Automatic Phone Calls to Sellers

Continuing with a trend of new features enabled by Twilio, we’ve added automatic order confirmation calls.  BoxCycle doesn’t allow buyers to pickup boxes right after placing an order; the seller needs to confirm box availability and select the final appointment time before the buyer is provided with the pickup location (see How It Works).  So effective communication with sellers is crucial.

We automatically notify sellers of new orders by email, fax, and text messaging.  If they don’t reply in a reasonable period of time, we follow up by phone.  What’s ‘reasonable’ depends on the urgency of buyer’s order, time of the potential appointment, seller order history, and more.  We want to minimize seller time investment and annoyance, so we don’t want to bother them by phone when they’ve just received an email and there is plenty of time for them to respond.  But we also don’t want to delay the buyer or wait on a seller when our email is in their Spam box or when they no longer have boxes and don’t feel the need to reply to us.

Automating these initial confirmation calls to sellers removes business hours considerations from calling, reduces human error, and allows us to integrate all the factors in a consistent manner.  We can take into account buyer urgency, seller history, previous calls, etc. to contact the seller just enough.

Automatic calls also enable us to offer sellers options for dealing with orders directly over the phone, something that can be more efficient and more appealing to some sellers.

Of course, sellers can still connect to our support team by phone and we’ll continue to make manual calls when automatic calls do not receive a timely response.  But automatic calls should let us add consistency to the process leading to faster confirmations for buyers without extra annoyance or work for sellers.

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