Twilio is a leading customer engagement platform meant to help companies and developers expand and modernize their customer service offerings. Innovative applications are increasingly leaning on Twilio to power communication channels with their customers.
When your company is on a limited budget, you probably prefer allocating your limited funds to high-priority areas such as operations, finances, advertising, or human resources. Of course, these areas, and many more, warrant a little extra padding and attention; they are the backbone of your business. However, it might seem like a waste to devote some capital to your customer service section, right? After all, how important is customer service really? Your customer service reps simply answer some emails and calls, throw in a few “sorries” from time to time, and that’s that. Can it really improve? In short, yes, thanks to platforms like Twilio.
Customer service is vital for any company, especially when you have a web or mobile application with which your customers interact. We all know providing good customer service in-store is reasonably straightforward. You can solve problems and give assistance on-premises without too much hassle and minimal investment; after all, talking to people is free. However, online customer service, where you’re not face-to-face with your clients, can get tricky, especially when you don’t give it the time, tools, and resources it requires to function correctly. Nonetheless, you must understand that online customer service is vital because it not only solves problems your users may encounter using your digital channels it also helps retain them, increases their engagement with your brand, and helps extract more value from them. So, by providing top-notch customer service, you can reduce the cost of losing customers and cultivate a loyal following that helps keep your brand irrelevant in the current over-flowed and highly competitive market.
Sure, that sounds great and all but you may be asking, isn’t that expensive and complicated? How can you answer calls, emails, and chats and keep all those channels running smoothly while keeping an eye on all the ins and outs of running a company, all at the same time? The answer is: you don’t have to. Your app development company can do it for you. That’s what Twilio is for.
What is Twilio?
Although modern app and software development practices have become increasingly efficient over the past few years, most developers–from time to time–still have to deal with complications. These complications stem from programming language incompatibilities, lack of interoperability, protocol diversity, and the resulting integration conundrums that can hinder the correct functioning of their applications. At the same time, they have to come up with quick solutions to these problems and figure out ways to navigate around them fast. One of these scenarios is developing and implementing efficient customer service channels for mobile apps and software. Unfortunately, figuring out effective ways of helping users chat with customer support, receive personalized attention, message doctors or Lyft drivers, and even give discount coupons straight to their inbox aren’t always straightforward processes to program. Thankfully, Twilio came into the picture and offloaded most of this burden with a simple way to implement customer service tools into most digital products.
Founded in 2008 in San Francisco, CA, by Jeff Lawson, Evan Cooke, and John Wolthuis Twilio is a developer-first cloud customer engagement platform that provides programmable communication tools to improve and automate customer service channels. Developers use it to build one-of-a-kind customer service features and capabilities such as making and receiving phone calls, emails, text messages, video calls, chats, and other client-company communication functions that work via Twilio’s APIs (application programming interfaces) and SDKs (software development kits). These APIs and SDKs are so versatile and popular among developers that they have captivated over 250,000 corporate customers and now power digital customer interactions in some of the most prominent players in the online market, including giants such as Airbnb, Lyft, Netflix, Spotify, and Twitter.
Twilio is quickly expanding and growing, enabling almost 935 billion digital interactions each year and amassing a whopping 5 million developer accounts in 2019, a figure that has undoubtedly risen these past years. Correspondingly, the company’s revenue and market penetration grew from $277 million in 2016 to $2.8 billion in 2021, with a growth in its user base that went from 36,000 to more than 256,000 in 2021! And, as if that weren’t enough, Twilio saw a revenue of $875 million in the first quarter of 20212, up 48% year-over-year, and 268,000 active user accounts in that same period. These figures are a testament to the company’s success at targeting modern companies’ needs for highly effective, scalable, and flexible omnichannel customer service channels. In that sense, Twilio seems to successfully be delivering solutions that power critical touchpoints with developers and their clients, which is why the company is growing at such a pace.
How does Twilio work?
Since its inception in 2008, Twilio has helped developers build superior customer experiences by giving them the tools and technologies to support their products and clients properly. Mobile and software products powered by Twilio can potentially become digital disruptors in customer engagement via powerful APIs built to power flawless and efficient customer communications. These APIs also help developers simplify the development phase of products that need customer communication features by laying user data in front of them so they can create an experience that anticipates user needs and provides services accordingly. But how do they do it? The Twilio Super Network.
