New York Firefighters Use Vontoo Voice Messaging to Reach Retirees

Manhattan's Engine 67 turned to an automated messaging service offered by voice broadcasting technology company Vontoo to keep in touch with FDNY retirees about reunions and other social events.

"Most guys stay pretty close, but it can take literally days to reach everyone when we have an event," explains New York firefighter Mike Minnock. "We might have to call just one retired member two or three times before we reach him, and quite often that results in multiple long-distance charges."

The engine company first used Vontoo for a reunion it held in May. Accessing Vontoo via the Web, Minnock first recorded a simple message providing details about the time and place of the reunion, including directions. He then typed in his list of phone numbers of current and retired firefighters needing to be notified. The process took less than an hour to complete.

"I thought it worked really well and it was very convenient to use," says Minnock. "Adding the names and numbers was easy."

The automated calls were free to the recipients and generated a report telling Minnock which dialed numbers were valid, who actually listened to the recorded voice message, and which calls were received by an answering machine or voicemail system.

"We hadn't done a reunion in a few years partly because it used to take us so much time to notify everyone," he explains. "The convenience of knowing whether we got a direct answer or not was great for follow-up and it really helped us update our records. It saved us time and money because we weren't making calls five or six times like we used to with mail reminders."

Minnock sees the cost and timeliness of the phone calling service as the two greatest benefits Vontoo offers. "Not only was the pricing competitive and very reasonable, but in just one automated call it was done. If I had been forced to do it the old way, it would have taken days and days," he recalls.

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