Text Messaging: Setup w/Twilio

We use a company called Twilio that does all of the sending of text messages from within The Customer Factor, so below are the various steps to get set up with Twilio and so you start communicating with your customers with text messages. 

Please visit Twilio.com and click the Signup button at top right:

Enter all required information as shown below like name, email address, and password (it has to be at least 14 characters). For the "Choose your language" option you can just insert "I'm not a developer". Then click "Get Started":

On the next screen you'll be asked to verify with a cell phone:

Click the "verify" button and then submit the code you receive as shown and click the "Submit" button:

Once you verify you'll see this screen:

All you have to do is click within the "Learn & Explore" area as shown above and you will see this:

You can eliminate the "My New Learn & Explore Project" text that displays in the project name field by default with "The Customer Factor" text or some other text. It really doesn't matter what you name your project. Click the "Skip remaining Steps" as shown in the above image.

So this takes you to what you see here:

You'll need to copy the entire "Account SID" number and paste it into the Account SID field in The Customer Factor. Then you have to click the "View" link for the "Auth Token" and copy that number also. You would copy it on the text messaging screen here:

After you do this then you have to head back to Twilio and get a phone number. Keep in mind that the sending phone number will be a number you get from Twilio, so it will not be your own phone number. So back in Twilio, click on what you see here:

When you do this, you'll see this:

Click the "Phone Numbers" option shown above and click on the "Get Started" button as shown below:

Then click on "Get your first Twilio phone number":

A window will open where you can just go with the phone number that displays in the window. So you could just click "Choose this number" as shown here:

For our example we'll search for a better phone number, so click the "search for a different number" link at the top right in the above image.

Then all you do is search by area code, so insert your area code and click "Search".

A number of results will display. If you don't like any of them you can click "Refresh Results" at the bottom of the screen and you'll see another bunch of phone numbers. Eventually, you'll find a phone number that looks good to you. Again, it's not going to be a number that you'll be communicating back and forth with. It's just for sending text messages from:

So assuming you have now clicked the "Choose this number" to the right of the phone number you want, as shown above, you will see this window:

Click the "Done" button and you'll end up on the "Get Started with phone numbers" page where you have to click the "Manage Numbers" link in the left sidebar as shown:

The number you selected earlier will display. Click on it:

At this point you can right-click and copy the phone number you see here:

And paste it into the phone field in The Customer Factor as shown here:

Make sure to click "Update" in The Customer Factor as shown above so that everything you copied from Twilio is saved.

We're almost done! :)

This next step is really important. By default, if you send a text message to someone and they reply back, it ends up in Twilio, so normally you would have to log into Twilio every day to check your replies. But that takes too much time, so we have a nice alternative. So back in Twilio (you should still be on the screen where the phone number displays) scroll down until you get to the "Messaging" area:

In the messaging area, you want to remove the demo URL from the field to the right of "A Message comes in" and the Webhook dropdown:

You want to insert this URL instead:  

http://www.thecustomerfactor.com/twilio_sms_reply.php?PhoneNumber=xxxx

You then replace the "xxxx" in this URL with your own cell phone number. Start with a 1 followed by your phone number and don't include any spaces or dashes. So you should end up with something like this for example:

http://www.thecustomerfactor.com/twilio_sms_reply.php?PhoneNumber=18506573245

Then click the red "save" button at the bottom left. So now when anyone replies to any text message you send the reply will go to Twilio and be redirected directly to your cell phone number. 

Ok... the last step:

Right now you only have a trial account. We recommend testing with a trial account, so go into your CF account, insert yourself as a prospect or customer and make sure your cell phone number is inserted into your profile. The right from within your profile screen you can go down to the "Emails, Text messages, and Letters area" and select "Send a text message" as shown:

Send yourself a text message and within 2 to 3 minutes it should arrive. Once it does and you've confirmed everything works as it should then go back into Twilio and click the "Upgrade" link at the top right:

You'll need to insert your credit card information. Each text message sent is just .0075 cents so, at less than a penny per text message, it's something anyone can afford. The minimum you can fund your account with is $20 but that could last you a few months. 

