We’re excited to announce the Public Beta launch of Twilio <VirtualAgent>, Twilio’s native integration between Twilio Programmable Voice and Google Dialogflow Essentials (ES). With this integration, you can seamlessly bring the power of conversational AI to your Twilio Programmable Voice calls to provide rich and natural caller experiences within your Twilio IVR. With Twilio available as a one-click telephony partner, delivering conversational IVR is as easy as connecting your Twilio phone number(s) to your Dialogflow ES Agents with a click.
Before Twilio’s one-click integration with Dialogflow ES powered by Twilio <VirtualAgent>, businesses wanting to build a conversational IVR leveraged Twilio Media Streams to access raw audio from a phone call, stream it to an app that they built and hosted, which streamed it to Dialogflow to detect intent. Dialogflow responded with an audio stream back to the app which then streamed it back to Twilio and finally to the caller’s phone. Not only did developers spend precious time building and maintaining this integration, but businesses also invested overhead in dealing with two invoices and communicating with two support teams.
<VirtualAgent> eliminates the complexity, effort, and resources required to deliver conversational IVR experiences over a phone call. No code is required to integrate Twilio and Dialogflow ES, though code can certainly be used to customize and configure the integration. With a few clicks, businesses can receive calls to their Twilio phone numbers and then directly connect callers to the configured Dialogflow ES agents. Businesses also benefit from receiving only one invoice from Twilio for their use of both Twilio and Dialogflow and businesses can also rely on Twilio for all their support needs related to this integration.
Bring the conversation to your IVR
IVRs are the front door to a business, and getting that interaction right is critical to delivering a great caller experience. Conversational IVRs allow for callers to engage in rich, intuitive conversations. Today’s callers, whose expectations are influenced by their interactions with virtual assistants, expect to speak naturally, be understood, taken to relevant information, and resolve their issues without encountering the frustration of having to traverse layers of IVR options. <VirtualAgent> makes it easy to bring intelligence into the IVR, increasing caller satisfaction and reducing costs of connecting unhappy customers to agents.
<VirtualAgent> also delivers businesses and developers ease of use by not only in bringing AI into the IVR but also in configuring the caller experience. The focus can now be on understanding why callers are calling in and building intents specifically to support those reasons instead of trying to understand various caller journeys and replicating them within IVR trees. This integration automates routine customer interactions within the IVR and easily integrates with existing contact center and telephony infrastructure. Twilio already provides powerful features to build delightful IVR experiences (e.g., speech recognition, secure payments, text to speech) and this new feature further elevates that experience.
Getting started with Twilio Programmable Voice’s Native Integration with Dialogflow ES
Customers can leverage Dialogflow’s one-click integration with Twilio to associate their Twilio phone number(s) with their Dialogflow ES agent(s). Customers start by setting up their Dialogflow ES agents and selecting Twilio under one-click telephony.
After providing a few configuration details and selecting phone numbers, the integration will be complete. Callers can now call these phone numbers, which will connect them to the configured Dialogflow agents.
The integration can be further customized to modify the call flow and to edit language and sentiment analysis settings. See details here.
<VirtualAgent> is the TwiML that powers the integration between Twilio and Dialogflow ES. When a call comes into a configured Twilio phone number, <VirtualAgent> executes behind the scenes to connect that call to Dialogflow. Here’s what it looks like:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <Response> <Connect> <VirtualAgent connectorName="project" /> </Connect> </Response>
Modifying the Programmable Voice Call Flow
With Twilio, you can go beyond connecting a caller directly to a Dialogflow ES agent and ending the call when the agent interaction finishes. Using either the <VirtualAgent> TwiML noun or the Connect Virtual Agent Studio widget, you can add additional steps before and after the Dialogflow interaction. For example, you could connect a caller to a live agent when the Dialogflow agent interaction ends, or you could prompt your caller to select a language and direct them to a Dialogflow ES agent that will use that language. Learn more about customizing the Programmable Voice call flow using TwiML here, or using the Studio widget here.
<VirtualAgent> is priced at $0.06 per minute*. This includes both Twilio and Dialogflow usage and there will be no additional charges from Dialogflow. In addition to the $0.06 per minute of a Dialogflow ES session, you will also be charged for the associated Programmable Voice minutes and phone numbers used during the duration of the call. Programmable Voice pricing can be found here.
*pricing is rounded up to 15 seconds
We can’t wait to see what you build!
Lenore has 20+ years of marketing experience in the contact center industry. She is currently a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Twilio where she works to bring Flex, Twilio's contact center solution to market. She is focused on designing and building integrated campaigns, events strategy, content marketing and customer testimonials. Prior to Twilio she held several marketing and GTM roles in the contact center and collaboration industry. Lenore can be reached at lfiles (at) twilio.com.