SMS failure notification

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  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Planned
  • (Edited)
Hi all,

We noticed today that we had a lot of SMS's failing to send or are "Delivery Pending".  I've spoken with Frontdesk and they are checking into why.  It would seem sometimes our system just doesn't get the "Successful" message.

However a bigger issue is that we have 1 client that we noticed is constantly failing to receive our text messages.  The SMS is sent, but fails to deliver and 3 days later, the SMS tab shows "Delivery Failed".  But we don't get a notification of this.  According to FD, they only display the failure notification if it actually fails to send, not if it fails to be delivered.  I've just spoken to this patient and it turned out that she has a new number.  So we've been charged for messages that haven't actually gone!

I would like to suggest a report or something that shows us "Delivery Pending" and/or "Delivery Failed" messages. 

We consider this really important.  We rely on these SMS's to remind our patients of their appt.  If they fail to turn up, we charge them.  So it's not fair if they haven't actually received the message, is it?
Photo of Meaghan - KingsWilliam Natural Health Care

Posted 2 years ago

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Angus Chard

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This could be become costly
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Judy Maier

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We have EXACTLY the same here and have received the same reason. My query is also, if our SMS credits are deducted at the time of sending and the SMS fails, where so we see our SMS credited back?
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Andrew, Community Manager

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Official Response
Hi Meaghan

In regards to the SMS with a ‘Pending’ status, this was due to a temporary fault with the mobile providers. Unfortunately for a short period they were sending the status updates out of order, meaning we would receive a ‘Successful’ (delivered) response, followed by a ‘Pending’ response, which should never be the case. This was resulting in the final status being recorded as pending despite the SMS actually being sent. We have since updated our system to handle this scenario if it occurs again in the future. It should be noted that SMS were delivered as normal and only the status displayed incorrectly.

As for the patient with the incorrect number, the SMS is still sent by Smartsoft to the mobile provider regardless of the end-result. If the mobile number you are sending to appears valid (length, formatting) we can only assume it has a valid destination and forward it appropriately. You are being charged for the SMS, but it’s not that the SMS was never actually sent by Smartsoft. I guess it's like sending a letter with Australia Post - even if it turns out to be an old address they still expect you to pay for postage :).

On the point of failure notifications, we can only confirm a message has failed after the telco has provided us a ‘Failed’ delivery receipt. This varies across providers, but typically a telco will attempt to deliver the SMS for several days before they ‘give up’ and return a failure receipt. This is to accommodate scenarios where the handset is unavailable for extended periods (no reception, switched off, damaged etc).

Delivery receipts are a useful tool to gauge SMS success, however we are limited in that we can only provide information when it is made available to us. If the delivery receipt isn’t sent or is delayed by the mobile provider, we can’t confirm the status of your SMS. It's worth noting we are one of the few PMS companies that actually provide this information.

We do agree an SMS report would be useful to monitor the status of SMS in bulk, and it has always been a planned inclusion. At this stage the delivery receipt system is still relatively new and cutting edge functionality, so we intend to continue improving the system and include reporting and greater feedback for users at a later date.
(Edited)
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Trevor

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SMS message still showing 'pending' in SMS window - but patient has replied. Looks like the update as mentioned in paragraph 1 above is not working.
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Timothy, Business Care Manager

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Hi Trevor. We are currently aware of a separate issue affecting SMS delivery receipts for SMS sent during a small window today. More information is available here: https://community.smartsoft.com.au/smartsoft/topics/delivery-receipts-delayed-3-13pm-5-18pm-est

Please note this does not affect the sending of SMS to your clients, only the delivery receipt status in Front Desk was affected.
(Edited)
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Rachel Bruce

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Further to this issue, we have recently had "SMS failed" status come back after sending our appt reminders for 2 business days time.

We have tried sending again and it has then come back with the "successfully sent" status.

Patients have then been notifying us that they have received the same message twice.

Given the number of SMS' we send and assuming we have been charged twice as the messages have been received twice, unrectified, this is going to become VERY costly.
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Timothy, Business Care Manager

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Hi Rachel. SMS delivery receipts are based on information returned from the telco regarding the status of an SMS message. Smartsoft is sending out these messages to the Front Desk software as received from the telco.

In rare circumstances, it is possible that the telco returns a SMS failed message to Smartsoft when the SMS has actually been received by your patient. An example of this is when a phone receives an SMS however it fails to send the correct acknowledgement back to the telco.

In the Front Desk software, we have provided an option to resend SMS that may have failed. In most cases when you receive a failed SMS delivery receipt, the SMS has not been delivered to the patient’s phone. If you resend the SMS, there may be a small possibility that the patient will receive the SMS twice. We consider this to be a better option than the SMS appointment reminder not being received at all. Other users may just wish to check the delivery receipts when patients claim they have not received the SMS to try to get out of their responsibility of not turning up for an appointment.

In regard to resending SMS being costly, we believe patients not turning up for their appointment to be more costly :)

Practices will need to make their own decisions based on their own policies regarding resending SMS when a failed delivery receipt is returned.
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Rachel Bruce

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I have no issue is an SMS has Failed according to the telco however, the issue I have is that Frontdesk has reported that the entire batch of SMS failed to send at all in the pop up on screen after clicking on send SMS so, I have decided to resend (to minimise non-attendances etc) however, this resulted in the SMS' being sent twice.
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Timothy, Business Care Manager

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Hi Rachel. I misinterpreted your post to be regarding delivery receipts. I now understand this to be an error when sending SMS to our gateway. This error occurs when the connection between your Front Desk system and our SMS Gateway is interrupted, such as a momentary internet dropout. Please feel free to contact the Business Care team for a credit for the SMS you had to resend. 
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Rachel Bruce

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No worries. Thanks.

I'll leave it this time as retrospectively trying to locate all of the SMS will cost more in wages than the refund we would receive but will be sure to make contact straight away should it happen again.
In the meantime, is there any chance you could look into the issue itself to prevent it from happening in the future?