CraftJack, an online service that connects home owners with home-improvement contractors, needed a way to deliver instant leads to its advertisers. The company switched from Ifbyphone to Twilio and reduced its lead distribution costs by 75 percent.
Ross Gordon, the founder of CraftJack, describes the Chicago-based service as a cross between Angie’s List and Salesforce. “We help homeowners find local home improvement contractors, and we help contractors manage those leads,” he said. Gordon had originally tapped Ifbyphone’s cloud telecom apps to distribute web leads to contractors in the field, but quickly discovered that he needed more flexibility in order to build the service he envisioned. Gordon, who heard about Twilio at LeadsCon 2010, decided to use the Twilio API to add voice and text messaging to CraftJack’s lead-management and call-tracking apps.
Distributing Instant Leads with SMS Alerts
“We wanted to get our leads to our contractors in the fastest way possible, so they could respond to inquiries faster,” Gordon explained. Contractors typically spend their days in the field, away from their computers and desk phones, but almost all of them carry mobile phones. Gordon decided that real-time SMS notifications would be the best way to go. “We found Twilio to be the best solution out there in terms of delivering instant leads via SMS,” he says.
Using Twilio, Gordon’s tech team was able to quickly add SMS alerts to a call-tracking app. CraftJack’s app connects contractors with instant leads via a personalized pin that ensures every contact with a lead is also logged in CraftJack’s database. This makes it possible for CraftJack to provide contractors with insights into their follow-up process and to help them improve their closing rates.
The team also used Twilio to add voice broadcasting to the lead-management app: Before a web lead is passed on to the contractor, an automated attendant calls the lead and confirms that the phone number is real and that the customer is interested in moving forward. “That saved us a significant amount in terms of not having to hire a person to [make these calls],” Gordon said.
Both apps are built using .NET and MySQL. “Nothing took long to build at all,” Gordon said. “Customizing our apps was just so much easier with Twilio—it’s the main reason we switched.”
Another benefit was the cost savings. CraftJack’s prior provider charged between seven and eight cents per minute for an outbound call. Twilio charges one cent for inbound calls and two cents for outbound calls. Text messages are a penny a piece. “Twilio’s pricing was very attractive to us,” Gordon said. “With Twilio, we can spend more on generating leads.”
CraftJack is counting on Twilio to support its has aggressive growth plans. Among other features, the company is looking to add click-to-call to its lead-management app and call tracking for 1-800 numbers later in the year.