It is vital for organizations to recognize the significance of proper messaging systems, whether they are used for internal communication or an outbound call center. A recently reported incident at Ball State University emphasizes the problems presented by a perceived weakness in emergency messaging services and the desire by users (in this case, students) to see them improve.
Fox News 59 covered the story of an occurrence last Monday at the Indiana college involving the reporting alleged of a campus gun threat. According to their story, a student informed security that a man had been seen on the grounds carrying a gun, and soon a series of emails and text messages were sent out. The messages advised students to "avoid the area" and stay inside a safe place. However, many found these messages to be vague and unhelpful. Students who were interviewed expressed confusion over how serious the threat was and whether or not classes had been canceled.
Campus police conducted a search for the man in question and found no one. Around two hours later, the search was officially concluded and another round of messages was sent announcing this.
The article covered several students who were disappointed with the response, including some who said they didn't receive the alerts at all. Despite this, BSU's public relations department insisted that their approach was consistent and in line with their greater approach to security initiatives through other channels on campus.
Proper networks of text messaging services are valuable in a variety of settings, and can take advantage of the interconnectedness of different electronic platforms to reach a wide body of people in seconds, without losing the control and input of a human operator. It is important that companies listen to user observations and make effective decisions when it comes to planning a responsive answering system, no matter the sector.