And there you go! It took longer to write above how to get set up with Twilio than it takes to actually get set up with Twilio. In another article, we'll discuss how to really benefit from automating text message sending and sending broadcast text messages. Have a great day!



4. A code will be sent to the number you provided. Make sure that your phone is with you when the text is sent because after receiving the verification code, you'll need to enter the code in the space provided and click "Submit":

5. You will get sent to the welcome page and you'll need to enter your "Project Name" or Company name and click "Create Project".

6. After creating the project name, you'll be directed to the home screen and under "Dashboard" you will see "Account SID" and "AUTH TOKEN". You need to click on the AUTH TOKEN eyeball to reveal the code.

twilio dashboard

eyeball

7. You can then copy this information to The Customer Factor on the text messaging screen in the "Account SID" and "Auth Token" fields.

copy to CF with sneding number

Using Existing Number Or Search For A Different Number:

1. You can now get "Sending Phone Number" by scrolling down and clicking the "Phone Numbers" link as shown below: 

phone number button

2. You will be sent to the page where you can get the Twilio phone number by clicking the "Get your first Twilio phone number" button.

get started phone numbers

3. Twilio will provide you with a random number and if you are happy with this number, you can simply copy it to the The Customer Factor text messaging screen to complete the setup.

first twilio phone number

4. Or you can search for a phone number if you don't want to use the suggested phone number. 

Just click on the "Search for a different number" link on the right of the phone number. Once you click that, you will be sent to the page where you can enter your desired area code (for this example, I used 850) and click "Search".

search button for PN

5. Twilio will run a search for the phone numbers with this area code and will give you a list of numbers to choose from. Once you selected a number, the next thing to do is to click "Choose this Number" on the right:

search number 2nd page

6. After selecting your desired phone number, it will congratulate you for choosing that number and you can just copy the number and click "Done".

congrats number

7. Paste the number as the "Sending Phone number" to the "Text & Email Automation" screen in the software. If you're logged in, you can get there by using this link: http://www.thecustomerfactor.com/automation.php?rpage=text

Click "Update":

CF with phone number

Updating Message Area in Twilio:

By default when someone replies to a text message you send from within CF, it goes back to Twilio which means you would have to be logging into Twilio every day to check your messages. In order to avoid that, you can redirect all text message replies to your own phone number. Here's how to do that:

1. Click "Manage Numbers" at the top left and click the phone number in red.

manage phone numbers

2. Go down to the "Messaging" area and remove the demo URL in that field.

messaging remove demo URL

3. Enter: http://www.thecustomerfactor.com/twilio_sms_reply.phpPhoneNumber=xxxx

Replace the "xxxx" in the above URL with your own phone number, make sure there are no spaces or dashes when you type in the phone number. Then click save and you're done.

change number in messaging URL

Testing

1. In order to test that the text messaging functionality is working, please add yourself into your account as a customer or prospect along with your cell phone number. Use the cell phone number you verified with Twilio. 

Scroll down to the "Send Emails & Text Messages, Print Letters" area.

send a text area

2. You can then select one of the sample text messages or click the "Create a new text message" link if you wish to compose a new text message. When done, click "Send":

send text new pop up window

In a minute or two, you will receive the text message. Once confirmed that everything works, its good to go.

Upgrade Your Account

1. Once everything is tested and working, you can now upgrade your Twilio account. You can find the "Upgrade" button at the upper right corner of the page when logged into Twilio as shown below:

upgrade link

2. You will be asked to provide your payment information. Enter your payment details and the amount. You can fund your account with $20. It will last you a long time since each text message sent is only .0075 cents (less than a penny) per text.

upgrade page

3. Once all the information is inserted click the "Upgrade Account" button to finish.

upgrade button

And that's all there is to it. It takes longer to read the above than to actually set text messaging up. So it's a simple process to get started. Combine regular text messaging with emailing and you'll be a rockstar with your customers when it comes to your communication skills.

All the best,

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