How First Onsite Reached their Frontline Employees with Employee SMS from ContactMonkey

Improving crisis communications with employee text alerts


Improve crisis communications for frontline employees


Adding SMS to an existing plan for an integrated omnichannel approach

Focus Feature

Employee SMS


  • When stepping into the Director of Global Internal Communications role, Toni needed an effective internal communications plan that answered First Onsite’s varied communication needs.
  • First Onsite is a restoration company that responds to emergencies such as environmental disasters. They have about 2,800 employees, 80 percent of whom are on the front lines.
“Our skilled tradesmen are what we call our boots on the ground. Whenever there’s an area-wide event and we have to mobilize people, they’re the ones that go.”
  • In an emergency, mobilizations need to happen as quickly as possible to prevent further damage and allow those affected by disasters to return to their home or business sooner.
  • For the best outcomes, tradesmen need to be notified quickly, the notifications need to send reliably, and the information needs to be easy for those responders to access.  
“A lot of [First Onsite employees] aren't in front of a computer or a laptop.”
  • With the majority of First Onsite’s workers relying solely on their phones for work communications, the possibility of responders missing notifications or not seeing crucial information embedded in an email was a serious concern. 


  • First Onsite needed a way to address their multiple internal communications needs, from sending organization-wide newsletters to emergency mobilizations. 
  • Communications had to be mobile-friendly and be fast to create, send, and deliver, while also encouraging employee engagement. 
  • Since First Onsite provides restoration services all across the United States and Canada, they needed to be able to segment their communications to only reach employees in relevant geographic regions.
  • Tracking capabilities would also be key for understanding whether employees were engaging with communications and adjusting the strategy accordingly. 
  • First Onsite had started using ContactMonkey for emails shortly before Toni joined the company. She saw its utility for use cases like internal newsletters and surveys immediately, and she decided to bring in an additional component that would check all these boxes and be invaluable for their crisis communications–ContactMonkey’s employee SMS.

How FirstOnsite Uses ContactMonkey for Time-Sensitive Crisis Communications (and More!) 

  • After adding employee SMS to their plan, First Onsite can reach their deskless employees quickly while also taking into account that messages are likely to be read on a phone, not a laptop. 
  • Before implementing SMS, First Onsite relied on email to reach responders. Texts are not only easier to read on a phone, but they’re also treated as more urgent and opened sooner—which makes them ideal for situations in which every minute matters. 
“Our most important [use of SMS] is our crisis communication. We had the hurricanes just a couple weeks ago, and I had to send out messages to mobilize people to get to where they needed to be.”
  • Distribution lists allow Toni to segment her sending—limiting the recipients of a message to only the employees who operate in the area of the emergency. 
  • Toni doesn’t only use SMS for emergency alerts, however. It’s also an easy way to send out quick organization-wide messages such as holiday greetings, as well as a fast way to embed links for employee surveys. 
  • ContactMonkey’s email tool also still sees use within the organization. Toni uses it to send out a monthly organization-wide newsletter and an HR newsletter to leaders every other month. Plus, regular emails about organizational changes, surveys, training, and other important administrative information. 
  • Emails made in ContactMonkey’s email template builder are responsive and mobile-friendly, making them accessible even to employees who only read communications on their phones.
“ContactMonkey has been a huge improvement over just sending an email through Outlook.”
  • Toni makes regular use of ContactMonkey’s SMS and email analytics to get ongoing insights about First Onsite’s internal communications.
“I rely very heavily on the analytics because it shows me what's working, what's not working, what content resonates and does not, and how I can massage it or find a different channel or whatever I need to do to make it more engaging so that they are doing the hundred percent click-opens. It's also very helpful where it shows me the different links that are being clicked on. That's super helpful to me.”
  • When First Onsite first started tracking engagement with ContactMonkey, the monthly newsletter had open rates of 55% and only 40% read rates. After looking at the analytics, the newsletter content was tweaked based on feedback from team members. Open rates went up to 100%, and 55% of people now spend more than a minute reading the newsletter.
“We've seen a great improvement from that February to the August newsletter.”

Key Takeaways

  • ContactMonkey’s employee SMS capabilities allow First Onsite to contact their frontline employees fast when there is an emergency, as well as send out short communications in a format ideal for deskless employees. 
  • Using the email template builder, their in-house design team can easily build branded templates for their internal communications. Emails built in the template builder are visually engaging and responsive, so they look great both when read on a computer and viewed on a phone. 
  • Tracking and analytics offer insights on how to refine the communications strategy. Features like SMS link tracking and email click maps allow internal communicators to immediately see what’s getting engagement and what isn’t and adjust accordingly. 

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