Twilio Announces Autopilot, Enabling Millions of Developers to Build Omnichannel Bot Experiences That Don’t Suck

By Relying on Twilio Autopilot to Handle the Complex Details That Typically Lead to Bad, Automated Customer Experiences, Developers Can Now Deliver an Omnichannel Self-Service Option to Customers at Scale

Twilio, the leading communications platform, announced Twilio Autopilot, the first fully programmable, conversational AI platform for building custom bots, IVRs and home assistant apps. Consumers want a quick, self-service option when interacting with businesses but are often frustrated when that experience does not connect them to the information they need. Autopilot uses best-in-class conversational patterns to automate the initial, information-gathering conversation with customers. If a conversation with an agent is required, Autopilot can smoothly hand off the conversation to a contact center agent, sharing the context of that initial interaction so customers never have to repeat themselves. Autopilot is designed so that developers can write their applications once and deploy to any support channel — including IVRs, SMS, chat, Alexa, Slack and Google Assistant — without additional code.

“Machine learning is the most transformative technology of our time,” said Nico Acosta, director of product and engineering at Twilio. “However, until now, the tools available for building machine learning-powered conversational experiences have been too complex and not optimized for developers, which has led to poor customer experiences. We built Autopilot to make companies successful in building bots that delight users, instead of frustrating them.”

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Bots and virtual assistants have the potential to be transformative for businesses. At its best, automation can help companies shorten response time, reach more customers and provide an “always on” resource for customer service inquiries. However, delivering a compelling self-service experience for customers has been challenging for businesses because the current technologies available are not designed with the user experience in mind. Twilio Autopilot solves this challenge for businesses by providing a platform that can be deployed across nearly any channel and is embedded with logic that helps ensure the most natural interaction from start to finish.

According to Gartner, “With only 4% of enterprises having deployed conversational interfaces but 38% planning to or actively experimenting, this market is set for growth.” The report goes on to say, “By 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017.” (Gartner, Market Guide for Conversational Platforms, Magnus Revang, Van Baker, Brian Manusama, Anthony Mullen, 20 June 2018).

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Twilio Autopilot enables businesses to:

  • Develop intelligent bots faster. Autopilot takes care of the Natural Language Understanding and Machine Learning which allows developers to focus on business logic and customer experience.
  • Personalize the tone and conversational style of the interaction. Style sheets allow developers to select the tone of voice, language and error and success messages of the bot, giving businesses complete control of the experience they deliver to customers.
  • Use their own data to train bots that get smarter over time. Developers can use their existing company data to train bots to trigger actions or replies based on actual conversations.

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  • Smoothly {Handoff} conversations to agents when necessary. Bots can automate information gathering and respond to frequently asked questions, and then transition the conversation to a human agent for more complicated queries. Autopilot passes along all the context of the automated interaction (name, account number, reason for calling, etc).
  • Build applications once and deploy across any channel. Autopilot’s responses are adapted to provide the best experience on nearly any channel including IVRs, SMS, Chat, Alexa, Slack and Google Assistant.

Twilio Autopilot is available for developers to begin using in public beta today via the Twilio Console. Additionally, Autopilot can be accessed via a widget in Twilio Studio and integrated into Twilio Flex.

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