Simple Solutions for Smooth Operations

Simple Solutions for Smooth OperationsBy Kirk Hurford

Recently, a bridge in Miami collapsed and six people lost their lives.  The day after the collapse, somebody at the Department of Transportation (DOT) listened to their voicemail and came across a message that was two days old. The message was an alert about cracks in the bridge.

Just pause to think about how many things are wrong with this. Where to begin? Who leaves a voicemail about something so urgent? And if someone else had been checking their voicemail, how many families would not now be fractured by a senseless tragedy?  The tools were there—why weren’t they used?

The systems we have available to us these days can help us sift through the mundane noise so we can react to matters of importance—but only if those systems are set up to do that in the first place. But, exactly how do we do that?

It begins with what failed for the Department of Transportation in Miami: their phone system. What if the DOT phone system had forwarded the voicemail to the person’s email? Maybe, if they had checked their email, this wouldn’t have happened. What if the DOT person had forwarded their phone to a colleague if they were out for a while; or, what if the caller had had the option to transfer out of voicemail to someone else if their call was not answered?  Even though it looks like they didn’t have these options, or didn’t use them—it seems to make sense that an organization like the DOT should have had an “In Case of Emergency, dial X” option.  That way they could have emailed the voicemail message to a group of people, increasing the odds that the message would be handled in time.

I can hear your skepticism already—what government agency is using a phone system with advanced features like that? My answer? First, these are not advanced features today, and second, you’re probably right—their phone system is most likely so ancient it still has a rotary dial.

The real question is, would you want to be in their shoes? Look at your phone system. Does it have the capabilities that you need to be responsive? Are you using them? If not, isn’t it time to consider alternatives?

Maybe lives aren’t at stake in your business, but a contemporary telephone service that’s properly configured will go a long way toward making sure your business runs smoothly, and when it doesn’t—you’ll know about it.

Kirk Hurford is cofounder and CTO of DSX VOICE. For more information, visit

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