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West Provides Alerts, Assistance for Disasters like Hurricane Sandy
January 03, 2013
By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Web Editor
Sometimes, disasters strike with no warning. But often, as is the case with mega storms like the recent Hurricane Sandy, we have a bit of foreknowledge that life will be difficult. People will lose power, businesses will close and transportation and communication avenues will shut down. Patients will have to find ways to get their prescriptions, companies will need to get in touch with their employees, and people with emergencies will need to get in contact with the proper parties. Fortunately for the millions of people affected by Hurricane Sandy and other disasters, there are technology companies like West that can provide notifications and other services to help people in their time of need.
West has clients that are involved in many essential verticals, from utility companies to pharmacies to insurance companies. These companies provide services that are vital, and are often interrupted by storms like Sandy. And, according to Bentley Cooper, director of product management for the company, West takes a proactive approach when it knows storms are coming, getting ahead of the disaster to help make life easier for its clients, which in turn makes things better for end users and customers.
When a storm is imminent, West’s dedicated staff contacts clients and speaks with them about how to talk to their end user customers, what message they need to convey and when that contact needs to happen. Cooper gave an example related to public safety, citing an online portal that gives updates to cities and counties about why power is out and when it is coming back on, where shelters are located, where to get supplies (and what supplies are available, like water, food, blankets, etc). If West’s client can’t use the Web to launch the message itself, West can handle it, sending out phone calls, text messages, e-mails or faxes. West can even handle inbound calls, and deal with a call volume that can be hundreds or thousands of times greater than normal. Cooper mentioned a major utility company in Florida that constantly sends out messages during disasters, telling customers and media when there is news, or that there is no news but updates will follow.
It’s not just notifications that play a role in disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are important as well. These systems can save time for end users who might have to search for information or wait for an agent. The IVR can help save people time and get information, freeing up agents to deal with non-routine calls, abnormal situations that require human intervention. West hosts these solutions in the cloud so they are infinitely scalable, capable of meeting the heavy demand of a natural disaster.
Cooper pointed out that West’s solutions have the ability to look at the context of a call: where the number is calling from, the call history, etc, and can tailor a message that is specific to that call, telling the caller where the closest pharmacy is located or when the neighborhood power will be turned back on. West’s Web portals are updated regularly and can pull in new messages in an automated fashion, allowing them to deliver timely, relevant information.
Natural disasters are tragic for everyone. Property can be damaged, people can get scared. But West does everything it can to help its clients be proactive and communicative, ultimately giving end user customers valuable information they need to stay as safe and secure as possible. And, in a time of need, what more can you ask for?
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert) (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.
Edited by Rich Steeves
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