This article was update 06/30/2023 to reflect the List feature eliminating the need to have a tag in the body of the the email text. (ie TO:

Escalation Lists in EmailToVoice.Net are used to sequentially send a text-to-speech (TTS) message to a list of phone recipients from any business application. An alert notification needs action immediately. This may require the alert to be sent to more than one person to assure action is taken on the critical issue. EmailToVoice.Net provides the ability to send to a sequential list of people until one is reached. The feature of EmailToVoice.Net is called an Escalation List.

Escalation List Based Upon Proven List Management

EmailToVoice.Net has long provided List Management so that a customer can send a message to multiple recipients, such as an email to a voice phone call. This is done in the Customer Portal under the menu item Manage Personal Lists.


Recipeint Lists in Email to Phone and SMS

In the Customer Portal, you can create and maintain lists of recipients. Then in the Email, you use the tag called Lists to identify the List you want to use for the message.

Feature Addition to List Management

A feature of the List Management capability in EmailToVoice.Net is Escalation Lists.

Escalation Lists are used to sequentially send a text-to-speech (TTS) message to a list of phone recipients. The messages are sent one at a time until a person answers or takes an action to accept the call. The acceptance of the call is based upon specific criteria set by the administrator that created the list. This is unlike the standard list type, where the message is sent to all the recipients at one time.

The purpose of an escalation list is to find a recipient who can act on the message. Examples of such a message might be:

  • Perform an urgent maintenance job for a piece of equipment that has failed
  • Fill a shift vacancy for someone who has called in sick
  • Get a courier to urgently pick up a package and deliver it

How the Escalation List works

The Escalation List feature would call the first contact in the list. If they do not listen to the message for at least 10 seconds, or do not reply in a positive fashion by pressing 1 in the phone’s Dialpad, then the second contact is called. And that continues until someone listens to the message, replies to accept the offer, or the List is exhausted.

In all instances, a status report of the message is logged on the Customer Portal under View All Jobs and an email status report is returned to the main email address on the account. Further Workflow processes can be executed using the email status report with a product such as Microsoft Power Automate.

To use this feature, you set up a new list (or edit an old one) in the Customer Portal and tick the box “This list is an escalation list”.


Set the Escalation List identifier

When you name the List, click on the box that says this is an Escalation List

Send a Message to an Escalation List


There are two ways to send a message using an Escalation List:


The List name can be designated in the TO field. For example, if a List has been created with the name nightshift, then the TO field would look like this:

When the email is sent to our service, we will look for the List name nightshift in the Customer Portal profile of My Personal Lists. Our service will then use that List of recipients. This article has more details on this feature.


You send your TTS message using this list in EmailToVoice.Net. For example,

  1. send the email message TO or by using the lists word in the TO field as described in this post about sending to a list without a tag. (remember to create the name of the list with all small letters.)
  2. in the body of your message, include:
    <Lists>*My New Escalation List Name*</Lists> (* * replace with your list name)

The message must be picked up (not by voice mail) and listened to for at least 10 seconds, otherwise, the next recipient in the list is called. Once someone listens to the message for the required length of time, the job stops there.

If you send a two-way TTS, the recipient must press 1 on the phone’s Dialpad to accept the message. Otherwise, the next recipient in the list is called. In this case, it doesn’t matter how long the person has listened to the message. Making a TTS message a Two Way is done by merely adding the tag <TwoWay> on a separate line in the content of the email.

Some Special Considerations for Lists

  • Make sure that the list has unique references and recipients. The phone number can be duplicated more than once, but the names of each list item must differ.
  • The reference field is sorted alphabetically when you designate the list as an ‘escalation’ list, so name the references something like ‘reference1, reference2, etc.’.
  • Ensure that the Escalation List box was ticked when you created the List.
  • Please make sure that the message was sent to Or by using the lists word in the TO field as described in this post about sending to a list without a tag. (remember to create the name of the list with all small letters.)
  • The name of the list cannot have spaces or any special characters, like a dash or a plus sign or anything other than alphanumeric characters. Keep the name of the list short.

Phone Calls are Loud and Rare

Phone calls get people’s attention when you need them to act on a critical event. When you send an email, it just does not get the necessary level of attention for important information.

Implementation of industrial-strength solution for communication-enabling business processes such as critical alerts is a major effort. Sending a message from monitoring software or directly from an IoT device to a phone requires a specialized hardware and software solution to be installed in the client’s central data center. Connections to smart devices, CRM, PCS or ERP systems need to go through complex API’s or propriety software gateways

However, a cloud-based communications solution such as EmailToVoice.Net makes this all as easy as sending an email. The EmailToVoice.Net service does the hard stuff. It converts the text of the email message into a genuine-sounding voice (Text to Speech), then dials the phone, handles voice mail, and much more. All of this is done without the need to install hardware or use APIs. There are not even any monthly fees.

Rich on Features

EmailToVoice.Net is rich in features while being simple and effective to use for business communications and alerts. We transform an email message into a phone call or enterprise Text Message with no need to program APIs or install any hardware or software. You can send a voice phone call (TTS), Enterprise Text SMS, FAX or prerecorded Voice Message from any email program interface through your monitoring software, CRM, or Dispatch System. Contact Us and let us assist you in meeting your mission-critical business communications needs.

NOTE: This post was updated on November 9, 2022, to reflect enhanced features.


Director at EmailToVoice.Net: CISSP – Solutions Architect for Industrial IoT Alerts and Business Communications. LinkedIn