Tuesday, January 18, 2011
by Natalia Klishina This past weekend was UCI's homecoming, and the UCI Alumni Association already had a plan to get the message out. Same as last year, they recorded a message providing information on when and where the basketball game would take place, as well as urging alumni to reserve their tickets now by going to the alumni website. CallFire dialed 42,000 numbers at a rate of 400 calls per minute, each call ending with the message, "This call is powered by alumnus-owned CallFire.com, pay-as-you-go group messaging." Later this spring, the Paul Merage School of Business will also be using CallFire. They'll be sending out nearly 2,000 reminders for their 2011 Reunion with our voice broadcast technology. It's a quick and simple solution to getting the word out to thousands of people at once, for one low cost. So if you are in some way involved with an educational institution -- whether it's a small kindergarden or a large university like UCI -- check out these ways you could use CallFire cloud telephony services:

5 Ways Educational Institutions Should Use Cloud Telephony

  1. EVENTS: Schools, colleges, and universities can use CallFire voice broadcasts or SMS blasts to send invitations and reminders about upcoming events. A great example is what UCI's Alumni Association did with their homecoming reminders -- or what the Merage business school will be doing with their 2011 reunion. No matter how small or big your institution and no matter what kind of event it is, with pay-as-you-go broadcasting services, CallFire can provide an easy, affordable way to notify any number of people. You can even get creative and automatically collect RSVP's by inserting a simple phone tree (IVR). CallFire will then collect and report all that data right back to you so that you can plan your event for a specific number of people.
  2. EMERGENCY NOTIFICATIONS: Use CallFire to notify everyone on and off campus about emergencies. Having an evacuation or lockdown? Send out simultaneous pre-recorded voice and sms broadcasts to all students, faculty, and even parents. Remember to have a few practice drills first (perhaps only including students and faculty)! Having a sudden snow day? We wouldn't know anything about that here in LA, but we hear schools cancel classes on snow days. CallFire can provide you with an easy way to send out a last-minute reminder. (Just don't do it like Prince George's County School Board and call parents at the ungodly hour of 4:30am.) Please refer to one of our previous articles to read more about how CallFire is best used in emergency situations.
  3. ALUMNI DONATIONS: Are you calling alumni to ask them for donations? I know you are, since I'm definitely receiving these calls. Make it easier for students to contact alumni for donations with CallFire's power dialing technology. You can allow your agents to call from anywhere and monitor their activity from your account. CallFire can automatically hang up or drop messages on answering machines, connecting your agents to live people one after another and speeding up the process nearly two-fold.
  4. CLASS UPDATES: Professors and teachers, take matters into your own hands. Make sure your messages always reach your students -- even the ones who claim to not get your e-mails. Upload your students' phone numbers into CallFire and send out SMS reminders about large assignments being due, schedule changes, classroom relocations, and special events you'd like them to attend. Leave no excuse for lateness or forgetfulness. You and I both know students check their text messages 24/7 (even when in class).
  5. HIGH SCHOOL APPLICATIONS: Take a leap into the high-tech future (or present, rather) at your admissions office, and automate your correspondence with applicants. You can do this in a number of creative ways. For example, you could allow interested high school students to sign up for SMS reminders about scholarship opportunities or upcoming application deadlines. It's something I would have certainly found useful in high school, and the number of schools an average high school student applies to is only going up, making it harder to keep track of all the different deadlines. Another useful application would be to upload lists of accepted and rejected applicants once final decisions are made, and to notify them by phone. You could do this with a pre-recorded message from your dean, or with a simple text message. Take all the waiting out of the process!
And don't limit yourself with these 5! Get creative and come up with new ways to make voice and sms technology work for you. Give us a call at 877.897.FIRE to help put your ideas into action.