Live webinar: Introduction to business texting with Textline

Join us for a guided tour of Textline features and best practices, starting Tuesday January 29, and every other Tuesday after that.

This free one-hour webinar is ideal for anyone who is new to Textline or would like a refresher. The Introduction to Textline webinar covers the following topics:

  • How to set up your Textline account

  • Working as a team in Textline

  • Getting the most out of SMS-based customer communication

  • An overview of Textline's many features

Five New Year's Resolutions for your Customer Success Team

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Many of our customers at Textline work in the Customer Success space, and we wanted to do something special for them at the end of the year. We decided to share five New Year’s Resolutions that will help companies empathize and connect with their customers.

1) Resolve to eat healthier

Resolutions two through five won't be as effective unless you're able to truly relate to your customers. Why not start with the resolution that tops the chart year after year: to eat healthier? After all, it's easier to connect and help people if you can relate with them across a shared experience.  If you're a healthy eater already consider these common alternatives: get more exercise and save more money.

2) Resolve to treat your customers like teammates

If you treat your customer like a teammate, you'll find yourself in situations where you work together to solve problems. Otherwise, you’re simply the “expert” providing one-off solutions to the “inept.”  If you think of customers like teammates, you're more likely to be helpful, patient, and kind. This is a sure-fire way to improve the quality of your conversations.

3) Resolve to learn more about your customers

Another way to connect with your customers and improve the quality of your conversations is to get to know the people you are helping. If you can't know them individually, try creating personas for different markets and buyers (a simple persona guide from buffer). If you're supporting businesses, get to know the companies by knowing what they sell, who they sell to, and why they sell it in the first place. This process of understanding the customer will give you the insight you need to ensure that you're providing the best possible experience.

4) Resolve to enable conversations, not notifications

Your customers are busier than ever, and if you want to have successful conversations, it's important to accommodate their communications needs. Using the wrong channel is as bad as poorly-timed outreach. Sometimes the right channel is email, other times it's the phone. More than likely texting is the best way to get in touch. You can use texting as the primary channel — it’s personal, fast, and easy (because it's asynchronous). You can also use text messaging to schedule more formal conversations on other channels.

5) Resolve to welcome opportunities to talk with customers

Piggybacking off of resolution 3, you need to keep in mind that sometimes your customers want to connect with you. Show your customers that you want to talk with them by setting up channels and systems that encourage two-way communication. This invitational attitude will go a long way to reduce communication friction and increase satisfaction.

Let us hear from you if you decide to adopt any of these New Year’s Resolutions. We'd love to hear how they're working out. Or, just maybe, you have some resolutions of your own that you want to share with us. Happy New Year, everyone! We hope 2019 is a great year for your Customer Success team.

How to schedule an auto-response for holiday hours

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The holidays are here. Whether your business is bustling or sleepy this time of year, you may want to schedule an auto-response for folks who contact your Textline number during the holidays. Follow along to learn how to use Textline's automations feature to configure your own holiday auto-response (or even an after-hours auto-response that works any time of year).

Let's assume our normal business hours are 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and that we're closed on weekends. When someone texts our Textline phone number outside business hours, we'll send back this auto-response:

Thanks for contacting Textline. We try to respond promptly during business hours here in California, but we're away from our screens at the moment. We'll get back to you as soon as we can. (PS. We're taking off Xmas & New Year's Day)

As you can see from our auto-response message, we'll be out of the office on Xmas Day and New Year's Day. Those holidays both fall on Tuesdays this winter. How do we configure our auto-response to trigger on holidays, even during business hours? To do that, we won't specifically schedule our auto-response to take effect on those holidays. Rather, we'll make sure all our Textline agents set their status to unavailable on those days, and we'll put our auto-response to work whenever we have no agents available or when someone texts us outside business hours.

Sometimes a member of our team will chat with a customer outside of normal business hours. In that case, we don't want our auto-response to interrupt the conversation. So we'll watch out for these two conditions, and configure our auto-response to remain silent if (a) someone from our team has claimed the conversation, or (b) someone from our team has sent a message to this contact within the past 30 minutes. Here's what it looks like in Textline:

Step 1: Create a new automation.

Step 2: Configure the conditions that will trigger the auto-response.

Step 3: Compose the auto-response text message.

Now our holiday auto-response is up and running. After January 1st, we'll edit this automation to remove the postscript regarding Xmas and New Year's Day. This will function perfectly fine as our standard after-hours auto-response for the rest of the year.

