I was setting up an online store for a bunch of friends through Shopify. We setup chat channels using Messenger and Shopify Ping, but we still wanted to have a phone number in case the customers wanted to talk. The online store did not have a physical store and did not yet want to invest in a help desk setup.
We came up with a simple solution through a Twilio phone number - that when called simultaneously rang the mobile phones of the partners.
- A Phone Number
- Initial Greeting
- Simultaneous Dialings
- Record A Message
Twilio has been super great being a developer friendly service. We chose Twilio to purchase a virtual phone number. Some of the choices include region specific phone number or a toll free number. You can purchase once you sign up for free at twilio.com
Purchase a number here
- Search for a number of your liking
- Choose Voice capability
When any customer calls the above phone number, you could program it in multiple ways. We went with creating a simple TwiML script.
- Configure your active numbers here
- Configure the Voice & Fax section by choosing TwiML Bin for A call comes in option
- Press the + on the right to create a new TwiML script (full script in the end)
Voice greeting can be set using the block.
<Say voice="man"> Welcome to online store dot com - please wait while we connect your call. </Say>
<Say> block speaks the text in a computerized (yet human-like) voice. There are multiple options for
The next requirement was to have the incoming call result in calling a few of the partners and the most available person would pick up and connect the call.
This code block dials the numbers in the values.
<Dial timeout="20" record="true" callerId="+19000000000"> <Number>+16000000000</Number> <Number>+14000000000</Number> </Dial>
callerId are passed to the Dial block.
timeoutsets the number of seconds the numbers below should ring before going to the next block
recordsets the setting to record or not
callerIdsets the phone number from which the Numbers below should receive the calls. We set to a Twilio verified number, as we wanted to partners to know that this is a call for the online store. You will not be able to specify a number that has not been verified in Twilio
<Number>...</Number> blocks are put inside
<Dial> block to dial simultaneously.
At instances where all the few partners are able to receive the call, we wanted the customer to record a message to replay and address the needs.
This code block achieves the requirement
<Say voice="man"> All our representatives are busy. Please leave a message and we will contact you back. Thank you. </Say> <Record maxLength="20" />
- Before recording the voicemail, we put a prompt that everyone is busy and to leave a message.
- Record block records upto 20 seconds of voice
TwiML script is executed top down one block at a time.
<response> block will be executed as response to the incoming call. Here is the full code.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <Response> <Say voice="man"> Welcome to online store dot com - please wait while we connect your call. </Say> <Dial timeout="20" record="true" callerId="+19000000000"> <Number>+16000000000</Number> <Number>+14000000000</Number> </Dial> <Say voice="man"> All our representatives are busy. Please leave a message and we will contact you back. Thank you. </Say> <Record maxLength="20" /> </Response>
Hope this helps you in a similar case. Please let me know if there is a better way to fulfil the requirements.
Also, here is a referral link if you would like to try out Twilio.