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Whether you want to call it emergency planning, businesses continuity, or just plain common sense: any business with a significant number of staff and customers needs the ability to react swiftly to any unexpected event. Sectors including insurance, retail, hospitality, banking and healthcare are all taking advantage of SMS notifications to keep staff and customers informed, mitigate the effects of a crisis and get organised at short notice.
System outages, dramatic weather events, political upheavals, IT events and health emergencies are all circumstances where SMS alerts can play an important role.
Other channels like Email and social media are great for communications that aren’t time-sensitive, but SMS continues to be the best and most ubiquitous messaging platform.”
Eileen Carroll, Púca CEO
In the past decade, most hospitals and clinics in Europe have adopted SMS for patient appointment confirmations with the aim of reducing “Do not attends” also known as DNAs. Conversely, in the case of an outbreak such as Covid-9, patients can be told to stay away if there has been a suspected case – and SMS is ideal to get the message out at short notice. For more on how SMS is being used in the healthcare system ready our Industry focus article SMS proves vital in the Healthcare Sector.
Following proven successes for SMS disease notifications in Kenya, the global Early Warning and Response System (EWARS) project is a World Health Organisation initiative to catch and monitor disease outbreaks early on to be able to contain them in emergencies and SMS plays a key role.
“If the reports trigger an alert or notification, an SMS will be sent back to the phone to allow immediate public health action. This can prompt an outbreak investigation and the collection of laboratory samples, to confirm if a disease outbreak is present or not”. (WHO)
SMS is also useful for making emergency services accessible for the hard of hearing, as outlined in this customer story about the BT ECAS emergency 112 SMS service.
The 112 SMS service allows deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people to pre-register and use the emergency 112 SMS service to access all the frontline emergency services; An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance service, the Fire service, and the Irish Coastguard.
A good enterprise SMS platform like Impower™ will give you and your team the ability to store message templates and set up mass alerts quickly from either your PC or your smartphone. You can track in real time if messages have been opened and read, and also receive and view inbound text messages. If you have in-house systems that handle notifications but need to integrate SMS then check out the Impower API which allows you to quickly add automated SMS to the mix.
So don’t just wait for the unexpected – be prepared by including SMS in your communications toolkit.