Thursday, 7 August 2014

Saving lives with a "Please" and a "Thank You"

Saying "please" and "thank you" on a fire safety text message was 11 times more effective than a control text - that was one of the outcomes of a recent study we carried out in my work at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue.

The studies, we believe, were the first wide-scale behavioural insight pilot studies in the UK Fire Service. We experimented by using direct mail letters to 4,000 addresses in Doncaster, and SMS messages to 15,000 mobile phone numbers across our county.

Much more work needs to be done on this, both by us and the FRS as a whole, but the initial results from these studies indicate that cost-effective behavioural insight work can have a useful place in the fire sector’s community safety toolbox.

 The three key findings from these initial studies are:

·      Direct marketing can be a very cost-effective way of filling gaps in community safety provision left as traditional prevention teams focus on higher risk groups – response rates to our letter were up to 34%, more than eight times the industry average.
·      If adequate contact details are collected at the time of the initial Home Safety Check (HSC), direct marketing can be a central plank of an HSC “revisit” strategy. If the results of our study with “very low” risk households were replicated, we could provide assurance equivalent to an HSC for just £2.89 per household.

·      Good manners save lives – adding the words “please” and “thank you” to a text message increased response rates by 11 times, compared to the lowest response rate.

Click here to read the full report.

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