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Twilio Homes In On Customer Engagement
Today at Signal London, Twilio's bi-annual conference for developers, the company continued on its path to show the world the power of software development in enterprise communications. Specifically, it announced Studio, the newest addition to the Twilio Engagement Cloud revealed in May.
The best way to describe Studio is as a visual builder with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface aimed at cross-functional teams largely comprising business users. The idea is to enable anyone from marketing or other lines of business to make workflow improvements for customer engagement. Putting such capabilities into the hands of business users will empower them to amplify the work of developers, who are then freed up to focus on more valuable efforts and new projects, Twilio said. Additionally, by enabling business teams to make changes to customer experience workflows, enterprises can roll out changes more quickly.
"Historically, there are these bottlenecks of development within organizations. Studio empowers everyone to do things from testing an IVR to creating a messaging bot and beyond," Ben Stein, a director of product at Twilio, told me in a recent briefing. "We recognized the need for tooling to make developers more efficient."
Consider, as an example, a hospital that issues outbound appointment reminders via SMS to patients. While developers set up the notification system for outbound messaging, all too often consumers reply to these text messages. Business users begin to wonder, "What happens with those inbound messages?"
Now with Studio, those business users can take it upon themselves to set up inbound messaging, so that the text message triggers a workflow instead of just being a one-way notification. "To be able to take that one outbound notification and turn it into a great experience, and do so without developers, is super powerful," Stein said. "Making changes like this to impact customer engagement shouldn't require shipping code to production every time."
To be clear, this announcement doesn't represent a shift in Twilio's approach. Developers are still core, Stein said, only now it's not just developers the company is trying to reach.
"Customer engagement is incredibly important," Stein said. "It's critical for our customers and therefore to us. We want to make sure our customers can reach their customers how they want to, where they want to, and have the experience they want. One of the design principles behind Studio is to really bake in the experiences we've seen across the variety of customers we have adopting the platform. Customers don't need to reinvent the wheel every time. They can add their own flavor to what we provide."
Twilio Studio is available in developer preview. Twilio is still finalizing pricing, but Stein said it is aiming to set price points that work for large enterprises as well as small startups. As mentioned previously, Studio is the latest addition to the Twilio Engagement Cloud, which is a suite of APIs that provide businesses with the necessary logic for building multichannel communications with customers. Other APIs that fall under this umbrella include Notify, Two-factor Authentication, Verification, TaskRouter, Understand, and Proxy.