IVRs (interactive voice response) are automated phone systems that can facilitate communication between callers and businesses. If you've ever dialed your credit card company to check on a balance after responding to a series of automated prompts, you've used an IVR. Learn how to build an IVR in minutes using Twilio's powerful TwiMl API.Start Tutorial
Stranded aliens can call a phone number and receive instructions on how to get out of earth safely, or call their home planet directly. In this tutorial, we'll show you the key bits of code to make this work.
To run this sample app yourself, download the code and follow the instructions on GitHub.
Let's get started! Click the right arrow above to move to the next step of the tutorial.
To initiate the phone tree, we need to configure one of our Twilio numbers to send our web application an HTTP request when we get an incoming call.
Click on one of your
configure the Voice URL to point to our app. In our code the route
You may have noted we're using an unknown method
TwiML. This is a custom view helper
that takes a TwiML Response and transforms it into a valid HTTP Response. It's super easy,
check the implementation:
import flask def twiml(resp): resp = flask.Response(str(resp)) resp.headers['Content-Type'] = 'text/xml' return resp
action parameter takes an absolute or relative URL as a
value - in our case, the
When the caller has finished entering digits Twilio will make a
GET or POST request to this URL including a
Digits parameter with the number our caller chose.
After making this request, Twilio will continue the current call using
the TwiML received in your response. Any TwiML verbs occurring after a
are unreachable, unless the caller enters no digits.
This route handles processing the caller's input.
If the caller chooses '2' to call her home planet, then we need to
gather more input from her. We wrote another method to handle this,
which we'll cover in the next step.
If the caller enters anything else we respond with a TwiML
Redirect to the main
If our caller chooses to call her home planet we will tell her the planet's directory. This is similar to a typical "company directory" feature of most IVRs.
In our TwiML response we again use a
Gather verb to receive our caller's
action verb points this time to the
planets' route, which
will switch our response based on what the caller chooses.
Let's look at that route next.
The TwiML response we return for that route just uses a
Dial verb with the
appropriate phone number to connect our caller to her home planet.
In this route, we grab the caller's selection of the request and store
it in a variable called
selected_option. We then use a
Dial verb with
the appropriate phone number to connect our caller to her home
The current numbers are hardcoded, but they could also be read from a database or from a file.
That's it! We've just implemented an IVR phone tree that will delight and serve your customers.
If you're a Python/Flask developer working with Twilio, you might want to check out these other tutorials:
Use Twilio to automate the process of reaching out to your customers in advance of an upcoming appointment.
Use Twilio and Twilio-powered Authy OneTouch to implement two-factor authentication (2FA) in your web app
Thanks for checking this tutorial out! If you have any feedback to share with us, we'd love to hear it. Contact the Twilio Developer Education Team to let us know what you think.