Questions or comments? Text us at +1 (415) 849-4349

Scheduled maintenance planned for December 29, 2018

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Textline will undergo scheduled maintenance starting Saturday, December 29, 2018 at 11pm Pacific Time and lasting two and a half hours. Users will not be able to use Textline during this maintenance window. Inbound text messages will still be received by your account during maintenance, and will appear on Textline after the maintenance is complete. Feel free to contact us with questions or comments by texting +1 (415) 849-4349 or email us at support@textline.com

Your guide to lesser-known holiday emoji

This December your text message conversations with family and friends will likely feature popular holiday emoji like the gift-wrapped present 🎁, Santa and Mrs. Claus 🎅🤶, and the Christmas tree 🎄. But Textline is here to help you decipher seasonal communications with this guide to the less obvious -- but arguably more useful -- emoji you'll send and receive this winter.

🤮 Officially known as the vomiting face, keep this emoji handy for the day after your office holiday party. Popularity wanes after January 1st. (Pairs well with 🍸 and 🚽)

📣 Speaking of office holiday parties, you'll want to quickly summon a megaphone in case a hostage situation erupts high atop your corporate tower. Keep this emoji in your favorites through New Year's Eve -- it could save your life! (See also 🚁 and 💣)

💩 Often mistaken for dog poop, religious scholars know the smiling face is the unmistakable signature of flying reindeer waste. Look out below! (Related: 🦌)

🍝 During a 1923 radio address, US President Calvin Coolidge mistakenly spread the false rumor that Santa likes milk and cookies. In truth, Santa fuels his all-night delivery run with a high-carb diet like a marathon runner. Help out Santa this year with a large portion of spaghetti (followed by 🍺).

🎃 Did you promise to dispose of that orange squash rotting on your front porch? It's only been there for 6 or 7 weeks! Most Christmas trees remain standing in the front window til mid-April. Stick to your guns this year! As long as there is still uneaten candy corn on top of the fridge, the Halloween pumpkin stays 🤪

If your company wants to add text messaging to your customer service or sales software stack, test out a free trial or just text us at +1 (415) 849-4349.

Our five favorite things from Zendesk Relate 2018

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Last week Zendesk hosted its Relate 2018 conference at the historic Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Here were our 5 favorite things about Zendesk Relate 2018.

1. First of all, what was comedian Mindy Kaling doing on the main stage at Zendesk Relate? Why, her Kelly Kapoor character from the US television series The Office was a customer service representative at fictitious paper distributor Dunder Mifflin, of course!

2. Omar Johnson, Former CMO at Beats by Dre, inspired the crowd with a keynote presentation about powerful storytelling. One particularly salient point he made: with so many people purchasing goods from Amazon, the last remaining connection between consumers and your brand will be a customer support channel.

3. Zendesk put their logo on a pegboard that acted as a self-serve bagel wall in the morning, and a donut wall between breakfast and lunch.

4. In September Zendesk acquired the software company behind Base, the sales force automation platform. Now that Base has been rebranded as Zendesk Sell, Base's annual Forecast conference took place at Zendesk Relate. We were happy to see Textline users from Dorm Room Movers presenting on the Zendesk Relate main stage as well as the Forecast at Relate side stage.

5. The overall production value of the conference was quite impressive, with fully animated presentation slides and other finely tuned details. We'll definitely see you there next year!

Does your team use Zendesk? Add a powerful text messaging channel to your Zendesk account with Textline. Sign up for a free trial today.

Talkdesk Opentalk 2018 recap

Textline’s Alan Braverman and Talkdesk’s Patrick Russell discuss business text messaging.

Textline’s Alan Braverman and Talkdesk’s Patrick Russell discuss business text messaging.

The Textline team just returned from Talkdesk's Opentalk18 conference in San Francisco. Here's a recap of two days full of demos, coffee, SWAG, and the best conference food we've ever had.

Opentalk attendees flocked to our booth for demos of Textline's business text messaging and features like announcements and automations. People were particularly interested in Textline's integrations with Zendesk, Salesforce, Shopify, and of course, Talkdesk. (Hey, did we mention that Textline can add powerful text messaging capabilities to your Talkdesk phone numbers? 😉)

Textline CEO Alan Braverman shared his thoughts on the power of business texting to build and nurture more personal relationships between brands and their customers. (Thanks to Patrick Russell at Talkdesk for moderating our fireside chat session.)

We happily gave away lots of Textline SWAG: t-shirts, stickers, sunglasses, and PopSockets.

