Apartment List saved 50% on call center costs by using Twilio Client

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reduction in call center costs

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increase in call traffic using Twilio

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monthly visitors to Apartment List's mobile site

People comb through countless listings on a search to find “the one,” the perfect apartment. It’s Apartment List’s job to make sure they find that perfect place, and have a great experience along the way.

A contact center house of cards

Everyday, Apartment List’s renter operations center (ROC) manages a herculean number of inquiries from apartment-hunters with personalized care and tact. Operating at this scale wasn’t an easy journey for Apartment List, but it was made it possible using Twilio to track leads and power its custom-built contact center. Quality customer service is the bedrock of Apartment List’s rapidly growing business.

At the start, Apartment List took off-the-shelf components and used a Salesforce and InContact solution; however, its needs quickly surpassed what those platforms could provide. Operations needed metrics on call queue time, call duration, calls per hour, and agent performance. With a Salesforce solution, it was hesitant to mine for that data, and even more hesitant to try and change workflows that weren’t meeting Apartment List’s needs.

“The code to figure the screen pops between Salesforce and InContact wasn’t written by us, and it was in production. We were afraid to change it because we didn’t write it,” said Ian Medlock, product manager at Apartment List. None of Apartment List’s engineers knew how to code in either CRM’s arbitrary language. This left Apartment List spending valuable time and money paying contractors to update its CRM.

Woman with new apartment keys

A call center designed for personalized service

Apartment List grew tired of the speed and cost of managing a proprietary CRM, so it built its own. Apartment List decided to build a new app for its agents to use while helping renters. The added flexibility of the new CRM plus the Twilio integration meant that it had an easy way to get all the call data they needed.

“If a human wants to get in contact with a human, let’s make that happen,” said Medlock. After designing better queue logic and setting up intelligent call routing flows for its ROC staff, Apartment List drastically increased its call volume and customer satisfaction.

“Our Twilio solution is less than half the cost of our previous solution.”

Ian Medlock Product Manager

Now, Using Chartio and Twilio, the Apartment List operations team can see all its critical metrics in real time. Chartio supports Twilio as a data source, which made the integration easy.

A communications platform for growth

In 2013, Apartment List received 36,650 calls. In 2014, with its new Twilio solution in place, it did 18 times the traffic, logging 676,740 calls. There’s a ton of customer and call data to process when you’re doing over half a million calls in a year. In order to provide great service to its customers, Apartment List needed to be able to pull vital customer data programmatically and instantly so the ROC staff could have all the information they need right in front of them when they answer a call.

“We’re using Twilio Client to manage our call center, but we are starting to layer on more services like SMS, we’ll use short codes soon, and eventually the iOS SDK,” said Medlock. “We know we have a lot of headroom for our product if we need it. When you have a solution with multiple vendors, responsibility becomes fragmented in terms of who is fixing what and it’s a lot of work, time and money to fix things. It’s nice to have a solution that our engineering is comfortable with and that gives us the flexibility to grow.”

“Our Twilio solution is less than half the cost of our previous solution,” continued Medlock. “The biggest benefit we felt was that A, we could fix a problem in short order and B, we know that as our business grows, we can leverage Twilio’s feature set to allow us to grow.”

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