This is a guest post is written by Gaurav Oberoi, CEO of Precision Polling. PrecisionPolling provides a self-service tool for creating telephone surveys in minutes. They use Twilio to power the cloud communications for their product, and this is their story.
Twilio is great. You already knew that; it’s got easy-to-use building blocks; it scales; and it’s reliable. But we took our love of Twilio to a whole new level and bet everything we have on creating a new kind of business based on their platform. We quit our jobs, scraped together our savings, and started our own company, Precision Polling.
Precision Polling is a website that allows you create telephone surveys in minutes. In just a few months we had a complete product that was attracting paying customers; we have since been scaling to meet demand. We couldn’t have done it without Twilio, and are excited to share our experience with the platform.
We are “SurveyMonkey for the Phone”
Precision Polling is a self-service website that lets you design and run phone surveys. Creating a survey is a simple 3 step process: add questions through a web interface, call our hotline to record your voice, and then give us a list of phone numbers to call. That’s it. Click “Run” to start making calls and get a detailed report in real-time.
We’ve got all sorts of customers: businesses that conduct customer satisfaction surveys, organizations that want to talk to their members, and people in government and politics conducting public opinion research. Some of them even come up with use cases we never imagined, like collecting email addresses from parents, or getting RSVPs for a wedding.
We get lots of requests for more sophisticated survey features, like routing calls, recording and transcribing voices, rotating how questions are phrased to eliminate bias, and so on. Between the fact that we’re using Ruby on Rails and Twilio, adding these new call features usually only takes a few dozen lines of code and new unit tests.
Winners Focus on Product, Not Plumbing…
If Twilio hadn’t come along, we would have spent the first several months in the product development cycle wrestling with open source telephony stacks, or negotiating contracts with enterprise voice API providers. Instead, with the phone platform taken care of, we could spent all our time on developing our core product and business. We focused on our customers and built the advanced survey features they needed, with the bulk of our time spent on developing a truly flexible survey design interface, and powerful data-analysis tools.
And Boy, Does the Plumbing Scale!
Some of our clients run huge surveys. To meet their needs, we’ve had to process tens of thousands of calls per hour. Usually, managing such massive surges in demand can mean a substantial outlay in writing operational code to dynamically requisition machines, deploy software, update load balancers, and so on. Thankfully, Twilio takes the brunt of that pain away, and leaves us with a much simpler problem of scaling to handle tens of thousands of HTTP callbacks, which can be managed with the normal web-scaling strategies of load balancers, caching, etc.
So In Short: Use Twilio (Even Build a Business on It)
We’re half a year into our startup and are very pleased with our decision to build on top of Twilio. Thanks to the Twilio platform, we were able to build a powerful phone application, with only a tiny fraction of our codebase dedicated to telephony. And with how easy Twilio has made it to venture into voice based apps, there’s a huge opportunity to build around use cases involving the phone. Government 2.0 is a great opportunity for voice and one that we’re very excited about (many citizens aren’t affluent or geeky enough to be reached by social media), as is using voice to help grow the local search space (reaching local store owners by phone seems more likely than by email).
If you haven’t already, give the Twilio APIs a spin – and then head over to PrecisionPolling.com. :)
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