Home > LiveOps EXTRAS! > Application Notes > App Note 023 - Twilio Voicemail and Transcription Integration

App Note 023 - Twilio Voicemail and Transcription Integration

Abstract

This Application Note describes the capabilities of the Twilio voicemail system and how to integrate Twilio voicemail and message transcription into a LiveOps email queue.  The Twilio voicemail functionality can be used in concert with the LiveOps platform to enhance a customer's voicemail collection and improve delivery options for after hours, emergency & transcription scenarios.

Overview of Solution

The LiveOps platform includes a "Callback with Voicemail" module within its Call Flow Authoring (CFA) tool set.  Using this module, the LiveOps platform allows a customer to enter their callback number (and, optionally, to leave a short recorded message) and hold their place in queue.  Callback numbers and messages enqueued in this manner are held in the queue until an agent becomes free.  This module is often invoked when the estimated wait time of a queue exceeds a certain threshold. 

 

Unfortunately, these "queued callbacks" can only remain in queue for a maximum of 12 hours.  If a free agent is not found within 12 hours the queued callback is discarded and lost.  This makes the "Callback with Voicemail" module beneficial for short durations but renders it unsatisfactory for taking messages for lengthy periods of time, like after-hours messages or during holiday/closed conditions.  For these situations a true voicemail system is required such as the features and capabilities provided by Twilio.

 

The Twilio voicemail feature set allows for recorded messages to be retained as long as needed and can send an email notification with a link to the voicemail message for playback.  It can also use its Speech-to-Text (STT) engine to transcribe the message for inclusion within the email.  This makes the Twilio voicemail system a perfect solution for organizations than need an after-hours voicemail box.

 

For those customers using LiveOps Engage with the email channel enabled, sending the transcribed voicemails to the Engage email queue is a very effective way to support and track after-hours voicemail messages and to queue the Twilio voicemail email notification for handling by an agent once the office reopens.

 

The voicemail email notifications in the Engage email queue allow an agent to listen to the voicemail (via the Twilio-provided message URL link), call the customer back directly via a voice call (if the caller ID is available in the email notification) and review the text of the message (if message transcription is enabled).

Twilio Voicemail Configuration Steps

The first step to configuring a Twilio voicemail box is to acquire a Twilio Direct Inward Dial (DID) telephone number.  LiveOps can do the acquisition of a Twilio DID number for you or you can obtain the number yourself using your own Twilio account.  The example screen shots below will be using a LiveOps sub-account called "LOSalesDemo" within the Twilio administrative interface.

 

Start by logging into your Twilio Administrative web site:

  1. Click on "Numbers" in the top navigate menu and click on “Twilio Numbers”
  2. Then click on the “Buy a number” button

 

TW01.png

 

You will then be able to search for a number by country and by desired number or location.

  1. Select your Country
  2. Enter a specific number, area code or geographic location to locate a free DID
  3. Check "Voice" (A voice-capable number is required to enable a Twilio voicemail box)
  4. Click "Search"

 

TW02.png

 

Once you find a number to your liking, click "Buy" to purchase your new Twilio DID.

 

TW03.png

Note: Twilio voice delivery, DID monthly rental, recording & transcription pricing can be found here: https://www.twilio.com/voice/pricing

Below is a screen shot of what a Twilio number looks like once purchased.

 

TW04.png

 

Once you have purchased your new Twilio DID, you must tell Twilio what you want to happen when the number is dialed.  In our example, this number will be used as the after-hours voice mail box for a support team.  Calls recieved by the LiveOps platform afterhours will be redirected to this DID for callers to leave a message. 

The "Twilio Request URL" is the "action" that will be invoked when the Twilio number is dialed.  This is where a Twilio "Twimlet" comes into play.  A Twimlet is a small Twilio program/application, or applet, that is used to control the actions and responses to be invoked for different Twilio services. 

See: https://www.twilio.com/labs/twimlets, and https://www.twilio.com/labs/twimlets/voicemail for more details on the commands and Twimlets that will be referenced in this Application Note.

The Twilio voicemail service allows you to choose the type of greeting that will be played to the caller:

  1. If there is no pre-recorded greeting or message, the caller will here a default "Please leave a message after the beep" message.
  2. If you use a text string for the greeting, it will be read to the caller using the Twilio Text-to-Speech (TTS) engine.
  3. If you reference a web-stored audio file, such as a pre-recorded message stored as an .MP3 file, the caller will here that audio file as the played greeting.

 

Whether configured for option 1, 2 or 3 above, once the caller hears the greeting they will be able to leave a message in the DID's voice mail box.  Once the message has been recorded, the Twilio system will send an email to your SMTP email address with a link to the recorded message.  Optionally, you can instruct Twilio to invoke their Speech-to-Text (STT) engine and have Twilio transcribe the callers message and include that transcribed text in the email notification.

 

Below are two examples of voicemail notifications sent via email. 

The first example shows the caller's number (Caller ID) and contains a link to playback the recorded message/voicemail that was left by the caller:

 

tw07.png

 

The second example is similar to the first but also includes a transcription of the message:

 

tw07.png

 

In the following sections we will show you have the different greeting options are configured.

