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Inbound SMS handling in Control Rooms

Inbound SMS handling improves communication between control rooms, patrons and crews

It’s long been recognised that an effective way to improve the patron experience at events is to provide a direct line of communication between organisers and those in attendance. Direct communication should mean customer concerns can be addressed in the moments when they matter most, and any incidents can be reported on and responded to quicker.

An easy and accessible way of doing this is to publish a phone number in prominent locations around your site giving a direct link for the patron to get in touch.

This is fine when the number is manned 24/7, but causes great frustration to patrons when calls go unanswered, the number is engaged or when the person receiving the call is a long way from the control room and can’t immediately coordinate a response.

A patron may also not be able to call, due to poor reception, noise volume, or fear that making a verbal report about an unruly patron nearby could put themselves, their friends, their family or those around them at risk.

Recognising that this issue effected most crowd spaces we attended, our team set about finding a solution that would streamline the process and ensure that every call was responded to and actioned immediately.

Our development team built functionality into Chronicler, our flagship and incident event management software, that allows the receipt and automated processing of SMS messages directly in system.

When Chronicler receives an inbound SMS, it behaves in one of three ways:

  1. If the origin phone number is from a patron (does not match a crew number), a new job classified as ‘SMS’ is created directly on the system. This allows the control room staff to read and respond to the message and immediately action the required response.

  2. If a patron sends multiple messages, be It relating to an ongoing issue at hand or over months and years, the system will automatically match the telephone number and allow the dispatcher to see the conversation history with the patron in a chronological order.

  3. If the origin phone number matches a crew member then the SMS can be added to the crew’s existing job or if they’re reporting a new incident, it can be used to create a new job. This secondary channel of communication between crews and dispatchers is especially convenient when there is limited 3G service and the radio network is busy with other traffic.

The SMS message type allows stats to be tracked based on the problem classifications entered by those responding to the messages. And measurable data on response times, times to resolve jobs, and the outcomes generated ensure full accountability and a powerful customer service tool as part of the overall event monitoring and command.

By treating every SMS In the same way that we would respond to a radio report from a staff member about a medical or security incident it allows the jobs to be triaged and managed in a sequential order based on priority and keeps the dispatcher task focused on a central screen.

The organisers of Splendour in the Grass introduced this functionality to their event management process two years ago. and since implementation have reported a significant improvement in their patron satisfaction scores driven by the ability to respond to issues around the site and respond quickly and efficiently to patrons questions and requests.

To add inbound SMS handling to your control room and achieve similar positive outcomes at your event, contact us today.

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