Two-Way SMS Text Messaging via Twilio & Textline

  • 2 May 2023
  • 1 reply
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Userlevel 1

I’m a big fan of Customer.io, but for the past few months my biggest gripe has been that I could send my customers SMS campaigns en masse that are really smart and well-timed, but that any replies to those text messages were lost to the ether in Twilio’s UI. I finally found a solution and I’m so excited about it that I wanted to share.

I stumbled upon Textline and while reading about their Twilio integration, a lightbulb went off in my head: Could I connect Textline to the same Twilio phone number that’s integrated with Customer.io?

Signing up for Textline and copy/pasting in the Twilio API key took about 60 seconds, but I swear time stood still as I sent a text message to myself from CIO, replied to it from my phone, and saw my reply pop up in Textline. Eureka!

All of the text message replies to my CIO messages now show up in a ticketing system where my team can triage and respond, and now we can send out SMS campaigns where we ask questions and try to engage. There are also a few handy integrations like Zendesk and Slack.

Is it perfect? Definitely not. You can import contacts from CIO into Textline manually so that you know exactly who is texting you, but there’s no integration that keeps your Textline contact book in sync, so if you get a new lead and they text you before you’ve imported their contact, it will show up as a random phone number instead of showing the customer’s name/email address.

Even with the gaps, this is a million times better than SMS replies getting lost in Twilio, and I feel like it’s an absolute gamechanger for how we can leverage SMS within Customer.io.


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Userlevel 1

UPDATE:

After reading this post, my (AMAZING) CSM from Customer.io reached out to me pointing out that I can automate adding Customer.io subscriber to Textline in the following way:

  • Create a campaign which is triggered by a new CIO subscriber being created (either with a segment or event)
  • In the visual workflow builder, drag and drop a "Send or receive data" action block into the workflow -- this is basically a webhook action that you would configure to send that data to Zapier or Textline.  
  • Create a POST event pointing to https://application.textline.com/api/customers.json
  • Add in the body content based on the schema here, replacing the placeholder content with liquid variables
  • Add a header with X-TGP-ACCESS-TOKEN and your access token from settings

I am not very technical but I was able to get this all to work. Now new CIO subscribers are automatically created in Textline so the contact book is in sync.

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