In our quest to deliver the best possible service, we encountered an interesting problem. It seems that there are a number of voice devices within the xMatters On-Demand service that, well, don't really work.
What is an inefficient device?
An inefficient device is any device that xMatters is consistently and repeatedly unable to contact. One voice device might not work because someone accidentally transposed two numbers when entering a phone number. Another device might simply be out-dated because a user got a new phone number and never updated their settings. Whatever the reason, these bad devices have a trickle-down effect on everyone:
- If xMatters is trying to send you a high-priority notification and can't complete a call to your phone, you're not being notified as quickly as you should.
- When attempting to contact a non-working voice device, xMatters is using resources that could be spent placing calls to devices that actually work.
- The call attempts put a strain on available resources, and raise the costs of the service.
Now, we obviously don't want to automatically delete a voice device from the system every time a call fails to connect, but we think we can do something to reduce the number of inefficiencies these devices are causing.
What's the solution?
Beginning with the latest update (5.5.127), if xMatters On-Demand is unable to successfully contact a voice device 100 times in the same week, the device will be deactivated. A failure only counts towards this limit if all attempts to connect to the device are unsuccessful; if an attempt is initially unsuccessful, but the same notification succeeds on a retry attempt, it is not considered a failure.
The device information will stay in the owner's user profile, but the device will be marked as "Inactive" and xMatters will not attempt to call it again. If the user who owns the voice device has any email devices, they will receive an email explaining the problem.
The user can then log into xMatters and update or double-check their settings. If everything checks out, they can reactivate their phone and make a test call to ensure that notifications can now get through.
These new settings may need some slight tweaking as we streamline the process, but they will help reduce the number of rejected or missed call attempts, and lead to a more efficient system for everyone.
xMatters internal reference: COR-4757, ARCH-4698