A contact center built for home improvement.

Business leaders in charge of contact center technology often find themselves dramatically scaling back their vision of an ideal solution to match the reality of products on the market. In early 2012, Anthony Rodio, the chief executive officer of Redbeacon, determined that such compromise was no longer necessary.

After Redbeacon was acquired by Home Depot in January 2012, Rodio set out to build a distributed contact center that would streamline connections between the contact center and other business apps, including Redbeacon’s CRM system. Of critical importance: The new contact center had to easily scale to serve Home Depot’s 2,252 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The challenge? The new contact center needed to go live in just eight weeks.

From zero to one million in 90 days.

Redbeacon decided to build its contact center on the Twilio communications API platform because of its proven scalability, ease of use and time to market. Not only was Twilio the leader in cloud communications, but Redbeacon had prior experience using Twilio to build an app that delivered SMS notifications to its pros.

It took only about a month for team of three engineers to create and deploy the contact center application. Within 90 days, the contact center had handled over one million minutes of calls and expanded the number of ticket types from three to sixteen. “Twilio gave us the ability to get up and running faster than any other solution on the market,” Rodio said.

The application includes Twilio-enabled functionality that when purchased independently can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in integration and development costs and/or hundreds of dollars per month per agent:

Customers can find home improvement help through Redbeacon either by requesting service online or through an iPhone app. They can also speak with one of Home Depot’s associates at a store or call 1-855-RBEACON. After the customer describes his or her project, RedBeacon automatically submits it to a group of carefully selected pros for a bid. It’s not unusual for a customer to receive multiple bids within an hour.

This is a big change from the traditional method of soliciting home improvement bids, notes Aaron Lee, Redbeacon’s co-founder and chief technology officer. In the past, customers have had to research each professional, call the pros themselves and then wait for the bids. Redbeacon offers not only the benefit of speed, but of heavily vetted pros. Before referring a service provider, Redbeacon checks their licenses, service history and references. Each job comes with a $1,000 guarantee.

There are several ways the contact center provides customers with a better experience than they are used to. The first is through a streamlined IVR experience. When a customer first calls 1-855-RBEACON, they aren’t faced with endless menus. Later, when Redbeacon agents contact a customer for additional information, they have that customer’s information at their fingertips. As soon as a bid is complete, Redbeacon makes sure it’s received by pros, regardless of whether they are in front of a computer or on a job by reaching out through email and SMS.

Perhaps the most important features are the monitoring and reporting capabilities that allow for continuous improvement. A manager can join a call at any time or review recordings to ensure quality stays high. From the moment a call is received, all the details about it are logged, including when the call began, where it was routed and how long it lasted. The data is rich enough to allow for predictive analysis, while it also enables real-time reactions to spikes in call volume.

“With Twilio, we can optimize for customer happiness,” Lee says.

Both Lee and Rodio see contact centers at the forefront of the revolution that is transforming the way businesses interact with their customers. Thanks to a rise in communications-enabled business applications, impersonal transactions are being replaced by rich interactions that are deeply informed by a customer’s history and context. One of the easiest ways to join the revolution is to build apps on Twilio.

Rodio observes: “If you want to reinvent the way business is done, Twilio is the way to go.”

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