We had a blast at Opentalk18 and can't wait til next year. If your company wants to add text messaging to your customer service or sales software stack, test out a free trial or just text us at +1 (415) 849-4349.

Textline's new design

Today Textline launched a major update to its platform. In the coming months, we will look back at this milestone and see it as a pivotal launching point of growth. Not just growth for the Textline business or the application, but for our customers. Textline is a customer-first company. That means the decisions we make about features, design, integrations, and so forth are done with our customers’ goals in mind.  Those goals are as varied as our customers who range from the Fortune 500 to the Garage Startup. Big or small, all of our customers have one thing in common; they want to have meaningful and engaging conversations with their customers through text messages. Today's launch helps ensure that those conversations can happen quickly and effectively. If you're a Textline customer there are a couple things that you might notice after logging in.

The first thing you will notice is that the design elements of the interface have been updated. This design change brings the application more in-line with the rest of the identity to create consistency across all Textline experiences. Your experience; from clicking on an advertisement,  getting your textable phone number, and sending your first shortcut message should be consistent. Consistency helps to improve adoption and discovery of features by creating predictability across interactions with Textline. It also has the long-term benefit of making it easier to create new features and integrations in the future.

Speaking of features, the second change you may notice is that some features, objects, and actions have moved. This new design does a better job at organizing the components and sections of the interface. Now, like-minded elements are grouped together and easier to find. Additionally, in the future, this structure will allow us to build more efficiently on top of Textline. Additionally, some rearrangement has been done for the sake of space, while other changes are for clarity. Creating more space in the interface means that we can share more information with our customers without it looking and feeling cramped. In other instances, we can make elements like the global navigation more clear and accessible.

The update today builds on an excellent foundation and sets new standards for moving forward. We can't wait to develop Textline on top of this redesign, and we are excited about the new features and integrations planned for the coming months. Thanks to all of the customers who have provided (and continue to provide) valuable feedback.

Happy Customer Service Week 2018

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The first week of October is Customer Service Week. Thanks to all the hard workers out there who make their customers happy. Here at Textline, we encourage all companies to embrace (rather than deflect) human-to-human conversations with their customers. That's why Textline never sends messages from a "no reply” email address. And we encourage Textline customers to reach out any time by texting us at +1 (415) 849-4349. After all, messaging apps are the most used apps on smartphones today. Why not let your customers text your business? Sign up for a Textline free trial today.

Integrating Salesforce with Textline's business SMS

Salesforce's annual Dreamforce conference has taken over downtown San Francisco, just outside Textline headquarters. Naturally, this is the perfect time to announce that Textline's Salesforce integration is currently in beta release. Textline users interested in connecting your Salesforce account can request early access by texting us at +1 (415) 849-4349. We look forward to hearing your feedback as you try out this new integration.

How JSK Recruiting uses Textline to place job prospects faster

Before he started using Textline, recruiter Jeff Katz used to miss a lot of text messages. The job candidates and hiring managers he works with in the supply chain and manufacturing industries often tried to text his landline.

“Most of my candidates work in manufacturing facilities with bad reception,” says Katz, founder of JSK Recruiting in Park Ridge, Illinois. Bad reception makes phone calls tricky — not to mention the fact that their boss may be nearby. Many would text to say they couldn’t talk because they were working or in a meeting. “I was missing all these text messages before.”

When he did text with clients, it was cumbersome to pull out his phone and work out a better time, or type out company or interview details, with his fingers.

Recruit using a fast and familiar process

Since Katz started using Textline for business texting earlier this year, all that has changed. Now he knows he’s receiving texts from candidates and clients, and he can respond to them quickly from his computer. He can copy and paste names, addresses, and numbers without the risk of typos.

Like 90 percent of recruiters, Katz has found that business texting speeds up his process significantly. “I was hoping it would make things quicker and easier,” he says, “and it has.”

Meanwhile, he is using a mode of communication his candidates are comfortable with. “Especially a lot of the younger generation,” he says — "they’ll have a full conversation via text." In fact, less than five percent of millennials pick up calls from unknown numbers.

Schedule texts, collaborate, use metrics

Textline, which is integrated with Katz’s existing business line, also lets him schedule texts in advance, such as reminders about interviews, including directions and interviewer names and titles. "The candidates really appreciate it," Katz says, "and since doing this I have not had any no-shows for interviews."

Textline’s software also offers auto responses, administrative controls, analytics, and historical data. And coworkers can transfer texts to each other and collaborate.

