IT First Responder SMS Hotline!

If you work in an enterprise IT environment as a team member you know the drill for a system down emergency. Someone alerts someone that the users are unable to access the Corporate Intranet! Panic! A ticket is initiated at the corporate help desk, and a phone call is made to the IT Director who then needs to figure out if we are having a sever failure, network failure or application failure.

The CEO, now getting phone calls from the operating executives, has now called the CIO who in turn is beating up on the IT Director and stuff starts to roll downhill. Somebody sends out a group conference line, the email stream starts up and all hands on deck are scrambling to identify the root issue.

I find the email route is just to confusing and nobody knows what the current status is as people chime in on the email, adding input and more times than not, asking for updates to pass up the line. Trying to work an issue with an open conference bridge is not real helpful and some folks did not get the email that has the conference bridge line number so key content is missing anyway.

This scenario happens way to often and we determined to find a better solution!  The result is a SMS2SMS a kind of “group text” for first responders.   Basically, you publish a number and have your stakeholders text the word “JOIN” to that number.  This will subscribe that user to your list.   Future texts sent to that number will now be copied to all other list members.   Members can STOP if they no longer want to be part of the list, but generally this is an excellent solution for first responders in any emergency management situation.  

Hit us up and we will set you up with a demo!






Front End your Call Center with Twilio Appointment Reminder!

Send a Text or add more Telephone lines?

We have long been a proponent of using more text solutions in the call center.  From our perspective it makes more sense to let clients text you customer service team than it does to add more telephone lines, to hold more clients in queue waiting for the next available agent!   With the dramatic growth of smart phones, it makes sense to engage your clients with an understanding that they are (a) very mobile; and (b) very text savvy!   We are willing to bet, you text message more than you actually talk on your smart phone!

Call Trees

Anyone who has had to write routing scripts to figure out which group of agents to send an inbound caller to, will tell you that having a DNIS number per route is the best way to go.  Why prompt the user to press 1 for Spanish, if you could just market a number that expects Spanish callers!   A separate number for Customer Service and Tech support also saves having to have the caller self navigate through an elaborate call tree just to end up waiting in queue.   Generally, the call center will end up publishing a single inbound phone number and then prompt the caller with “Press 1 for Customer Service, Press 2 for Technical Support” as adding and managing DNIS numbers gets to be a costly head ache!

Estimated Wait Time

So we keep adding more inbound telephone lines, to the same number of Agents, causing more folks to remain in queue waiting for the “next available agent” and growing more frustrated with each passing minute!   Most call centers now attempt to reduce frustration by “Press 1 to receive a call back without losing your place in queue”.     This is a helpful option in reducing customer frustration, but does nothing to reducing costs.  Actually it increases costs as you are now calling folks back on your dime!

Reduce call center cost and improve customer satisfaction by letting callers contact by text message!

Enabling your clients to TEXT a “keyword” inbound could accomplish the same result as having them self navigate through a call tree.  In fact, you could get the call routed and also provide a call back based on the estimated wait time!   Inbound text messages also facilitate more accurate data dips as the caller ID can be used to index a database to bring back relevant  customer information.   For example, if the customer were to  text the keyword “appointment” you might be able to return the following text message”

” Mr. Merkin,  we see that you have an appointment scheduled with our hygienist for Tuesday at 10AM.  Are you calling to confirm or reschedule this appointment?  Please REPLY with CONFIRM, CHANGE or CALL ME”.

Logic can be applied to the inbound text and if the REPLY returns “Call me”  the following text might be sent back by the call center:

“Please standby and we will get you connected with a scheduling assistant”  or “We estimated that we can call you in 5 minutes”

The dialog can become very customized based on the call centers CRM integration, but simplification of the inbound request and customer  contact can be significantly enhanced using TEXT.  Appointment reminders are an excellent application for text based call center integrations.    You can create a Proactive or Reactive model to remind folks of a scheduled appointment.   A Proactive model would process a list of appointments, sending a reminder text to each client and asking them to REPLY with CONFIRM, or RESCHEDULE.   A reschedule would set up a call back from the call center.   The Reactive model would function similarly but would be triggered by an incoming text request from the client.

TWILIO to the rescue!

