Twilio, which helps companies integrate voice and text messaging into their applications, has launched a simplified platform for launching communications services called Studio.
Studio allows developers and business users to collaborate to build things like an interactive voice response (IVR) system to route a customer to the relevant department, conversational messaging bots, or notification systems that could be used for order confirmations, for example. The idea is that developers build the app and then hand over the workflow in Studio for less code-proficient staff to iterate on later.
Announced at Twilio Signal in London today, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson said that he wants to make the platform as accessible to business users, like marketing and customer service staff, as Microsoft Excel made spreadsheets.
"What if creating customer engagement was as easy as building a website with a CMS?" he asked, calling Studio the "visual builder for Twilio".
"We had a mission to open up Twilio beyond software developers so that they can contribute to the customer engagement roadmaps," he added. "This allows faster prototype and delivery of new customer engagement experiences with a simple drag and drop interface along with custom code integration."
Studio allows allows non-technical staff to not only tweak messaging without asking a developer, but also run A/B tests on the customer service flow without putting in a ticket and taking up valuable developer time. Studio is also extensible, allowing developers to dive in when needed, while also freeing them up to focus on the important stuff, like custom integrations.
It is also built on the elastic Twilio Runtime platform, so all the normal auto scaling, consistent uptime and cloud-based security comes built in under the hood. It also allows users to easily plug in and experiment with Twilio features like automated voice recognition, chatbots and plug into various digital channels like Amazon Alexa or Facebook Chat.
In practice, Studio starts out as a blank canvas with a top-down workflow. Users can drag in templates, or widgets, which represent different communication channels like voice or SMS. You can start by setting up a welcome message and then connect that down the customer engagement flow through transitions, like pressing one on your phone keypad.
The messaging and connections between steps can then be easily tweaked visually, if anyone wants to make a change to the customer experience.
The product is available in preview now, but pricing may raise a few eyebrows. Studio is free for up to 1000 'engagements’ then £99 a month for up to 20,000 engagements, plus $0.005 per customer engagement. The enterprise product includes single sign on and advanced security like granular access controls, coming in at £10,000 a month.