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Warm Transfer with PHP and Laravel

Have you ever been disconnected from a support call while being transferred to someone else? That couldn't have left a great impression on you...

Warm transfer eliminates this problem - it allows your agents to have the ability to dial in another agent in real time.

Today we'll add warm transfer to a PHP and Laravel application so we can engender warm feelings among customers talking to support.

Here's how it works at a high level:

  1. The first agent becomes available by connecting through the web client.
  2. The second agent becomes available by connecting through the web client.
  3. A customer calls our support line.
  4. The client stays on hold while the first agent joins the call.
  5. While the first agent is on the phone with the client, he or she dials the second agent into the call.
  6. Once the second agent is on the call, the first one can disconnect. The client and the second agent stay on the call.

Let's get started! Clone the sample application from Github, and click the button below to begin.

Next

Set Up The Voice Web Hook

First, let's configure the voice web-hook for the Twilio number that customers will dial when they want to talk to a support agent.

Twilio Console for Warm Transfer

This should be the public-facing URL for your app in production.

One option to expose a development URL from your local machine is to use ngrok. Your URL would then be something like:

https://<your-ngrok-id>.ngrok.io/conference/connect/client

        
        
        
        
        app/Http/routes.php

        Route for our webhook

        app/Http/routes.php

        Great work! Webhook in place, we're ready to start looking at the code.

        Next

        Connect an Agent to a Call

        Here you can see all front-end code necessary to connect an agent using Twilio's Voice Web Client.

        We need three things to have a live web client:

        • A capability token (provided by our Laravel app)
        • A unique identifier (string) for each agent
        • Event listeners to handle different Twilio-triggered events
              
              
              
              
              public/js/main.js

              In the next step we'll take a closer look at capability token generation.

              Next

              Generate a Capability Token

              In order to connect the Twilio Voice Web Client we need a capability token.

              To allow incoming connections through the web client an identifier must be provided when generating the token.

                    
                    
                    
                    
                    app/Http/Controllers/TokenController.php

                    Generate a new capability token for a given agent identifier

                    app/Http/Controllers/TokenController.php

                    Next we'll look at handling incoming calls.

                    Next

                    Handle Incoming Calls

                    For this tutorial we used fixed identifier strings like agent1 and agent2 but you can use any unique string for your call center clients. These identifiers will be used to create outbound calls to the specified agent through the Twilio REST API.

                    When a client makes a call to our Twilio number ,the application receives a POST request asking for instructions. We use TwiML to instruct the client to join a conference room and use the Twilio REST API client to invite (and start a call with) the first agent.

                    When providing instructions to the client, we also provide a waitUrl. This URL is another end point of our application and will return more TwiML to SAY welcome to the user and also PLAY some music while on hold.

                    We use the client's CallSid as the conference identifier. Since all participants need this identifier to join the conference, we'll need to store it in a database so that we can grab it when we dial the second agent into the conference.

                          
                          
                          
                          
                          app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                          Create a conference call, put the client on hold, and dial agent #1

                          app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                          Next let's look at the TwiML response of our application.

                          Next

                          Provide TwiML Instruction To The Client

                          Here we create a TwiMLResponse that will contain a DIAL verb with a CONFERENCE noun that will instruct the JavaScript client to join a specific conference room.

                                
                                
                                
                                
                                app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                                Generate TwiML for the client to join a conference call

                                app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                                Next let's see how to dial the first agent into the call.

                                Next

                                Dial The First Agent Into the Call

                                For our app we created a createCall method to handle dialing our agents. This method uses Twilio's REST API to create a new call. The create method receives the following parameters:

                                1. from: Your Twilio number
                                2. to : The agent web client's identifier (agent1 or agent2)
                                3. url : A URL to ask for TwiML instructions when the call connects

                                Once the agent answers the call in the web client, a request is made to the callback URL instructing this call to join the conference where the client is already waiting.

                                      
                                      
                                      
                                      
                                      app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                                      Call an agent and redirect him or her to the conference call

                                      app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                                      Let's look at bringing agent #2 into the call next.

                                      Next

                                      Dial the Second Agent Into the Call

                                      When the client and the first agent are both in the call we are ready to perform a warm transfer to a second agent.

                                      The first agent makes a request passing its agentId. We look for the conferenceId needed so we can connect the second agent. Since we already have a createCall method, we can simply use that to invite the second agent.

                                            
                                            
                                            
                                            
                                            app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                                            Invite a second agent to the conference

                                            app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                                            Coming up next: letting the first agent leave the support call so the second can take over.

                                            Next

                                            The First Agent Leaves the Call

                                            When the three participants have joined the same call, the first agent has served his or her purpose. Now agent #1 can drop the call, leaving agent #2 and the client to discuss the weather and important matters of support.

                                            It is important to notice the differences between the TwiML each one of the participants received when joining the call:

                                            • Both agent one and two have startConferenceOnEnter set to true.
                                            • For the client calling and for agent two, endConferenceOnExit is set to true.

                                            Translated, this means a conference will start when either agent joins the call. It also means the client or agent #2 disconnecting will hang up the call.

                                                  
                                                  
                                                  
                                                  
                                                  app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                                                  Instruction to dial into a conference call

                                                  app/Http/Controllers/ConferenceController.php

                                                  And that's a wrap! Thank you for helping us add warm transfers so our support staff can tag in other agents for help.

                                                  Next we'll look at some other awesome features Twilio makes easy to add.

                                                  What Else Can I Build?

                                                  Where to Next?

                                                  We love PHP here at Twilio and have a lot of great content on the site. Alas, we're going to suggest just two other pieces at this point:

                                                  Server Notifications

                                                  Never miss another server outage. Learn how to build a server notification system that will alert all administrators via SMS when a server outage occurs.

                                                  Appointment Reminders

                                                  Cut down on the no-shows by implementing automatic appointment reminders for your clients.

                                                  Did this help?

                                                  Thanks for checking this tutorial out! Let us know on Twitter what you've built... or what you're building.

                                                  Mario Celi Paul Kamp Andrew Baker Kat King Samuel Mendes
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