Mark Gibbs -- whose business card says “consultant, author, journalist, columnist, blogger” -- has a good question for you:
“Let's say you've built a Web application that streamlines your business processes and you'd really like people to use it rather than go through your customer service reps. The problem is that if your customers are used to calling your company and your telephony front end offers something like ‘please go to www.mysite.com or press 3 to speak to a representative’ you know they'll just press ‘3’ and carry on as usual.”
You recognize the scenario, of course. Given that you'd really like to front-end your Web application, as Gibbs says, so ‘speak to a representative’ isn’t such an immediate option. “Where do you start?”
Oh, and there’s a catch: This is the real world, so bear in mind “the expense of undertaking a serious development project because of the cost and time involved,” Gibbs says. So now where do you start?
As Gibbs says, “Why not bolt an online telephony service onto your Web application?”
Hear us out here. There is a service for that -- Twilio (News - Alert). As Gibbs describes it, “when one of your customers calls your Twilio number you can have them interact with a script you define with simple XML content to trap metadata about the call (caller ID, geolocation, etc.) and send that to your own applications running wherever you please via an HTTP POST request.”
So your apps can have Twilio to do a number of things, like “play a sound file, render speech from text, get keyboard input, or record the call,” Gibbs says.
Twilio also lets users create conference calls, send requests to Twilio to make outbound calls, send and receive SMS messages, Gibbs says, “and even create and manage a virtual PBX that also behaves exactly as you require.”
TMC’s (News - Alert) Anuradha Shukla wrote last November that the company secured a $12 million Series B round of funding. Financing for the cloud telephony platform was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups and angel investors.David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Juliana Kenny