Does Fax Still Have a Place Within the Contact Centre?

A picture of a fax machine
Filed under - Industry Insights,

Josh O’Farrell of Spearline introduces an interesting conversation that he had with Michel Colaci, founder of Screenzest, regarding the future of fax and SMS messaging within businesses.

In a recent episode of the Spearline Podcast, Michel provided insights into the benefits of different communication services, such as fax and SMS messaging for businesses.

While global technology has evolved rapidly, the telecommunications industry has not changed dramatically in terms of the modalities used. One service in the sector that is surprisingly popular and remains in use is fax. “You will have industries, such as healthcare, where fax is still very much alive.”

Michel proceeded to explain how fax remains widely used in the healthcare and legal sectors: “Whether that’s the supply chain side of the healthcare system, or whether that’s pharmacies that are accepting prescriptions from a doctor, a lot of that is still done via fax.”

The reasoning behind such is the reliance on legal signatures. When contracts are being signed and transmitted from one entity to another, fax is commonly used due to its traceability.

There is a common misconception that fax is a dying mode of communication. This is not the case and may come as a surprise to the general population that even today: “Large organizations are still investing in on-premise fax servers. They’re still buying them and building them out.”

These businesses include pharmaceutical, transportation, insurance companies, and other organizations with a large supply chain.

Michel also revealed another sector that actively uses and benefits from fax is banking: “If you’re transferring particularly larger sums of money and so on, those transfers are still documented with fax messages, not necessarily to the consumer, of course, but between the banks.”

Banks and financial institutions utilize contracts via fax for added security and documentation purposes. This is essential as banks would otherwise be archiving documents that contain sensitive information.

However, a number of factors could potentially go wrong within that end-to-end transmission. “It could be that it never actually leaves my ecosystem,” Michel stated.

“You could have transmission issues, where the fax doesn’t transmit out to the telecommunications network – essentially fax uses the same infrastructure as voice calls would use.”

Other problems such as regional issues are a common frustration for fax communication. If a full network is down in a particular part of the world. But the real challenge is to find out where that fault is and to resolve this issue.

Continuing the discussion surrounding the potential problems between companies using fax, Michel explained how it has continuously developed over the years: “We’ve gone away from standard faxing, i.e., from one fax machine to another, to using more desktop fax.”

This involves sending a PDF document from a desktop to an email address, and the recipient will receive that on a fax machine.

Emerging technologies, such as electronic signatures (e-signatures), are becoming more frequent, as there is a higher demand for more secure communication modes.

Another emerging technology that is affecting fax transmissions is SMS messaging due to its more simple format, although Michel does not believe SMS messaging will make fax entirely redundant: “If it’s a five-page legal document with a signature, then that might not be possible, but if it’s a short message notification, then certainly SMS is straightforward to use.”

A thumbnail photo of Josh O’Farrell

Josh O’Farrell

With the overwhelming number of communication channels available at our fingertips, Michel emphasized businesses should focus on the factors of deliverability and being proactive: “There certainly needs to be a drive to figure out ways to communicate with individuals, and being able to deliver these messages successfully. And so monitoring a network to be able to predict when failures happen will be crucial.”

If you would like to listen to more of this interview, be sure to check out the podcast episode where Michel provides further insight into fax and SMS messaging.

Author: Guest Author

Published On: 17th Dec 2020 - Last modified: 25th Jan 2023
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