In the following video tutorial we build out a generic TEXT and voice  based “automated attendant” that can be used to front end you customer service organization, sales team or technical support group.   We use Twilio to create a cloud based front end with the ability to transfer the call to a specific number or agent group in a call center.    Normally we would write our text applications in Twilio using Nodejs and Twilio’s Twiml but Studio, as a graphical scripting tool,  is a very useful rapid deployment strategy.

In this tutorial, though we are focused on TEXT we will also setup a solution that can answer VOICE calls or TEXT messages.  We will use speech recognition in addition to the normal “Press” instructions to get calls routed to the proper recipient.   Once the call flow is designed, we will add a number and test out our solution!     Twilio is a powerful tool and we have been able to script out customized text, voice and video solutions in days or hours rather than weeks and months!   Generally we also make liberal use of AWS for API Gateway access to AWS MySQL or DynamboDB database information using AWS Lambda functions.

The DrVoIP demo Challange!

We can build out a prototype AWS Connect Call Center with a Twilio Text front end for your company in less than a day!  So just ask us by sending a message to our Text Based Auto Attendant at 929-292-8100 and we will get you setup in no time!















Estimated Wait Time Browser Based Call Center featuring Video Chat & Screen Share!

Do you Text or Call?

Most call centers have learned that folks are not sitting at home on a wired land line phones calling for tech support,  or to make an appointment or to check on the status of an outstanding order!   These folks are rushing between jobs, kids and other responsibilities and nobody has a land line let alone time to sit at the kitchen table and with for the “next available agent”.    Everyone seems to have a portable, hand held computer doubling as a SmartPhone and as a result more folks are texting then making phone calls.

Can clients text your call center?

Over the last couple of years of working with ShoreTel and CISCO Call Center solutions, we have been repeatedly asked to enable text solutions.   We had been doing this as “one off” scripts for whatever vendor solution we were working with but we soon determined to apply the DRY (don’t repeat yourself) principle and began to productize the solution.  Initially we were focused almost entirely on text applications.   Then  a client who manufactured medical devices asked, can folks send us a picture?    So we enabled clients to text a picture to the technical support team at this company.  Apparently, attaching a photo to an email was to hard but texting a picture was a no brainer!

We then added SMS2List functionality to enable companies to create an “opt in” bulk text notification solution.    Creating a text  based list of customers that you can send a “special sale coupon” to or alert a “first responder” list of employees about an impending service outage or other emergency rapidly became typical use cases.     Additionally, a single incoming text number could support multiple applications as we enabled “keyword” message routing.    Preface your text message with a “keyword” and you could route it to a completely different group within your company.  Our “SMS2Email” quickly enabled text applications for call centers that already supported “email to the next available agent”.

Click to Call Back?

Adding a “click to call” link to a company website was next on the feature development list.    The application now supports the ability to generate a link or embed  code in your website or email signature that, when clicked on, prompts for a return number, calls your call center and when an agent gets online, completes a call to the person who clicked the link!   We even offer the option of recording the call.

Click to Video Chat?

Today, we have introduced “video chat” functionality to our quiver of customer service solutions.   You can now create a link or embed code in your company website that enables you to setup a real time voice or video chat with the next available agent!  Agents require nothing more than a Chrome or Firefox browser and a computer with microphone and camera.  In fact no formal call center is required at all.  This functionality can be established for any work group, anywhere on the globe that supports a quality internet connection.  Just log in and go!

AWS Cloud Infrastructure and subscription based!

The entire solution is built out using Twilio and AWS.   There is nothing to download or install.   The administrator or “campaign manager” creates a new campaign which generates the web hook and link or code to embed in your website and then defines the agents.   Agents log in using Chrome or Firefox (both browsers support WebRTC while Apple Safari and Microsoft IE figure out their own protocol route) on a computer that supports a camera and USB headset.   All interactions are logged with a unique ticket number that is archived and searchable by the campaign owner.

Presentation and Demo

Product development is a process not an event and this is where we are in the process. This is an exciting solution and we will continue to make it available as we enhance functionality and explore new use cases.   If you want to “give it a go” let us know by texting the work “DEMO” to 424-348-4000 and we will get you setup with a trial account.   We are always open to new use cases and application ideas so let us know what you are thinking.