We understand that two way SMS can be prone to local carrier issues, where a SMS recipient may reply to an event, but that response may not reach xMatters and be recorded.
In a Emergency instance, an SMS recipient might reply "1 - I need urgent help" but an unreliable SMS may not return that reply to xMatters. In this case, the emergency response team would not be aware this employee's "need for urgent help". Further, the responder is not aware that their reply "seeking urgent help" was never received and recorded in xMatters. Both the Emergency Team and the employee are unaware of this failure in a critical communication.
We would like to see xMatters consider a feature that allows for optionally configuring and sending of an "Acknowledgement" message back to the responder when their reply is received. This is the only way let the responder know that their SMS reply was (or wasn't) received and recorded in xMatters. We would instruct our employees that if they did not get an SMS acknowledgement, then they need to respond through another channel if available.
We have seen similar functionality in other BCM / Emergency Comm systems, which makes perfect sense given the fact that SMS is unpredictable.
An added capability would be providing the recipient with additional instructions or details depending on their response. In the above example, the acknowledgment message back to the employee's "1 - I need urgent help" could be "Help is on the way, please shelter in place" etc. The use of an acknowledgement message could be applied to other devices and not just SMS.
It would be interesting to hear impressions from other customers, especially those using xMatters BCM.