How Long Will the Callout Take?

A guest post by Mark Guidetti, our Senior Vice President of Operations and Support at Rapid Notify.

During my 15-plus years of providing mass notification services, probably the most-asked question has been: How long will the call-out take?  It seems like a simple enough question – a simple problem solved by simple math!  Right?…Wrong.

You might assume you just take the total number of calls in the callout, divide by the number of calls made simultaneously, and multiply by the length of the message in minutes = calls per minute (x 60 for calls per hour)…simple enough.  Not quite.

Red TelephoneFor a typical phone call, each ring takes 6 seconds, with anywhere from 3 to 7 rings before a “no answer” or failed to deliver determination is made. So those extra rings can add 18 to 42 seconds to each non-delivered call. Calls that “fail” to reach a person or machine are automatically reattempted by the Rapid Notify system after the first round of calls is complete.

Now you need to factor in the length of the voice message. 30 seconds or less is the ideal length of time to quickly and efficiently communicate your message, but the Rapid Notify system allows up to two minutes of recording time. Listeners can repeat the message as often as they choose and messages are repeated twice for answering machines. That will add the time the message takes to play, each time, to the length of the callout.

As a special benefit, the Rapid Notify system enables call recipients to provide a response or feedback via touch-tone survey. Interactive surveys are a powerful tool, but continue to add to the length of the overall call-out time.

Last, but certainly not least, any call-out will have to accommodate small and/or outdated local telephone switches or phone company central offices. Rapid Notify can respond to these situations by throttling back the number of simultaneous calls delivered to the switch (failure to adjust the call rate can sometimes result in switch overload and cause gridlock at the local switch).  As you decrease the number of simultaneous calls delivered, you increase the length of the calling session.

So as you can see, it’s not a simple answer – and the best one can do is theorize (or fantasize) to deliver an answer.  Put a wet finger into the wind and guess!!

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