The Twilio Super Network is the foundation of every service and product the company offers. It works as a sort of office telephone exchange that bridges the Internet and the traditional communication infrastructure to help developers integrate their products seamlessly with complex carrier networks. For this purpose, Twilio’s Super Network connects with Edge Locations directly to route media and connects with the most relevant carriers via redundant fiber connections. These Edge Locations allow developers to bring connectivity closer to their mobile and software applications, helping them ensure the highest level of performance, security, and reliability. Moreover, Edge Locations can also bring media handling nearer to the location where the applications are being used, which can significantly improve voice and video quality. Twilio has Edge Locations on six continents and leverages multiple carriers, operating a 24/7 Network Operations Center where carrier networks are constantly monitored to optimize communications traffic.
Additionally (and one of Twilio’s biggest pros), developers can use the same programming languages they already use in their applications by using the Twilio Markup Language (TwiML) to handle events such as calls or SMS. As a result, developers can ensure that users will be able to make phone calls and communicate with customer service reps or any other party globally in a matter of seconds with unparalleled quality.
How is Twilio modernizing customer service?
Twilio supports app developers in ways very few companies do. For one, Twilio’s Super Network delivers plenty of services and tools that the company offers developers as low-cost, practical solutions for customer service engagement. Second, the company allows enterprises worldwide to leverage a breadth of communication tools and channels that empower them to provide more modern, capable, scalable, and efficient customer service. And thanks to Twilio, customer service reps and workers have an easier time performing their jobs, which, let’s face it, is not easy.
These are some of Twilio’s most popular products. They are the reason why Twilio is modernizing customer service by helping developers build superior customer experiences:
Twilio Programmable Voice is Twilio’s API for voice calling. It helps developers integrate scalable calling functionalities into any application so users can make and receive voice calls from any device anywhere in the world. Supported by the Twilio Super Network, these functionalities, such as PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), or VoIP (Voice Over IP), allow developers to embed calls into any app or website. They also help leverage high-quality connections with global carriers and grant indefinite scaling to applications so users can make voice calls seamlessly anywhere in the world. Moreover, Twilio’s Programmable Voice API and Programmable Voice SDKs give developers the ability to:
- Use embedded calling: Developers can easily add voice and video calling using WebRTC in any browser and OS.
- Customize calls: Via add-on features, such as IVR (Interactive Voice Response), developers can customize and personalize interactions, increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention.
- Use Masked Calling: To guarantee the safety and confidentiality of all parties, developers can use Twilio’s API to implement Masked Calling, where each stakeholder gets a temporary number that expires after a determined time frame.
- Implement global conferencing: Twilio’s Voice API provides functionalities that support international conferencing and multi-party calling with secure connections for up to 250 participants.
Twilio Video is Twilio’s API for implementing video experiences. It is a programmable cloud platform built on top of WebRTC that lets developers build unique video applications with custom layouts and backgrounds across all browsers and operating systems via Twilio’s robust APIs and SDKs. These video experiences are personalized, scalable, and secure with real-time video and HD audio and have been helpful in industries such as healthcare and education to deliver virtual services.
Here are some of Twilio Video’s main features:
- Video customization: Developers can use templates and other tools to customize video layouts and make them match the brand’s colors and feel.
- Fast integration: Twilio offers tools such as Studio Application Builder and Twilio CLI, which allows developers to integrate video into their applications seamlessly.
- Video chats: Developers can use Twilio’s cloud platform to integrate 1:1 WebRTC video chats into their applications.
- High-quality video: Developers can build real-time video apps that guarantee the highest quality across all network conditions. Additionally, Twilio provides tools such as their Network Quality API to measure network performance and ensure a flawless video experience.
Note that Twilio Video is fully GDPR compliant and guarantees the security and integrity of all video recordings and data via robust encryption protocols.
Twilio MessagingX is Twilio’s API for implementing messaging platforms. It allows developers to implement messaging options into their new or existing applications to promote customer engagement across multiple channels via robust APIs. These APIs are fully scalable, allow apps to send and receive SMS, MMS, and OTT messages, and are backed by a reliable network that monitors over 900 million data points daily. Twilio MessagingX supports over 130 billion messaging interactions yearly, works in over 180 countries, and has a 99.95% API monthly uptime.
These are some of Twilio MessagingX’s main features:
- Message management: Thanks to Twilio’s Programmable Messaging API, developers can quickly implement SMS and MMS message exchanges, notifications, and mass alerts. They can also track message delivery, schedule the sending of mass and single SMS messages, keep records of message history, and even implement codes to send time-sensitive messages in bulk.
- Omnichannel messaging: Developers can quickly implement multi-party or single messaging interactions that span across numerous channels such as in-app chat, SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, all via Twilio’s Conversations API.
- Cross-channel messaging: Using Twilio’s messaging APIs, developers can integrate a functionality where users can start a conversation using SMS and continue it on another channel without losing the conversational flow.
- User validation: Since user security is always a priority, Twilio’s Verify API allows developers to integrate user validation options such as Time-based One-time Passwords (TOTPs), push notifications, SMS, email, or phone calls verification.