Now that he's using Textline, he says, Katz feels confident changing JSK's website to say "call or text us."

Find out how Textline can help speed up your recruiting process. Sign up for a free trial today.

Use Automations to send smart auto-responses and more

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Textline admins can use our new Automations feature to compose smart auto-responses and perform other automated actions. For example:

* Send different auto-responses to customers who text your business for the first time, or when they text you outside of business hours, or when no Textline agents are available.

* Automatically assign conversations to a specific agent when customers mention certain keywords, or based on previously applied tags.

* Add or remove tags when customers' issues are resolved.

Learn more about Automations in our help center.

How Bird uses Textline in its quest to revolutionize how you get around town

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A startup called Bird is betting that dockless electric scooters will improve transportation and lessen the need for car ownership. The concept is spreading so quickly that Bird has been deemed the "Uber of electric scooters."

Here's how it works:

* Find a scooter (or "Bird") near you with Bird's mobile app
* Scan the scooter's QR code to book a ride
* Hop on and ride (top speed is 15 miles per hour)
* Leave the scooter at your destination so the next rider can find it

Every night, people called "Chargers" collect the scooters to recharge their batteries and make any necessary repairs. Bird launched last year in Southern California and recently expanded to San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington, DC.

The team at Bird uses Textline's business text messaging to recruit and communicate with their flock of Chargers -- texting them about repairs, charging, and the location of scooters. Before last month's LA Marathon, Bird sent an SMS announcement to 1,000+ Chargers to remind them to respect the runners and make sure no scooters were blocking the course.

According to Bird's Chief Technical Officer, Justin Balthrop, "As a hard core nerd, I was tempted to build my own app for communicating with our teams out in the field. But Textline already had so many of the features that we needed. It's a great software tool and they keep adding new features all the time!"

Your business could use text messaging to recruit staffers and communicate with colleagues out in the field, too. Sign up for a Textline free trial and get a shared textable phone number for your team (or add text messaging to an existing phone number).

Further reading:

* San Francisco Chronicle: Electric scooters for grown-ups now available for rent in San Francisco and San Jose

* TechCrunch: Bird is raising $100 million to become the Uber of electric scooters

* Take a ride on a Bird, yourself: bird.co

Facebook, Data, and Trust

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As the Cambridge Analytica scandal continues to unfold, some users have deleted their Facebook accounts. Others will continue using Facebook but have tightened their privacy settings. After downloading records of personal data collected by Facebook -- to take a look under the hood -- some Android users discovered that Facebook had been logging their personal calls and text messages!

Here at Textline, we are following this story carefully. We take our customers' security and privacy seriously. That's why our privacy policy is written in plain English rather than confusing legalese. We continually monitor the security of our application to ensure our customers' data stays private. Furthermore, throughout 2018 we plan to release additional security and privacy features and settings. If you have any questions about Textline and security, drop us a line by texting +1 (415) 849-4349.

Related reading:

* USA Today provides instructions for downloading your Facebook data and disabling call and text history logging. (link)

* TechCrunch breaks down the question of whether or not Facebook had permission to collect call and SMS logs. (link)

* The Electronic Frontier Foundation explains why a programmer cannot create a software tool that simply fixes your Facebook privacy settings for you. (link)

Does your business text with customers? Sign up for a Textline free trial and get started with business text messaging.

Logos Are Like Conversations

We're excited to announce a new logo for Textline. Like most corporate marks, the reasons for the changes are numerous. We're happy to share a few of those reasons with you. 

We changed the logo because we wanted an identity that would scale with us in the coming years. Textline needs a mark that is contemporary but also boasts the longevity of a classic logotype. We've ditched the outlined chat bubble for a logo that has more weight and presence to it. This weight allows it to change sizes from very small to gigantic without much effort. The filled in "T" is also more legible, holds color well, can be inverted, and has the benefit of being able to stand on its own. There are many other designerly reasons that the new mark works well for Textline, but those are reasons you'd hear about for most any logo update. The main reason for changing our logo was to represent Textline more comprehensively. 

Textline is software for business text messaging. Another way of saying that is, Textline makes conversations happen. We make these conversations happen by giving companies the opportunity to connect with their customers through the more immediate and conversational medium of texting. We wanted a logo that could represent the company name and also reflect the company's inclination toward conversation. This is a challenging goal because we want to avoid a complex solution.  After all, logos are like conversations; They should be subtle, elegant, distinguished, and approachable. 

