What I decided to write about today is a topic which has always intrigued me: business processes. I have had my fair share of jobs throughout my life (having sought employment from a young age) and it always brought me joy to discuss the various business processes / procedures with my employer and how they can be improved. To this day, I still see meet one of my very first employers for coffee, even after having left work there for nearly a decade.
Communication during a time of crisis commonly follows the same formula, that is a contact number is provided for employees to phone and state the emergency. Depending on how advanced the telephony setup is, it may either direct this call to one or even multiple contacts – hopefully reaching an individual which can help remedy the problem.
I personally believe this kind of setup is mostly ineffective and I will tell you why:
- Most of the time the call is going to only reach one person and if this person is unavailable then co workers will be left guessing as to what the situation might be.
- Assuming the intended person is reached, this individual must then contact other employees and notify them what is happening. This may even be prior to the start of remedying the crisis.
- A very expensive call rate will be charged should the employees be located overseas.
The alternative is fairly obvious but often ignored by organisations as a tool for communication. Many businesses seem to have forgotten the flexibility and power of SMSes (however dated the technology may currently be). SMS gateways can be developed to achieve almost any possible solution and there are even third party providers which can handle most of the technicalities on your behalf.
We can easily see the benefits of an SMS setup when using an example of a work – from – home employee’s computer or internet failure:
- One SMS message can immediately be forwardered to any number of co workers on shift, thereby keeping them up to date (in real time) as to what the situation is.
- This same SMS message can also be forwardered to workers which are not on shift, but rather on call / willing to work extra hours.
I am not saying that traditional phone / VOIP systems don’t have their place (because they definitely do), but it depends on the actual function which it is needed to serve. Taking into account that emergency situations specifically are often very simple to describe and therefore don’t require the overhead and inherent delays of voice communication.
The solution is to rather have any emergency communication instantly reach all important parties and SMS is the tool to achieve this. You could be even more prepared as a business though and offer both SMS and telephonic based communication mediums for use in a moment of crisis.