Twilio and the Age of Customer Engagement
Our exclusive interview with Twilio at their "Signal" Event, London
Signal is one of the annual events hosted by Twilio, an innovating brand in the world of technology and communication development. I was fortunate enough to get my own ticket to the second annual celebration of this event, and while I was there, I also had a chance to sit down with the GM of Messaging, and VP of product development, Patrick Malatack.
Patrick shared some of the latest details about the Twilio vision with me, and gave me a better look at what the future might hold for this incredible company.
What’s Signal All About?
The first thing I wanted to know as I sat down with Patrick, was what the “drive” behind Twilio’s Signal event was, and what the company hoped to achieve by hosting this annual event. Patrick told me that while the company was obviously there to share some of their latest products with developers, their biggest focus was allowing customers and vendors the opportunity to communicate and network with each other more freely in a creative space.
“A lot of our customers are doing incredible things on top of the Twilio platform. For us, the more we can get our clients interacting with each other, the more opportunities they’ll have to learn from one another. We think that these opportunities provide people with a chance to tackle problems in new and unique ways, particularly when it comes to customer engagement.”
Patrick went on to point out that “customer engagement” was the biggest theme of Signal for the current year. He noted that technology has been developing new ways for customers to interact with each other. However, Twilio overall feels that there aren’t enough solutions out there that cater to the needs of business to customer communication.
“There are plenty of ways to communicate with other people in your social network, but not enough simplicity in the business consumer connections we have every day. Twilio is trying to solve that problem by allowing customers to interface with companies in the same way they would connect with family and friends.”
What’s The “Studio” Package You Announced Today?
The next point I wanted to focus on, was the new “Studio” package announced by Twilio at the Signal event. The solution was designed to appeal to the huge range of developers currently building on the Twilio platform, including more than 500,000 in EMEA.
“Studio is Twilio’s next step in changing the way that businesses connect with customers. What studio is, is a visual interface builder that lets you drag and drop your user experience workflows into something that works differently for each unique business.”
“While developers can write the code that creates your customer experience, with Studio, everyone in the workforce can have an impact on the way you communicate with clients and leads.”
Basically, Patrick told me that Studio is about allowing everyone within the workforce to have an influence on the customer journey. That means that developers, sales managers, customer services managers, and anyone else can all get involved with transforming the productivity, and efficiency of the workplace.
“We’re giving businesses the tools they need to move more rapidly into digital transformation, while still maintaining the flexibility they’ve loved in Twilio from the start.”
Where is Twilio Headed with AI?
As more companies dive head-first into the concept of artificial intelligence, I was keen to learn where Twilio were planning on taking their own machine learning and AI platforms. The company had just announced a developer preview for something called “Twilio Understand“, which could be a powerful step forward in bringing machine learning to the overall communication experience.
Patrick told me: “There’s an overarching view in the digital space lately that bots are going to take over the world. However, Twilio aren’t thinking like this. We don’t believe that humans are going to move towards an age where we interact exclusively with bots. Instead, we think it’s going to be a flexible experience. While some experiences can be easily automated, others will need to stay connected to the human element. We’re investing heavily in machine learning and artificial intelligence, but we believe it’s just a part of augmenting and assisting the modern contact centre.”
For Twilio, the future isn’t about making the decision between bots or agents, it’s about giving businesses and customers the freedom to have a little of each. While the things that can be automated can be made faster, and more fluid, the things that need that human essence will become more engaging, thanks to contextual learning and data.
What’s Next for Twilio?
With so much development coming forward for Twilio this year, I was keen to learn more about where the brand would be heading in the future. Patrick told me that the company is focusing heavily on innovation and integration in the space of customer experience:
“Our big focus is on improving the customer engagements that businesses have. We’re constantly looking at new ways to improve great business experiences, and how we can design tools that will allow developers of the world to become more innovative. We’re looking into the future for opportunities in shared context, and ways that we can link customers to engages in new, unique ways.”
Part of the studio experience announced at Signal is built on top of a Twilio design that allows integration with almost any of the existing CRMs on the market today. It’s this flexibility that makes the brand so unique.
“At Twilio, we’re giving businesses better customer experiences, lower prices, and we’re delivering more customer satisfaction too. Everybody wins.”