Why using email doesn't work for planned IT maintenance alerts

Neil Conchie
October 14, 2020 8:49 AM

Reducing alert fatigue can sometimes feel like a challenge, but it's time to take action and suppress the noise.

In a world where we are almost constantly connected, it can be easy to become desensitised to alerts and notifications which can mean that important information can be missed. The benefits of reducing alert fatigue are almost endless but can include better engagement from users meaning that critical notifications are less likely to be missed as well as a better reputation for your IT team.

Limiting the amount and type of alerts can help to reduce alert fatigue, but how do you decide who needs the alert, and when?


Email Fatigue

Planned IT maintenance alerts only add to the growing alert fatigue 

Your users are likely to have an inbox full of unread emails that they're trying to work through, your IT maintenance email will be missed by some of them. It's also quite likely that some users have already found a workaround to this and set up a forward on your IT maintenance emails straight into their own folder or junk mail, so how do you cut through the noise to ensure that your planned maintenance doesn’t cause a headache for your IT service desk? We’ll have a look at a few of the options in this article.


Who needs to know?

If you are in the habit of hitting ‘send to all’ then this is likely going to contribute to alert fatigue. From a psychological point of view, the more you are exposed to something, the more you begin to tolerate, normalize and accept it. So if you regularly receive email that doesn’t affect you directly you are more likely to ignore emails of that nature in future.

If you segment your notifications so that you are sending specifically to the users, departments or locations that are likely to be affected your users are much more likely to open and interact with your notification.


Give advance notice of the maintenance

Giving advance notice of the maintenance allows your users to plan for any potential downtime effectively, and because as they were informed of the downtime prior to the event they are unlikely to contact your service desk for support allowing them to carry out the IT maintenance without being disrupted.

Giving your users a system that allows them to view a dashboard of maintenance ensures that everyone knows when maintenance will take place, but allowing them to integrate this with their own calendars allows them to manage how and when they would like to be reminded.

Targeted Notification

Use targeted notifications during maintenance

To keep your users informed during the planned maintenance period, use targeted notifications to ensure continuity. Consider how these are going to be delivered, if the IT maintenance includes your email system, how are you going to communicate with your team? A multi-channel approach is best here to ensure all users receive the right messages at the right time, even when email is unavailable.

Do you need a response to your notification?

If you require a response to your notification, then email may not be the best choice. Due to the nature of email, it may be some time before your users check their inbox, and then respond, and if the email system is down then they will not be able to receive or respond to your notification. Once you’ve received email responses, how do you then collate them to ensure you can act appropriately on the responses?

These are just some of the many reasons why emails don’t work for planned IT maintenance and how you can make better plans for your IT team to increase productivity, engagement and satisfaction.

Klaxon can help you manage your planned and unplanned IT maintenance, why not schedule a demo today to find out more?

Want to learn more? Check out this collection of incident planning articles.