Basic Voicemail Greeting & Transcription

In this configuration example, Twilio will play a basic voicemail greeting that states “Please leave a message after the beep”. The caller will record their message and then hang up.  A voicemail notification email will be sent to a specific email address and the transcription will be included. 

 

The Twimlet URL that enables these actions would look like this:

http://twimlets.com/voicemail?Email=somebody@somedomain.com

The somebody@somedomain.com email address should be replaced with the target email address that you would like these messages to be sent. 

 

The actual commands used by the Twilio voicemail Twimlet in this example are as follows:

<Response>
  <Say>Please leave a message after the beep.</Say>
  <Record transcribe="true" transcribeCallback="http://twimlets.com/voicemail?Email=somebody@somedomain.com"/>
</Response>

If there was supervisor or team lead (example: mikesmith@xyz.com) that handled the after hours or emergency voicemails, he or she could receive each of these emailed voicemail notifications in their inbox, listen to the messages and then call them back using the caller ID that was presented when the message was left. 

 

TW05.png

Note: For all configurations the “Configure with:” setting should be set to “URL” and “HTTP POST” should be set as the “Request URL” type.

If a customer is using LiveOps Engage with the email channel enabled, the Twilio voicemail message notifications could be sent to their Engage email queue (emailqueueing.reporting@xyz.com) for queuing, tracking, response and reporting.

Note:    Any voicemail Twimlet URL that does not include "&Transcribe=False" assumes that Twilio transcription is enabled.

Text-to-Speech Voicemail Greeting

In the following configuration example, Twilio will use its Text-to-Speech engine to play a customized voicemail greeting that states “Thanks for calling X Y Z corporation.  You have reached our after-hours voicemail.  Please leave a message and we will return your call the following business day.”

The caller will record their message and then hang up.  A voicemail notification email will be sent to a specific email address and the transcription will be included. 

 

The Twimlet URL would look like this:

http://twimlets.com/voicemail?Email=mikesmith@xyz.com&Message=Thanks+for+calling+XYZ+Corporation.++You+have+reached+our+after-hours+voicemail.++Please+leave+a+message+and+we+will+return+your+call+the+following+business+day

As in the first example, replace somebody@somedomain.com with the target email address or LiveOps Engage email queue that you would like these messages to be sent.

Personalized MP3 Voicemail Greeting Message

Twilio voicemail services can also play a pre-recorded greeting to a caller.  The pre-recorded greeting should be in an .MP3 audio file format and must be accessible and stored on the public Internet.  If you have a greeting already recorded and located on the Internet you can point the Twilio Twimlet to play that file as your greeting.  If you do not have a greeting already available, you can use the Twilio voicemail service itself to create one.  Follow these steps to create your own greeting within your own voicemail box.

  1. Start by acquiring and configuring a Twilio DID to receive voice mail messages and send you an email notifications as described above.
  2. Next, call your Twilio DID, when you hear the "beep", record a message that will be used later as your greeting. 
  3. For example, you could record the following:

“Thanks for calling XYZ corporation.  You have reached our after-hours voicemail.  Please leave a message and we will return your call the following business day.”

  1. The call recording notification will be sent to your email address:

 

tw10.png

 

The URL link to the message that you just left can now be used as the .MP3 file for your greeting!

 

The Twimlet custom voicemail URL would be modified to look like this:

http://twimlets.com/voicemail?Email=mikesmith@xyz.com&Message=http://api.twilio.com/2010-04-01/Accounts/AC210b0cfee1a1f4c2bcfc35fd82d31419/Recordings/REd5xxxxxxxxxxxx40714a5628.mp3

Now, when a caller is sent into your Twilio DID's voicemail box they will hear your personalized voicemail greeting.  The caller will record their message and then hang up.  A voicemail notification email will be sent to your specific email address and the transcription will (optionally) be included. 

Disabling Voice Transcription

In any of the above scenarios you can disable the fee-based voicemail transcription by adding the "&Transcribe=False" component to the voicemail URL.

For example: http://twimlets.com/voicemail?Email=mikesmith@xyz.com&Transcribe=False&Message=Please+leave+a+message.

Any voicemail Twimlet URL that does not include "&Transcribe=False" assumes that Twilio transcription is enabled.

Delivering the email notification into LiveOps Engage

If you use Engage to handle email interactions you can direct the voicemail notification into your Engage Email queue for processing by your agents when your business is open.

Below is a screen shot of an after-hours voice mail left in a Twilio voicemail box with transcription enabled and the email notification sent into an Engage After-hours queue:

 

tw08.png

Usage Considerations

  • Twilio charges for monthly voicemail box DID rental, voice recordings per minute & transcriptions: https://www.twilio.com/voice/pricing
  • Monthly Maintenance of the Twilio voicemail box messages is recommended.
  • Twilio voicemail messages can be downloaded directly from the Twilio account/subaccount interface.

Version Information

Date Version Contributor Content
July, 2015 1.0 John Charles Initial AppNote
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