Outdated Outbound Messaging—What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


It wasn’t the sound of alarm clocks that woke the residents of Hawaii at 8:08 AM on Saturday, January 13th. Rather, it was the sounds of emergency alerts being sent to every smartphone owner across the state, buzzing and beeping while a message blared across every user’s screen: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii, seek immediate shelter, this is not a drill.”

Inbound. Forget bucket lists. Forget the morning commute. For nearly 40 minutes, terrified Hawaiians scrambled to find shelter, locate loved ones and come to terms with certain, imminent doom.

Finally, after nearly 40 minutes, Hawaii—and the world—breathed a collective sigh of relief when a second notification was sent out that human error had caused the notification to be sent out accidentally.

This may lead you to ask: how is it that we could allow such an important function be so easily manipulated by human error? As it turns out, a basic design flaw may be the culprit. The SMS notifications for both real-life missile alerts, as well as test drills, can be selected by a single individual through a drop-down menu. Both options, curiously, appear next to each other on that list.

Granted, not every outbound messaging campaign has the unique ability to inadvertently start a nuclear war. However, this example serves to underscore an important point. Your SMS capabilities have the profound power to reach a very wide audience. But with that power comes great responsibility. To have a real—and positive—impact on your customers’ day to day lives, you need to ensure that you reach them in a way that doesn’t create dissonance in their world.

To do so, all you need is to leverage the most innovative contact center solutions available for your organization today. With intuitive, user-friendly designs, automated workflows and business intelligence comprised to deliver superior customer experiences, emerging software will help you harness the power of your contact center to become a force of good to be reckoned with.


Chris O'Brien

Chris is a 15-year creative services veteran, with a background in copywriting, content management and graphic design. She works with the Aspect marketing and product teams developing digital assets (like infographics and ebooks) to help businesses make smart customer contact decisions.