How TrueDialog helps higher education institutions communicate with students in times of crisis

TrueDialog’s SMS solutions ensure clear communication at colleges and universities even during a global pandemic.

COVID-19 is the biggest crisis the education sector has seen in a long time. Nobody could have prepared for the bulk closings of locations in the United States and around the world. With colleges and universities offering courses and learning materials online, it is more important than ever that these institutions have solid communication infrastructures. If teachers can effectively stay in touch with students during a crisis, they can help reduce isolation and minimize academic disruption.

SMS is an essential way of communication for students, especially in times of crisis. As a leading provider of SMS solutions, TrueDialog offers SMS systems for companies that connect employees and students not only during these turbulent times, but also during everyday college life. Educational institutions use TrueDialog to simplify correspondence and bring all communication channels together in one user-friendly system.

TrueDialog recommends higher education institutions create SMS plans to allow seamless communication with students, both during lockdown and upon student return to campus. Thus, you can use TrueDialog’s SMS solutions to plan an SMS strategy that will keep all students informed during a crisis or otherwise.

Create an SMS plan

Before texting students, it is important to plan how your college or university will use your text messaging system during a crisis. TrueDialog recommends putting together a communication framework that specifies which groups of students must receive messages and at what times. This point in time is particularly important in a crisis.

You can keep SMS running smoothly by creating templates in a calendar format so that you have a clear list of the timed updates to send. You can then segment your contact list so that you only send valuable messages to each student and meet their individual needs. Once you’ve scheduled text updates and notifications for upcoming events, it’s much easier to add additional updates as new circumstances emerge.

You need to encourage your text communication so that students know the system is available and can log in. Explain to students how they will benefit from the SMS plan on your social media platforms, in emails, on your website, and in voicemail greetings. Make sure you follow the text messaging rules set out by the TCPA to avoid breaking any laws about personal information. If you only send emergency messages, students only need to provide their phone numbers. However, if you want to include copywriting in your SMS plan, you will need to get explicit consent from students first.

One-way and two-way SMS communication from TrueDialog

TrueDialog offers a one-way SMS system for educational institutions that need to send bulk notifications and a two-way SMS system for institutions that need to have text conversations with students. The system your institution needs can vary during a crisis.

When sending one-way text notifications, use a speed dial phone number and keyword to make it easier to sign in. Short codes have five or six digits and are used for mass communication. If you use a long code to send bulk messages, there is a risk that wireless service providers will mark your messages as spam and possibly block your texts.

Examples of disposable bulk messages include texts telling students about exam dates, assignment due dates, online class schedules, study resources, virtual event reminders, motivational messages, admission registration reminders, grant reminders, new program announcements, updates to the School closings and emergencies will be informed of warnings, quarantine tips and COVID-19 case updates.

In the meantime, you’ll need to use a long code phone number if you want to have two-way calls. These 10 digit codes are not great for sending bulk messages, but they are perfect for one-to-one correspondence. Colleges and universities can use long codes to text individual students and get quicker responses than they would likely get via email. It is important to include all two-way conversations in the SMS schedule so administrators know which students they are responsible for communicating with. A consistent SMS system ensures that each student has a single point of contact for every conversation, avoiding confusion and building trust. You can also set up autoresponders so students know when to expect responses from each employee.

Examples of bidirectional messages are texts that discuss general questions about timetables, online course availability, and office hours. Questions from the advisor about choosing classes for the next semester, granting financial support and securing career opportunities; and class-specific questions on specific topics, tasks or exams.

Improvement of the communication with TrueDialog

Colleges and universities are expected to reopen in the fall when they hopefully return to a new normal. The virus can be temporary, but the need for consistent communication is permanent. Higher education institutions are under immense pressure to lock down advanced communication systems, and these solutions will continue to be vital as schools return to class. Clear communication is vital now and in the future.

Schedule a TrueDialog demo with a higher education SMS expert or start your free trial at www.truedialog.com.