Twilio Live is Twilio’s programmable platform that allows developers to build applications with the capacity to host live interactive and virtual events. Its REST API, Player SDKs, and cloud-based infrastructure are optimized to guarantee live streaming at a global scale. Furthermore, Twilio Live ensures that all streams are secure, have a low-latency delivery, and can be hosted on any device, browser, or OS.
Some of Twilio Live’s most valuable features are:
- Easy integration: Twilio Live’s APIs and SDKs allow developers to seamlessly embed live streaming features into their existing apps or build live streaming applications from scratch.
- Interactive live streaming: App developers can not only implement live streaming into their apps, but they can also turn these streaming features into highly interactive experiences. For this, developers can use tools such as text-based chat, audience polls, and an “on stage” option for members to speak to customize hosts and speakers.
- Security: Twilio enables the secure recording of live streams in real-time with the possibility of modifying them and creating playable compositions for moderation or video-on-demand purposes.
Twilio SendGrid is Twilio’s email API. It helps developers integrate flexible email communication functionalities via their Email API, intuitive console, and Mail Transfer Agent (MTA). Developers can use Twilio SendGrid to build their apps’ email delivery protocols to increase customer engagement and ensure the deliverability of campaigns. The API guarantees 99% deliverability and 1.9-second median email delivery speeds.
Here are the main advantages of Twilio SendGrid API:
- Seamless integration: Developers can easily integrate email delivery protocols into their apps using Twilio’s SMTP service.
- Analytics: Twilio SendGrid helps app developers optimize their email delivery programs with unparalleled analytic tools that offer stats via an intuitive dashboard that helps with data analysis and troubleshooting. As a result, admins can easily track relevant engagement data and monitor if the emails were delivered, opened, or bounced.
- Marketing Campaigns: Twilio has a tool called Marketing Campaigns, which is ideal for implementing mass email marketing campaigns. This tool lets app developers implement promotional blasts, newsletters, welcome emails, and onboarding messages to large audience segments. It also offers content personalization, previews, and A/B testing.
- Security: Twilio SendGrid helps developers ensure recipients’ safety by having a fraud and compliance team that monitors malicious email activities.
Twilio Flex is Twilio’s programmable and highly flexible cloud contact center platform. It allows developers to build and deploy an omnichannel, cloud-based contact center that is easily customizable and scalable so it can be adapted as the company grows. It is also free from the limitations of most SaaS applications and can be built and deployed in a matter of days. Additionally, contact center agents have a breadth of data and relevant information at their disposal so that they can tailor personalized interactions.
Twilio Segment is the world’s leading customer data platform. It helps developers implement tools that allow them to harness first-party customer data in real-time, analyze it, and use it to gather insights about their customers’ preferences. As a result, Twilio Segment helps businesses deliver personalized communications instead of generic ones, thus leading to higher customer engagement and retention. As a result, Twilio Segment was ranked as the top seller of Customer Data Platforms in 2020 and claims to have the most scalable and reliable communications APIs.
These are some of the most innovative and prominent products that make Twilio one of the leading platforms in customer service. Thanks to them, developers who use Twilio have access to a more straightforward, more efficient way of adding communications capabilities to their software and mobile applications. Programming, implementing, testing, and deploying these features and capabilities from scratch would take months and cost thousands, not to mention the talent pool requirements and training costs. With Twilio, developers save time and costs and have the tools at their disposal to give their products the flexibility and power to provide more engaging customer experiences.
There’s no denying that providing outstanding customer service experiences is paramount for the success of any company, no matter how big or small. And as businesses expand, their need for mobile solutions that give their customers access to better and faster communication channels grows as well. As a result, app developers are burdened with the task of making these solutions come true. However, this can be expensive, cumbersome, and time-consuming. But, thanks to companies like Twilio, modern app developers have the tools at their disposal to implement communication channels that allow enterprises to stay in touch with customers across multiple platforms and on a global scale. In addition, the company offers a lot of functionality at affordable prices that developers can use to help business operations flow more smoothly. Their APIs give them the flexibility to implement customer service protocols faster and more efficiently.
It’s no wonder that millions of app developers use Twilio’s APIs to create custom software and mobile solutions aimed at creating unique experiences that would otherwise take longer and cost a lot more. This way, businesses can be confident they will consistently exceed customer expectations, increase customer engagement, and scale quickly as their operations grow. So, is Twilio modernizing customer service? We can safely say that, while not doing entirely on its own, the company is undoubtedly disrupting the customer service sector.
If you want to use Twilio for your business, our custom software development team is more than happy to do that for you. Or, if you have an idea in mind and want us to make it come true, we can help you as well!