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Twilio Customers Share Stories of Digital Acceleration


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As previously reported on No Jitter, Twilio used last week’s Signal customer and partner conference to unveil a variety of products and initiatives targeting the accelerated shift from physical to digital experiences brought on by COVID-19. But it also took the opportunity to highlight businesses that are pushing through the crisis by transforming digitally with the help of its APIs.
Among those businesses is Nike, whose top executive joined the virtual Signal keynote to share the company’s transformation story.
Digital investments aren’t new to Nike; in fact, over the last six years, the shoe retailer had been on a path that would have seen digital channels account for 30% of the overall business by 2023, said Joe Donahue, president and CEO, at Nike. Then COVID-19 hit, and on March 15, the shoe retailer closed all brick-and-mortar storefronts around the world. Immediately, Nike became 100% digitally open for business, via as well as its Nike app plus its SNKRS, Nike Run Club, and Nike Training Club apps. Digital was “the only way we could connect with consumers,” he emphasized.
At the same time, Nike suddenly had 35,000 store employees — “store athletes,” as it calls them — at home and needing a way to work. The Twilio platform enabled Nike to connect with its consumers. Nike, a longtime customer of Twilio, turned to the API platform as a means of addressing this challenge. Building on top of the platform, Nike developed an application that lets consumers text questions to store employees from within its mobile apps, he said. As a result of being able to connect consumers and store employees, Nike has seen its digital business explode, and continue to grow even now that physical retail is back, Donahue said. Store employees can serve in-store and digital consumers — “it's a real win-win,” he added.

Jeff Lawson, Twilio CEO presents with John Donahoe, Nike president and CEO.

Besides Donahue, speakers from Mount Sinai Health System, United Way, and Ernst & Young also joined the keynote to share how their organizations have accelerated digital strategies during the pandemic.
Mount Sinai Health System – As this health organization studied how to become digitally driven and virtual-first, it identified three healthcare experiences that are fundamentally broken, said David Kerwar, chief product officer and head of consumer digital innovations at Mount Sinai Health System. They are a patient’s ability to find and access care, their ability to navigate the care plan system, and to pay bills. To address the challenge, Mount Sinai used the Twilio platform to build and deploy a “completely new digital front door” to its services. Now, patients have the ability to access, navigate, and pay for care from a single interface, he said.
As an example, he described how this might look to a patient named Lisa who develops a pain in her neck during a cross-country flight. When she lands, Lisa texts “474624,” which spells out “for Sinai,” and the hospital texts her back a link leveraging Twilio to bring her into the new Mount Sinai digital front door. She taps, “Find care now,” and after a few chatbot interactions to rule out an emergency, she’s able to connect to a live navigator who helps find the right physician and time that works for her. “Using Twilio, we can recognize when Lisa comes back into our platform, based upon her cell phone number … so we can offer her custom reminders and calls to actions based upon her care history,” he added.
United Way – In the first few weeks of the pandemic, this organization saw a doubling of call volume coming into its 211 service, which provides social services, food programs, housing, and additional assistance to people across the U.S., said Rachel Krausman, senior director for 211 at United Way (see related No Jitter article). As part of its COVID-19 response, United Way partnered with, a Twilio initiative aimed at supporting employees make a positive social impact, to deploy Autopilot, Twilio technology for building conversational bots, she said. Using Autopilot, United Way has been able to route callers to an FAQ for answering common questions “without having to use the resources of a live specialist,” she explained. Using Autopilot analytics, it tracks how well the tool responds to callers and makes adjustments to improve the client experience in real-time, she added.
In addition, United Way deployed Twilio’s programmable contact center, Flex, to connect people calling 211 in areas without such service to agents who could handle their questions, Krausman said. This was primarily an issue in Ohio, where 38 counties did not have 211 capabilities. Since deploying that solution there, thousands of people in Ohio have been connected to live help when they need it, she added. “Based on this foundation that we've built with Twilio Flex and Twilio Autopilot, we're now able to respond quickly and easily to other crises and emerging needs,” Krausman said.
EY – This global professional services firm set out to rethink the job candidate experience with the goal of making it “simple for candidates to find and access gigs that also provided flexibility to manage life’s challenges, like the pandemic,” said Aashir Shroff, global head of product for EY’s Escape Now platform. Toward that end, it tapped Twilio’s SendGrid email platform to implement a jobs digest email program that matches candidates to the best opportunities, he said. For candidates, “the time spent applying for gigs goes from 20 minutes to 20 seconds, and they can do it right from their couch,” he added.
Additionally, EY used Twilio SMS and Autopilot APIs to create a micro-interview chatbot for candidate pre-qualification, and realized another “big win” by using Twilio voice and video APIs to enable live interviewing from within EY’s recruiting and hiring manager platform, Shroff said. The interview is automatically recorded, saved, and transcribed, so that’s it’s easily searchable and shareable, he added.
Shroff credited EY’s use of Twilio APIs in speeding hiring time by 63%, with a cost savings improvement of 30% and an all-time-high customer satisfaction rating of 88% for the candidate experience. You can’t ask much more that than in a digital transformation.