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Twilio Signal 2022: Product News Recap


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According to Jeff Lawson, Twilio CEO and co-founder, chief information officers (CIOs) have begun to change their minds about customer engagement. Where once CIOs used to focus on creating great customer experiences, they're now figuring out how to make more money while delivering a good experience.
That was the upshot of what Jeff Lawson, Twilio CEO and co-founder, shared with Twilio Signal 2022 attendees during his day one keynote session before the company revealed three product announcements focused on orchestrating better customer service and higher sales.
Update Number One: Twilio Engage General Availability
Twilio Engage, an automation platform that helps marketers deliver omnichannel campaigns fit for the digital era, is now generally available following its reveal at last year’s Twilio Signal event.
Marketers have paid for ads that don’t work for years, because they don’t have the data or if they do, they have too much data, and it takes weeks to wrangle before they can use it—and that data isn’t in real-time, says Ivy Grant, VP strategy and operations, Cisco.
Say you have a customer who’s a cyclist, but she recently took up boxing. But you don’t know that—because your data is “stuck in a spreadsheet somewhere.” Now you’re left delivering an ad that’s irrelevant to your customer. If you had real-time data, Grant said, you would know your customer is looking at 14oz training gloves, and you’ll be able to show them that ad between 7-9 pm—since you know that’s when they shop. “They click. They buy. Boom.”
Having a real-time customer profile is important, Grant explained. But taking action on this real-time data is the point. “That’s what Twilio Engage is all about.” Twilio Engage is the company’s omnichannel orchestration built natively on top of its customer data platform (CDP). The data, and how marketers activate it, is located in one closed-loop system that acts in real-time, “activating customer touchpoints across the channels that matter most.”
Update Number Two: Flex and Voice Integrate with Google Dialogflow CX
Twilio extended its partnership with Google Cloud’s Contact Center AI (CCAI) to deploy personalized, virtual agents across interactive voice response (IVR) and other digital channels to engage customers in a natural conversation without the need for a human.
Andrew Moore, GM, AI, and industry solutions, Google Cloud, who also spoke during the Twilio event, says any IVR must be able to have a natural conversation with a human where the computerized communication dialogue shows respect and compassion during the conversation to try to understand what the human needs. If it’s something that only a human agent can handle, [the virtual agent] can gracefully pass the conversation along to the human. “But in many cases, the computer is capable of taking the action needed to complete the customer’s need.”
Moore emphasized that happier agents translate to happier customers, and automation aims to make the agent’s life a little bit better. “They can concentrate on the relationship-building and not all the bureaucracy that goes with it.”
Update Number Three: Verify Silent Network Authentication Takes A Password-less Approach to UX
Bad actors are rampant—increasing the need for countless CAPTCHAs, pin-codes, 20 character passwords, plus email and phone verification to confirm a customer is who they say they are. “What used to be simple, has become annoying and filled with friction,” Grant said. As a result, the customer experience suffers. Every time a customer takes too long to log in to their account, that’s lost business.
These circumstances prompted Silent Network Authentication (SNA), a SIM-based authentication method that uses direct carrier connections to silently verify possession of a phone number without requiring user input.
With SNA, when customers sign up or log in, it takes a second to verify. “No pin-codes, no passwords, no traffic lights,” Grant quipped, referencing the number of school buses customers get prompted to click before being verified. Twilio verifies the device and phone number with your customer’s mobile operator, and they don’t have to do a thing.
Twilio built Verify SNA on top of the same system used by carriers to authenticate mobile phone calls and data sessions on the network. Twilio partnered with 56 mobile operators across 30 countries and is adding new mobile operators all the time. SNA is available natively through the Verify API.