In the new Textline logo, most people will see the representation of the name in the "T" instantly, but there is more to it than that. Like a good conversation, this merger of ideas has some mystery and subtlety to it, and when you see the chat bubble gently carved from the dense T, you can't unsee it. The result is a mark that represents the name with a "T" and conversations with a chat bubble. It is memorable and lasting. Over the next few months, we will release other aspects of the identity. The new colors, typography, and grids will find their way into our social presence, websites, and applications. We're looking forward to our future of exciting changes and good conversations. If you are like us, and conversations matter to your business, feel free to text us at +1 (415) 849-4349 to find out how Textline can help connect you with your customers.

Connect Textline to your favorite apps with Zapier

Zapier is an online automation tool that connects Textline to thousands of other online apps across the web. It's easy to create your own Zaps, which behave like small programs that follow your instructions. 

For example: If you manage a Shopify store, you might create a Zap that watches your Shopify account for new orders, and then tells your Textline account to send a "thank you" message to each buyer after they check out. In this example, your Zap is triggered by new Shopify orders, and then takes the action of sending a message via Textline. You can automate all sorts of tasks by combining triggers and actions with Zapier.

Textline triggers & actions

Textline makes a single trigger available in Zapier called New Contact Message. This trigger gets fired whenever a contact sends a message to your Textline account.

Textline also makes three actions available in Zapier:

1. Send Message: to send a message from your Textline account to a contact.
2. Import Contact Message: to import a message as if a contact sent it to your Textline account.
3. Create/Update Contact: to add or modify an entry in your Textline address book.

Sample Zap ideas

Here are three example Zaps for inspiration:

1. Get notified when someone registers for an event on Eventbrite. Using Eventbrite's New Attendee trigger, you can copy the attendee's contact info to your Textline address book (using our Create/Update Contact action), then send a notification to your Textline account using our Import Contact Message action. The next time someone buys a ticket to your event, you'll receive a text message as if your attendee texted you as soon as they registered for your event. You can send a follow-up thank you message, or broadcast an important announcement to your attendees before the event. (Make sure your Eventbrite event collects cell phone numbers on your order form.)

2. Use an Unbounce pop-up to initiate conversations with customers. If your business uses Unbounce landing pages, your customers can text you right from a form or pop-up. Create a pop-up with a form that collects name, phone number, and a message. Your Zap will be triggered by Unbounce's New Form Submission trigger, and you'll pass the message to Textline using the Import Contact Message action.

3. Post new inbound Textline messages to Yammer. Keep an eye on questions coming from customers. Create a Yammer group called Textline. Then create a Zap using Textline's New Contact Message trigger and Yammer's Create Message action.

Got any great ideas for Zaps to automate your workflow? Email textline@textline.com

Does your business text with customers? Sign up for a Textline free trial and get a textable phone number in your local area code, or add text messaging capabilities to your existing business phone number.

Related links:

Textline Organization settings: Tools & Integrations (requires admin access)
Textline Help Center: Zapier integration
Zapier blog: Use Textline to Support Your Customers and Answer Prospects via Text

Connect your Shopify store to Textline

Over 600,000 ecommerce businesses run their online stores with Shopify. With Textline's newest integration, Shopify merchants can provide exceptional customer support via text messaging.

* Share a textable phone number with your ecommerce team
* Let customers text your business using plain old text messaging
* View recent Shopify orders alongside SMS conversations
* Keep shoppers happy by resolving issues quickly

Learn more about connecting your Shopify store to your Textline account in the Textline help center.

Does your ecommerce team reply to text messages from shoppers? Sign up for a free trial to add business text messaging to your customer service toolset. Get a textable phone number in your local area code, or add text messaging capabilities to your existing business number.

 

Close deals faster with Textline and Pipedrive

Pipedrive is a sales management tool designed to help small sales teams manage intricate or lengthy sales processes. Pipedrive's interface lets you view your company's sales pipeline to understand which deals are on track to close.

Textline's new Pipedrive integration lets you see text message conversations associated with deals in your sales pipeline. Your Textline admin can connect your Pipedrive account by visiting Organization Settings > Tools & Integrations.

Does your sales team text with customers and prospects? Sign up for a free trial to add business text messaging to your sales toolbox. Get a textable phone number in your local area code, or add text messaging capabilities to your existing business number.

Related links:

Try Pipedrive for free
Textline's app in Pipedrive's Marketplace
- Upcoming webinar: A guided tour of Textline