For small businesses, SMS can be a convenient way to communicate and maintain relationships with their customers. It's convenient for the customer, too - SMS is built-in to your phone, you know how to use it, and you don't need to download any other messaging apps.
However as a business grows, using SMS alone can become unwieldy and hard to manage - remembering past conversations or decisions you have made will either have you scrolling up through the message history or looking elsewhere to reference any notes you have for this customer.
You may also have more than one employee replying to these messages, or want to assign employees to certain customers. This isn't easy to manage if all your messages are being sent through a single mobile number!
I've created a solution to this problem by integrating Twilio with Trello to bring your SMS conversations and notes on your customers together into one place 🎉
When a new customer sends an SMS to a business's number:
This will create a new card on the specified Trello board, and add the message as a comment to the card:
From here, the business can comment on the card, and it will send a text message back to the customer. The customer can continue to have a back and forth conversation:
While the business can continue the conversation from Trello, and add extra details as required:
Integrating with Trello opens up an endless number of options for how businesses can manage communications with their customers, including:
- Using Trello automation to assign new customers to different employees, or to automatically respond to customer messages
- Adding labels to divide customers into categories
- Create a summary of your conversations with your customer by adding a description to the card
- Move cards between lists, depending on their current status
This app fully functions as I have described in the demo section, but it is still at a "proof of concept" stage as it does require some initial set-up and hosting. Ideally authentication would be handled through a proper flow, and not through setting env variables. You can check out the code for yourself in the trello-twilio repository.
The server runs using Node.js, and I am making use of Twilio's SMS API to send messages, and a webhook when messages are received.
On the Trello side of things, I have setup a webhook that is called when someone comments on the Trello card, and use Trello's API to create a comment when a customer sends an SMS.
This is my submission to the #twiliohackathon under the "Engaging Engagements" and "Interesting Integrations" categories. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks for reading!