Why call cascades aren’t effective

Neil Conchie
June 2, 2021 8:15 AM

You may be familiar with a traditional call cascade or call tree, where one person starts a chain of events that cascades throughout the entire company until everyone has been contacted and notified of a situation or incident, but just how effective are these systems?

A call cascade is a great example of a top-down communication system that can be implemented fairly easily into any business with a minimum amount of investment, training, and infrastructure, and relies on a predetermined structure within a business or organisation to ‘cascade’ information throughout all employees and users.

Call Cascade Blog Image

The way this system works is shown in the diagram, but it essentially starts with the incident controller kick-starting the process by calling the people directly below them to inform them of the incident, any workarounds, or expected time for restoration of services.

Cascade systems are slow

The main problem with this form of information sharing is that it can take a very long time to get the message out to everyone, depending on the size of your organisation it could be anything from a day to a month before everyone has been contacted to let them know about the outage or incident, by which time the incident may be resolved, or your service desk has already been overwhelmed as the message has been too slow to reach all of your business.

This delay in informing everyone can cause rumours and misinformation to be spread, which can impact the reputation of the company both internally and externally, as well as causing problems with productivity as your team is not informed of what is going on.

Cascade systems lack feedback loops

Another key weakness with this method of communication is that there is no feedback loop, or if there is it is affected by the same delay in communication as getting the initial message out.

Without feedback, it can be hard to know who is affected or how meaning that your service desk team may have very little information to go off to help them resolve a situation. If the message being passed is of a safety or security nature, you will not know where to prioritise your response or to send immediate help.

Cascade systems rely on a complete chain

By the very nature of a cascade system, one main weakness is that if any one person is missing from the chain, the message can very easily hit a blockage and go no further which depending on the size of your organisation could mean that a huge proportion of your users are in the dark about what is going on which could then feed into more calls to your service desk causing them to become more overwhelmed.

As the system relies on notifying the entire chain, it is likely that people who do not need the message will get it too, and will still have to pass it on.

Cascade systems lack an audit trail

Following on from the previous point, how do you know that all users in your cascade system have been informed? It can be very difficult to keep any sort of audit trail information around who has received the message, and it will often rely on the people within the chain keeping an accurate (and usually manual) record of who they have communicated with so that managers can ensure everyone has received the message that was intended for them. This can cause further delays and is prone to human error and some people may be missed entirely especially in larger organisations or businesses.

Is there an easier way?

The Klaxon platform was built to tackle just this problem. By using one simple interface available on most devices, you can alert all of your employees in a few simple clicks using templates or create an entirely new message to send. If you don’t need to notify everyone within your team, we’ve got you covered with easy targeting of users based on their subscription groups.

Assurances can be given that messages are delivered to all users, with follow-up messages for those who have not received their first notification as well as a robust audit trail to ensure that if you are required to report on or analyse your response the information is always available.

Are you using a call cascade system currently? How effective do you find it?

Want to see how Klaxon can revolutionise your call cascade system? Book a demo now!