Automation in the COVID-19 age

I know it’s been quite awhile since I’ve sent a newsletter (Gee, did I miss anything?). I’ve been working with a couple of new and fantastic clients that have had me running around at full speed in all directions. It’s a good problem to have. Naturally, the world is changing at a rapid pace and subsequently I’ve had several clients ask about ways to become more virtual, but stay 100% customer-focused. Love it. It’s right in my 9-dots, as my good friend likes to say.

I wanted to show off a case study of an app we recently built that might spur some ideas for you and your business. With most people in the US under quarantine, we find ourselves leveraging technology more and more in recent weeks. Zoom is probably the most well-known example. Video conference calling that actually works well and is easy to set up. Cheap and cheerful, compared to WebEx, which everybody hates but most people in business just grin and bear it.

The Almighty, Magical TextBot

One of my clients in the “essential business” category was in need of an additional, virtual method of servicing clients that are unable (or unwilling) to come into any one of their locations. B&S Hacienda Auto Body is a fantastic, family-owned auto-body repair business that has been in business for 60 years and is genuinely fanatic in their focus on good customer service. With 5 locations and growing, a personal touch has always been their hallmark. Given the COVID-19 restrictions in place, they were in need of options. What if we could provide seamless, virtual customer service via text? Enter BAYWORX and Twilio.

It works like this…if a customer needs a tow, an estimate or a status update on their repair, they can do this all virtually, without downloading an app. It’s all done via text messaging and is available 24 / 7.

We chose Twilio, since it is cloud-based, cost-effective and allows us to call webhooks based on events. It works like this: A person sends a text to their text line at 925 248-3909. The app will respond and ask a few questions:

Which office is most convenient for you?
What is your name?
What is your email?
What is your phone number?
What kind of help do you need (A tow, an estimate or a status update)?
If you choose a tow, you get a selected list of towing company partners
If you choose status update, your information will be sent to the manager of the location you selected in step 1.
If you choose estimate, it will ask you for your address, VIN number and a picture of the damage.
Once it has all the info it needs, it sends an email to the manager of the facility you chose in step 1 and an estimate is created and sent to you via email. Magic! All done without (barely) leaving your couch. I mean, you DO have to get your butt off the couch to take a picture of the damage to your vehicle, but c’mon…

Pretty cool, right?

All of this was done via the Twilio Studio and about 200 lines of php code. Twilio Studio is amazing. It’s a drag and drop editor that let’s you build your business logic and handle the entire flow of the text bot.

Once the gathered data is all ready to be submitted for response, it makes a call to a webhook I wrote that generates the email (and creates a record in the CRM application). Totally automated.

I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy. Look forward to better days soon. Be well.

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