Text Messaging Featured Article

University Taps CallFire for Emergency SMS Text Messaging Notification System

March 16, 2012

CallFire, a provider of SMS text messaging software, announced it is assisting Southern Wesleyan University to alert students of weather warnings.

The university, which is located in the Midwest, is prone to natural calamities like snowstorms, tornadoes, forest fires and hurricanes. Considering the seriousness of these issues, educational institutions in the region are required to send emergency notifications to their students and staff with weather updates. With text messaging software tools like CallFire, this job has become much easier for them.

The challenge facing the text messaging service is the stringent regulations that mandate that the message is communicated strictly to the solicited users.

Southern Wesleyan required a text messaging solution that complies with Federal telecommunications laws. This includes provisions for OptIN and OptOUT permissions, a subscription process to accept the SMS messages, minimum maintenance of phone lists and OptIN/OUT procedures, and quick activation in case of emergencies.

With CallFire's new SMS text messaging platform, Southern Wesleyan University built an effective notification program.  The service is easy to implement, as SWU has to purchase a keyword for a minimum cost and pay a fixed cost of $0.03 per person, meaning sending 1000 alerts will cost only $30. To enroll, students and staff text a message "subscribe schoolAlert" to CallFire's short code number 67076.

CallFire maintains the emergency phone list for the school. When students or staff leave the school they simply text an "unsubscribe schoolAlert" to Callfire's (News - Alert) short code number, 67076, to discontinue the service.

SWU first tested the text messaging service this month when the tornado approached the campus. The system acted promptly alerting students on how to prepare for these storms.

“The Alert went well. I was in my office and was able to use the 'cheat' sheet and everything went smoothly,” said Joseph Brockinton, SWU vice president for Student life, in a statement. “We sent out OPT In emails and have run notices on our chapel announcement screens prior to and following chapel. Bottom line: The system worked."

Recently CallFire released SMS text marketing and auto dialer best practice guide for the insurance industry. The practice guide is prepared by combing tons of customer experience documents within its own insurance agent clients, and it will be useful for people who want to leverage SMS text marketing within this industry.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca
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