Matthew Brown, the founder of ThatsUs.com, became an early believer in cloud communications after helping hundreds of firms set up local telephone exchanges. The experience helped him appreciate the efficiencies that could be gained from accessing telephone networks through a web API rather than with physical hardware and on-premises software.
But Brown’s initial experience with apps that promised communications as a service was disappointing. He wanted to add a full communications solution to LotVantage, an app that made it easy for auto dealers to create a single listing and post it to multiple sites, like Backpage.com, Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other classified and social marketing sites. But the services Brown tried weren’t reliable and lacked the functionality he needed to ultimately offer a full communications product to both the end user and consumer interested in these advertised goods.
One of Brown’s board members suggested he check out Twilio. Brown liked what he saw. “Twilio’s simple, easy-to-use, open API reminded me of our API,” Brown said. A developer at ThatsUs.com immediately got to work integrating the LotVantage app with Twilio.
Within days the developer had added not only call tracking, but also single click lead distribution and intelligent call recording. Four weeks later, the product was fully operational. This meant that customers could use LotVantage to create listings with disposable phone numbers. When a buyer called one of those numbers, he or she got transferred to a salesperson.
If a salesperson was away from his or her phone, for example, on the showroom floor, the salesperson would be alerted with a text message, and the customer would get a text message not only confirming their call had been received but also containing a direct link to the vehicle they were interested in for easy access later. Meanwhile, the data around the call was also tracked, so dealers had the information they needed to optimize their businesses.
“Twilio makes it possible for us to build the technology we want, without having to worry about the telecom back end,” Brown said. Even better, from Brown’s perspective, Twilio’s flexibility didn’t come at the expense of reliability or scalability. “By building our call tracking solution on Twilio, we ensure that no lead ever gets lost,” Brown said. “Twilio easily scales to accommodate large spikes in call volume, and its record uptime means we don’t lose any sleep worrying about our telecommunications infrastructure.”
The new features meant that LotVantage could offer customers one of the fastest and most reliable lead distribution services in the industry. Each lead was fully traceable, making it possible to quickly identify the most effective advertising channels and to calculate monthly ROI.
Brown said dealers who use LotVantage expect a cost per lead in the single digits and realize ROI on a monthly basis almost immediately.
As for ThatsUs.com, Brown said he realized ROI on the Twilio app in six months.
ThatsUs.com plans to continue to add features to LotVantage that will set the solution apart. Brown said the company is also planning to add communications capabilities into its other business apps.
“Our mission is to is build affordable applications for small businesses that level the playing field,” he said. “With Twilio, we can add reliable communications capabilities that scale.”