text Messaging
- Parents Who Felt Disconnected with Administrators Negatively Rated Their Children’s SchoolsPowerTeacher-1

Effective teacher-parent communication not only expands parent involvement, but also creates a stronger teacher-student relationship!

Below are 3 tips teachers can use to ensure they’re effectively communicating with parents this school year:

1. Begin the year by explaining how and when you’ll keep in touch with them.
It’s important to be consistent. Decide when and how you will communicate with parents. Post these times and communication channels and send them home in your welcome letter or back-to-school newsletter. Even better, go green and send your welcome letter or back-to-school newsletter home electronically!
 
2. Assure parents that you will inform them immediately about any concerns you might have regarding their child.
Share any concerns you have about a child with their parent early on.  Parents become extremely upset when the first sign of trouble comes in the form of a progress report halfway into the marking period or worse yet, on the report card itself.
 
Tip! By integrating your SIS (student information system) with a parent notification system, you can automate these types of messages. These messages can also include attendance notifications and low lunch balance alerts.
 
3. When presenting a concern to parents, ALWAYS be ready to explain what strategies you’ve already used to address the issue and what new strategies you’re considering.
Parents don't want concerns brought up to them without a tentative action plan, which you can adjust based on their input.
 
Are you looking for more tips and tricks? Download our Parent Engagement Strategy Guide today!

Improving Parent Engagement

Topics: school notifications, school announcement, power announcement, powerschool, education, parent engagement, parent communication

3 Challenges Facing Healthcare Providers in 2015

Posted by Philip Young on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 @ 10:07 AM

It goes without saying that healthcare providers are constantly facing new challenges. This is especially true for physicians vested in the daily operations of their own medical practices. From finances to HIPAA compliance, there is a lot of information to keep track of.

One article from Medical Economics outlines many of these obstacles. Here are a few of the most common challenges:stresseddoctor

Challenge 1: Meaningful Use Stage 2Has your medical practice met meaningful use requirements? We hope so; as of February 2015, eligible professions will see a 1% reduction in Medicare reimbursements for every year they don’t attest (up to a maximum of 5%). Another point of contention is the patient requirement: 5% have to engage in their health information through a patient portal.
 
Challenge 2: Paperwork
According to The Practice Profitability Index, 70% of physicians spend at least one day per week on paperwork, up from 58% in 2013. A major source of this burden is prior authorizations, which are increasingly required by payers for prescription drugs and medical procedures. All of this administrative duty carves away at time that could otherwise be spent providing care or following up with patients.
 
Challenge 3: Increased Operational Expenses
A 2014 survey from Medical Economics revealed more than 84% of physician medical practices are doing the same or worse financially than a year earlier. With such little growth, Medical Economics offered the following tips: Many medical practices are adopting automated patient communication systems so that staff can focus on other responsibilities, like greeting patients in the office.
 
Alert Solutions offers this technology to practices using Greenway, Allscripts, and any other practice management system.
 
For more information, download our brochure.

Topics: compliance, automated patient notifications, Medical, patient communication

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