How Airbnb and Uber used Twilio for the best customer experience

  • June 18, 2019
  • Atif Rizvi
  • Uncategorized

There are a lot of things that shape a company, a lot of aspects that control its interaction with the user. In our hasty lives, we often forget to note those little details, those tiny nuts and bolts that actually piece together the machine that is the company. Too small for us to notice but so important that without them the entire machine would fall apart. Today we discuss something very similar, we talk about a tool that when smartly wielded has resulted in a transcendental shift in user interaction and has single handily solved a compound number of complexions faced by companies on a daily basis. Today we talk about- Twilio.

Now, there are several ways that one can look at Twilio- as an aid for other companies for establishing an easy and accessible network of communication for its users, a shortcut to outsource responsibilities, or simply as an externally operated communication system. But in reality, all of Twilio is the embodiment of all these features and more. This becomes one of the most interesting and handy aspects of Twilio, but we venture further down this lane, it is essential to digress a bit and understand what actually is- Twilio, cause I’m pretty sure the way we have been talking about it so far, it must seem nothing short of a magic wand. But of course, Twilio is nothing of that sort. It is in fact, a cloud-based communication system, it allows software developers to communicate via calls, messages, etc. using its own web service’s Application Programming Interface. It is one of the most incredible milestones as well as testimony to its usefulness that two of the biggest and most widespread applications are today not only largely dependent on Twilio but have a major chunk of their success as well as profits being owed to it exclusively. Let us take a closer look at this-

“It’s been invaluable to have a reliable service to tell folks what’s going on with their ride. The kinds of problems we were seeing with other providers, we just haven’t seen with Twilio. I sleep easier, and my engineers sleep easier,” is how Travis Kalanick chooses to broadcast his experience with Twilio and its not without a reason. Uber was initially not built around Twilio. As a result, even though they were acing the cab services, the customer experience kept deteriorating. This was simply because communicating between drivers and customers were largely dependent on technologies so inefficient that there were times when a simple message like “your cab has been cancelled” took as long as twenty minutes at times. The plight of the poor customer standing in the rain waiting for a cab that is never going to come can only be felt with your own body shivering with cold and heart retching with repulsion. But, this was the case before Twilio came marching in its shiny armor, everything from your ETA to driver’s name and  rating reaches your phone Twilio, with its technology Uber has efficiently and for quite some time now faced next to no problems in managing real-time conversations and has ultimately been equipped enough to carry out international expansion.

Airbnb, a company currently overshadowing any of its contemporaries in providing rental opportunities for owners and seekers too has a very humbling tale to share about Twilio. With Twilio travelers and other seekers can easily, quickly and efficiently rent out rooms and houses, without any scope for time lag or any other delay in communication. With only a 32-hour deadline for confirmation or rejection, it was essential that Airbnb uses an efficient and faster method for communication. But this is not it, because of its mobile feature, Twilio allows communication to transcend the barriers of computers and laptops and reach the mobile phone directly instead, this too saves a lot of time and results in a better User Experience altogether. An alternative to this was manual calling by Airbnb itself to all its customers on every booking, but for a company expanding as quickly as this one currently, this method was not just too expensive and inefficient but simply impossible to achieve. Simply because it is impossible to possess and use the kind of resources and manpower needed to actually carry out the entire thing every day. Thus, without Twilio, there is absolutely no way that Airbnb would ever have become the big deal it is now. With the onset of automated messages, the company needs even lesser manpower in this field and still have a better user experience.

After all of this, I think it is safe to say, that even though it is not that commonly known as Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp all which their selves use Twilio in order to operate in the manner they do currently but Twilio is a major stakeholder in providing an engaging User Experience to customers and it is no small partner when it comes to sharing success with these major players in the industry today.

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