Rapid innovation is the secret behind eLocal’s success. Since launching in 2007, the company has been profitable and growing every year, most recently adding a call center in suburban Philadelphia to deliver high-quality, sales-ready leads to home service and legal professionals. The call center, powered by Twilio, has been so effective that plans are already underway to double its size and add staff to handle the growing volume of calls.
“Our priority is lead quality, and our goal is to have our customers’ phones ring with real business,” said Rob Di Marco, chief technology officer at eLocal.
The attention to lead quality is getting results. In 2015, eLocal increased its revenue by over 45% as it continues to help more and more consumers find professionals who can fix that leaky sink or help with an important legal issue.
Each month the number of customer calls increases, but eLocal doesn’t depend on volume alone. The company’s success hinges on responding fast to business opportunities and supporting new ideas and services created by business development.
“Twilio allows us to be very flexible and scale as our business grows,” said Di Marco. “Our business advantage is our speed and ability to move quickly to a problem. That’s the advantage of Twilio—it’s easy to get started and it’s easy to change things.”
eLocal quickly developed a solution based on Twilio that allowed call center managers to create IVR campaigns and connect live leads with the right home service and legal professionals. It started with Twilio Voice for advanced call control and Twilio Client, so that its dozens of agents could work from a web interface.
“We whipped up a well-functioning prototype with Twilio Voice in about a day and the call center agents were using a production version within a week,” said David Roberts, the lead software developer at eLocal. “It’s one thing to pitch an idea to management, and it’s something else to show them how it’s working.”
The ability to adapt technology swiftly to capture new business opportunities is critical for a fast-growing business like eLocal.
Twilio lets me be in the ‘yes’ business, instead of always having to say ‘no’ to new ideas. With Twilio, the timeline to put new features into production is measured in hours, not days.
eLocal has a successful track record for adapting the business to realize new revenue. “Rapid innovation has been the hallmark of our business, and turning new ideas into a new product quickly is a big focus for us,” said Di Marco.
In the early days of eLocal, the company served as an online directory. Online ads, search engine marketing, and web-based forms brought in plenty of active buyers. But as conversions from online and email channels began to taper off, eLocal changed course and turned to the phone to identify and further qualify the leads from online and offline channels. “Initially we were very email form lead focused and we morphed to being call focused,” said Di Marco. “We’re not afraid of change.”
With the new emphasis on calls, speed became a priority. “We actively pursue every lead because in home services and legal, people need answers fast. People don’t have long-term plumber problems,” said Di Marco. “It’s a two-hour window.” To add even more pressure, the leads have to be good. “If our partners don’t like our leads, they don’t pay for them,” he said.
The call center is vital to eLocal’s ability to match its highly qualified leads with a motivated, appropriate professional. eLocal added Twilio TaskRouter so it could route calls based on agents’ skillsets, availability, and other factors, and still be able to quickly pivot the agents’ workloads as the business demanded.
“We wanted to be more dynamic in routing calls, so we could prioritize calls. It’s working for us and makes us excited about TaskRouter,” said Di Marco.
In the future, eLocal wants to reward providers who respond quickly. With Twilio call tracking, it can track the responsiveness of the professionals, and factor that metric into how leads are distributed to its customers. “We’re looking at how well our customers are doing responding to the leads and letting that be a factor in how we route them,” said Di Marco.
Agility and flexibility have kept eLocal ahead of its competitors and the company intends to continue to use those qualities to its advantage.
Twilio allows us to be very flexible and scale as our business grows. Our business advantage is our speed and ability to move quickly to a problem. That’s the advantage of Twilio—it’s easy to get started and it’s easy to change things.
“We’re opportunistic. We look for opportunities and when we find them we go at them hard and fast,” said Di Marco. “Twilio makes it possible for us to go after opportunities and monetize them.”