Twilio is an online communications platform that lets users build their own SMS, video, and voice solutions using text-to-speech. Here’s how it works, as well as some alternatives.
Creating customized IVR (Interactive Voice Responses) and SMS messages has never been easier, thanks to the advancements in voice application technologies. Today, we’re taking a look at Twilio, one of the best phone call routing and conferencing solutions, as well as some of the best alternatives you can check out.
Twilio is a cloud communications platform that seeks to provide users with all tools necessary to come up with their own SMS, voice, and video applications and create a unique, personalized experience for their clients. In addition, it doubles down as a text-to-speech (TTS) tool that lets you convert text messages and transcription files into audio.
Thanks to Twilio’s flexible speech synthesis and comprehensive settings, you can use it to customize generated voices for the most optimal customer engagement. The platform lets you choose not only the language and voice but parameters such as reading speed, too.
What services does Twilio provide?
The beauty of Twilio lies in the fact that it’s a single platform with flexible APIs you can use for any channel. It’s got built-in intelligence and global infrastructure that will accommodate pretty much any project you’re working on.
Twilio features messaging services, voice, and video APIs, available in a range of programming and markup languages, such as Java, PHP, SSML, and Python. You can use it to create IVR solutions for inbound voice calls, build real-time communication apps, etc. In addition, the platform features a long list of analytics features and tools that will help you maintain your application, collect phone number data, and debug any problems.
You can try Twilio for free for the first 2,000 contacts, but you’ll have to make a Twilio account if you want to make use of all of its voice APIs. There are a number of premium pricing plans, so the exact price will depend on what you’re looking to get out of your text-to-speech/speech-to-text platform.
Improving customer experiences
As we’ve briefly alluded to, Twilio is all about improving communication with the customer. It achieves that mostly via improved messaging, IVR, video media, and engaging notifications, but its potential is endless, as it depends on the creativity of the user and what they can do with their SDK.
With Twilio, you can build highly convenient solutions for your apps. It allows for multichannel communication, it can help automatize many one of the tasks contact centers find tedious, it’s adaptable and scalable to accommodate your workflow, and its integration and sync functionality is great, allowing you to integrate it into your Customer relationship management (CRM) systems, for example, for an even better client experience.
Who does Twilio work with?
Twilio has tons of use cases. It can be integrated within any system, no matter the size of the enterprise and no matter the industry. It’s great for tech companies, online retail companies, all sorts of non-profit and volunteer organizations, etc. In short, it’s fantastic for all those whose business rests on solid customer relations.
Quick purchase authentication systems? Ridesharing with Uber? Automated crisis hotlines? Pre-recorded tutorials? Personalized bulk messages for WhatsApp? You can do all of that and more with Twilio.
There are several alternatives to Twilio, each with its own unique features, strengths, and weaknesses. Depending on what you’re looking for exactly, you can check out some of our top picks below.
Our first pick is Vonage, another cloud communications platform with programmable voices and lots of messaging and video APIs. What makes Vonage great is its reach: its network covers dozens of countries. Naturally, it’s highly flexible too, and it adheres to all security and communications standards, which makes it perfect for larger-scale projects.
Depending on your needs, Vonage might be a bit too expensive, though. For larger projects, you’ll have to contact the team for exact pricing.
Podium is a solution that takes customers’ experience to a new level. Of course, it provides them with a communications channel (via text, voice, or video), and it helps the business contact center respond quickly and effectively, but it also gives the business a chance to respond to user reviews and collect detailed analyses and data from the clients, allowing it to grow quickly. It is, thus, a reputation-building tool as well.
Podium has a free trial, but the more premium pricing plans will set you back up to $599 a month.
Plivo is another cloud communications service with terrific integration capabilities. If you’re looking for a simple call routing and notification-sending system, it won’t fail you. Not to mention that it’s one of the more cost effective solutions, which is not something we can say about other entries on our list.
Unfortunately, Plivo might be a bit hard to navigate, and the analytics tools it provides are sometimes not sufficient as the console is kind of limited.
The price? It will depend on the country, but you can check it out on the official Plivo website.
Telnys is one of the most flexible solutions on our list. Healthcare, retail and commerce, logistics, travel, finance — it doesn’t matter what industry you’re working in, Telnyx has the right tool for you. It’s got AI and voice analytics features, B2C messaging APIs, call escalation tools, and much, much more. In short, the platform seeks to integrate voice, text, fax, and video communication and give you the power to control a wide range of different applications with ease.
Some drawbacks to Telnyx include a lack of subaccounts, a bit steeper prices in some countries, and an occasional SMS bug. Speaking of pricing, it will vary as the platform features countless APIs.
Text to speech technology
TTS technology can be a valuable tool for your communications platform. TTS tools allow the user’s device to convert written text into audio, which can be useful for those clients who have difficulty reading or for those who need to read messages urgently but can’t do it practically, for example, when they’re multitasking at work or when they’re driving.
If you can integrate it with your platform, Speechify is definitely the best TTS solution you can use to read virtually any kind of written content, including automated messages and notifications, emails, all sorts of docs, etc.
Speechify supports dozens of world languages, and it’s got some of the most expressive voices on the market you can further tweak thanks to all the customizable settings the program comes with. That makes it perfect for international markets and enterprises looking for more intimate, personalized customer relations.
Speechify is available for mobile (iOS and Android) and desktop devices (Mac and Windows). You can try it today for free.