Omnichannel for Customer Service – Twilio for SMS

Microsoft’s Omnichannel for Customer Service supports two providers for sending SMS, Telesign and Twilio. I have already described the process for Telesign in another post. In this post we will look at how to configure SMS using Twilio.

You can view my post on general SMS setup and the Telesign process here.

Note: If you wish to use the WhatsApp channel then a Twilio account will also be needed. Therefore you may also wish to investigate that option … for WhatsApp!

The steps involving in setting up Twilio SMS are as follows;

  1. Create Twilio Account
  2. Get Twilio Number
  3. Create Twilio workstream in Omnichannel for Customer Service
  4. Create connection between Omnichannel and Twilio

Step One – Create Twilio Account

Your first step will be to create a Twilio account, go to www.twilio.com. And sign up.

Initially you will need to enter your personal details to sign up for a free Twilio account. (I am confident the nice people at Twilio will start asking me for money later if I start using their service!)

To start your free trial there will be a verification process. Meaning you do need to be a human to sign up for a Twilio account!

Next I was asked a couple of questions which help tailor my experience. Obviously I am not 100% sure on what effect giving different answers might have had. But I clicked the buttons to say I wanted to use Twilio with a different service. It then asked me which service and as Dynamics 365 wasn’t listed I clicked “other”.

After this was completed my Twilio account opened and I was ready to progress. Usinfully the trial has given me £12 credit. I assume that will be enough to get me going but I guess I’ll need to apply a credit to my account later!

Step Two – Get a Twilio Number

Now I have a Twilio account I will need a Twilio phone number.

I clicked get a phone number!

It offered me a US number capable of voice, SMS and MMS. I didn’t need voice but decided to accept it anyway.

I also stuck with the US number! I did this as I’d seem a not somewhere about only US phone numbers being supported with Omnichannel for Customer Service.

Before you can see that I was offered a number. I just clicked “Choose this Number”. I felt this was fine for my initial trial and assumed I could probably add another number later if I decided I didn’t like this one.

Having obtained my number I progressed to getting my account SID. I copied this as I assumed I’d need it later!

Tip: You will also need to copy for auth token. Which can be found on your dashboard!

And finally I had the option a add a payment method. I assumed that maybe I could have continued at this point and just used my £12 trial balance. But I decided I wanted to keep this number so opted to upgrade my account.

I won’t show this bit …. Having clicked upgrade, I entered my credit card details!! But afterwards I had secured my number by adding £20 to my account.

At this point I wanted to prove my number was working! So I sent it an SMS.

The message was sent I and I received an automated reply telling me I needed to configure my numbers SMS URL!

Below you can see that in the Twilio portal I could open the “Programmable Messaging” option. In here I can see the messaging dashboard and my incoming message showed.

Step Three – Create Twilio workstream in Omnichannel for Customer Service

Once I had my number it was time to setup the Omnichannel side of things. The first step of which is to create a workstream. So I loaded the Omnichannel Administration app and in the work streams option I selected the “New” option.

First of all I entered a name for my work stream, so “Twilio Work Stream”. Next I selected SMS as the channel and made sure the auto-close after inactivity field had a value of anything greater than 24 hours. (The default was 2 days, so I started off with that.)

Next in the SMS tab, I entered my account SID and auth tocken. (I’d copied these earlier when I created my Twilio phone number.)

Then I clicked save!

Next, in the SMS numbers tab I added my SMS number. You can see the details below. I also entered my opening hours and enabled file attachments.

Now I was ready to validate my SMS settings. You can see below that I clicked the “Validate SMS Settings” option from the ribbon bar.

After just a couple of seconds I received a message that my SMS API details had been successfully validated.


Now at this point I would probably need to define some routing rules to decide which queue to route my messages into. However in my initial simple test I left my routing rules blank! As doing that will route o my default messaging queue. Which was just fine for my test!!

Step Four – Create connection between Omnichannel and Twilio

Now we need to connect Omnichannel and Twilio. First of all you will need the Twilio inbound URL that was generated when you saved your SMS settings in Omnichannel for Customer Service. So go to you SMS settings and copy that.


Next I returned to the Twilio website and located the phone numbers option. Here I could see my active phone numbers.


Clicking on my phone number opened its settings. I scrolled down the screen and in the messaging section I added the URL I’d copied from the Omnichannel Administration app.


Step Five – Test

I now waited 15 minutes! Something that is always good with Omnichannel changes as most take 15 minutes to apply.

After I’d had a cup of coffee …. I sent a text message to my Twilio number. Whilst my agent was in the Omnichannel for Customer Service app with their agent dashboard displayed.

As you can see I was notified for the incoming SMS within Omnichannel for Customer Service. From that point onwards my newly created Twilio SMS channel behaved the same as any of my other channels.


All in all configuring Twilio SMS was a pretty straight forward process. There were a few steps to follow but essentially everything worked as expected. Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Omnichannel for Customer Service – Twilio for SMS

  1. Hello Neil and thank you for your step by step tutorial.
    I’m struggling to get the inbound URL, only get a error message saying “The SMS inbound URL could not be generated as the organization URL endpoint is missing”. Do you get this message? If so, what did you do solve this?

    Br

    Dag-A

    Like

    • I didn’t get this message. I suggest checking your sms settings are correct. (Account SID etc.) Also check you are on latest version of Omnichannel. If so, then you might need to log this as a support call with Microsoft.

      Like

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