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The Power of a Messaging Failover System: Harnessing Context Without the Blast

This article was published on August 3, 2021

It would be difficult to overstate the value and utility modern messaging solutions bring to businesses, their employees, and their clientele. The format has effectively taken over the world, turning all sorts of devices into visual communication mediums. People still call their moms on Mother’s Day and relay detailed information to colleagues over the phone, but an IM or email has become less of a failover system in recent years and more of a primary means of communication, rivaling or even surpassing voice communications.

There is a potential challenge inherent to all this text-based chatter, however. Different formats are better for different types of information, and an SMS is not an email is not an IM ping. Finding the right medium to deliver a message can be especially challenging for retailers providing support or selling products and services.

Businesses generally do have some idea of which text-based mediums their customers and employees prefer, but bleedover is sometimes necessary. This situation makes a failover system for communications appealing in various professional, support, and sales contexts. Though contacting customers or colleagues in multiple channels simultaneously is a serious messaging faux pas, a tool that automatically messages a secondary medium at a set interval can be critical for businesses looking to deliver important info.

Failover Messaging Matters

The massive growth of e-commerce has given rise to several ancillary industries. “Last mile” delivery, for instance, capitalizes on the relative rigidity of older, larger delivery services: When that package absolutely must be delivered at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, a last mile organization’s driver will often be the one making that happen.

These organizations have increasingly turned to direct communication with customers — often automated or anonymized through proprietary, API-driven mobile applications — to ensure everyone knows the package is en route. But what does a last-miler do when they reach out to a customer’s highest-engagement communication medium and get no response? How do they ascertain that a qualified person is home to accept a high-ticket product or ensure the right person took the item off the porch?

This situation is where the value of a failover system for messaging is plain to see. After a set interval, the do-you-have-it message automatically defaults to a second form of contact on the customer’s file, such as an IM handle or email. If the customer is at the computer, they get a second chance to confirm to the last-miler that the package is in the right hands.

Last mile companies are far from the only organizations that can make good use of an automated failover system. The cable installer trying to confirm that someone is home to let them in also stands to benefit. So, too, can house-call medical personnel, roving utility personnel, and even pizza deliverypeople. When an important, time-sensitive message requires a response, the best communication tactic is to use multiple channels with failover protocol.

Better Confirmation, Better Reach

Of course, not all businesses deliver products or services to customer homes, and many organizations have communication needs that are not as client-facing. For these situations, failover messages have real potential to affect operations on both sides of the counter, facilitating nuance and context sensitivity.

Consider a business problem so big and costly that it qualifies as an industry unto itself: Healthcare industry no-shows. According to Health Management Technology, missed appointments cost healthcare systems some $150 billion per year, making the average health system yearning to minimize their financial and operational effect.

Failover messaging can help do just that. By moving the standard automated are-you-coming confirmation message to a secondary engagement channel after a set interval, healthcare organizations of all sizes gain another chance to confirm attendance without appearing pushy. If the consumer responds to the first message, the second won’t ever be sent.

On the other end, smart failover can improve operations and productivity without keeping personnel chained to a given device all day long. Say an office needs to reach a high-level executive or manager with an important (but not phone-call important) question. If the manager is not at her desk to receive Viber or WhatsApp requests, automated failover kicks in, ensuring the branch office gets its question answered in a relatively timely manner without reaching out directly via SMS. This process maintains standard protocol and spares the branch from the wrath of an irritated high-level supervisor.

Unfailing Failover Systems

There are a million use cases like these, and they all stem from the same high-level idea that communication works harder for an office when it can be configured to work up the chain. Failover provides that capability, streamlining customer- and internal-facing comms without the irritations of multi-format blast messaging — a small difference on paper with big potential in practice.

Vonage staff

Vonage staff

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