At the start of every semester, mail rooms in colleges and universities are overwhelmed with incoming packages, mail and school notices. Many students have to receive mail at their school's address because they are miles away from home and cannot retrieve these parcels if they are sent to their permanent address. Due to the influx of orders, mail room employees are overwhelmed and students have to wait in long lines to receive their respective packages.
Although it may seem like a temporary issue, student Jon Rizik told the Daily Northwestern that it happens about "75 percent of the time I go there." These delays can be significantly alleviated with the help of an SMS service. Many of these institutions already ask students for their cell phone number to send school-wide text alerts, and they can use SMS services to improve communications between students and other departments like the mail room.
For example, when packages are being scanned into the mail room's inventory, the scanning equipment would look up a student's name and send an automated text message. Depending on the time it takes the student to respond to the message, the system can provide a list of available pick-up times. This can avoid congestion during peak hours and streamline operations.
This option still allows the flexibility that emails and notices in a student's mailbox provide, but automated text alerts encourages a faster response and can more quickly establish an expected pick-up time. With a 98 percent read rate, this can significantly improve a person's trip to the mail room.
Also, this reduces time spent consulting with students who are expecting a package. Instead of going to the mail room and asking if it arrived, the text message serves as a confirmation that it is in the mail room.
Rizik has made multiple stops to the office and explained to the source that he had "to keep showing up and hoping [that the mail room received it]."