We are often asked the question by our AMG Alerts customers and prospects “How quickly will all of our people receive the message once we launch it?”
Some companies answer this question by giving statistics about the throughput of their system, whether it’s text, email, voice, etc. Such a reply is misleading. The correct answer to that question is “whenever the message becomes available to the recipient”
Yes, front-end system performance is important, but it really isn’t the determining factor in recipients’ getting the message. In the case of text messaging, carrier networks have to get the messages to devices. The device needs to be available to the network, the network can’t be overloaded with data, and the device must be in the possession of the recipient. So, applying common sense, “all” recipients might not get the message for minutes, hours, or days.
Voice messaging has variables too. A power outage may render landline phones useless, to a significant degree. And if you are sending to a wireless device, you have the same issues as mentioned above.
If you are ringing landline phones in an office environment, normally there isn’t enough bandwidth available to the local equipment to actually ring every extension at the same time. In many cases, less than half of the extensions can be in use at any given time, so an automated system receives busy signals and has to keep trying at various intervals.
In any case, about half of voice calls result in a voicemail being left, so of course the recipient must first discover and listen to the voicemail.
In the case of email, it has to have not gone to spam, the email has to be checked, and the message must be noticed and read.
Common sense? For the most part, yes. What it means is that if people need to be informed of something quickly, it usually means that you need to use as many modes as possible, and a lot needs to go right. Fortunately, most messages sent do not need to be received in seconds, and notification systems largely fulfill their promise, as a whole. But remember that it is what happens downstream that counts.