Announcing Smart SMS

Recently, we have been working on a feature set for our customers who want faster announcements and more control over sending text messages using specific area codes. We are excited to announce Smart SMS, a feature that does both. Smart SMS is a new way to send text messages with Textline that ensures speedy delivery of announcements and provides control over the geo-location of text messages.

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Smart SMS combines Textline's announcement feature with a collection of numbers to send the same message to many customers at one time. Announcements sent in this way can be up to 400x times faster than the traditional method. Smart SMS is ideal for customers who need to send urgent, mass messages to customers. 

Another core component of Smart SMS is the ability to automatically send messages from numbers that match the area code of the recipient. Textline customers can pick a collection of numbers with area codes for the locations they service and Smart SMS will ensure messages are sent from a matching or nearby area code. Control over geo-location is critical for Textline businesses who care about providing customer experiences from local numbers. 

The best part about Smart SMS is that it remembers the sending number used to contact a recipient. That means that Textline users can be sure that their customers have a single number to contact for all future messages. 

If you’d like to learn more about Smart SMS or to see it in action, feel free to text us at +1 (415) 849-4349, and we’ll set up a demo for you. If you’re already a Textline customer on a Pro or Enterprise, you can create a Smart SMS department and give it a try for yourself. For further details, check out the documentation.

Textline Product Updates (May 2019)

The Textline team has been busy over the last few months making significant updates to our business texting platform. Before diving into the specifics, we’d like to share some of our process around how we decide which features and updates find their way to the platform.

Textline is a customer-centric product organization. That means that we regularly talk to and solicit feedback from existing customers to better understand their pain points and problems. We also collect feedback from potential customers in the marketplace—companies who would like to use business texting with their customers but are still exploring and learning about the value of our software. Conversations with businesses who haven't yet purchased Textline help us understand the roadblocks and hesitations around adopting a new channel (the best channel) for customer communication. Finally, Textline is a business texting platform created for the customer experience and customer support market. Many of our product decisions are made intentionally to provide value to the businesses and teams who consider customer experience a top priority for success.

Textline makes regular updates and improvements to the platform. Most of these updates go unnoticed, and our customers' business texting experience improves gradually without interruption. We’ve recently made substantial changes, however, so we wanted to highlight them here.

Metrics and Stats:

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Usability and Feature Experience:

General UI and Backend:

  • We’ve also made some small interface changes to create a more consistent experience across the web and mobile applications.

  • Several updates have been released to provide a more stable, secure, and integrated app. For example, we've improved our Pipedrive integration and support for Bandwidth phone numbers.

Thanks for checking out our product updates. We have more exciting updates planned for the coming months, so we’ll be sure to let you know when new features are released.

If your company isn’t taking advantage of businesses text messaging, and you’re curious to learn more, you can always text us to get more information at +1 (415) 849-4349. Or you can read The Textline Guide to Customer Support to learn about the advantages of business texting.

Putting People Back Into Customer Service

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Advances in technology have made the customer support process more efficient. But the focus on scaling customer service hasn’t necessarily led to better quality support. Customers complain about navigating the maze of phone trees, waiting endlessly on hold, talking to clunky bots, and sifting through lengthy support articles online—all with minimal human assistance. At times, it feels impossible to reach another person to talk to when they need help. And despite massive changes in the ways that people communicate, many companies are only reachable by phone call or email. The result is that customers feel lost and abandoned.

In the age of multinational corporations, it’s easy for customers to feel devalued. Many big companies feel impersonal, and it’s because they have forgotten the basics of good customer service. By emphasizing technology and automation rather than people, businesses have lost their human touch. Customers are tired of talking to machines, and they are nostalgic for simpler times when local business owners knew them by name and treated them like old friends.

Mediocre customer service is everywhere, but the rewards for companies who provide superior customer support are bigger than ever. If you’re finding that your customer experience is lacking, it’s not too late to add your customers back into the equation. To do this, revisit the past, rather than zooming towards a technology-focused future.

What customers want

It wasn’t that long ago that many people lived in small towns, where they shopped at the same stores their entire lives. When they went to a place like the general store, the owner was someone they had known for a long time. If they had a question, they could count on getting advice from someone that they were comfortable with and could trust, and the entire experience was highly personalized. If they had a problem with the service, they could bring it up to them directly and get an immediate response.

These days, boutique customer experiences are rare. People no longer shop at the same places their whole lives. Communities shift all the time, and businesses are larger and more complex.

But customers haven’t changed. They still want personalized shopping experiences from businesses that remember them—and remember what they want to buy.

The best customer experiences that you’ve ever had were likely in places where you felt like a regular. The benefit of being a regular is that the company knows you well enough to know what you want, even when you don’t communicate it to them. It’s easier to communicate what you want with someone that you feel comfortable with. And if you have a problem that you want to address, you are more likely to get a rapid response from a person who cares about you.

Many companies have focused on investing in technology such as artificial intelligence, chatbots, and virtual reality, rather than figuring out what their customers really want. A 2018 report by Usabilia found that despite the push to use technology in customer service, customers want more human interaction with brands, not less:

“The report revealed that, despite misconceptions of robots taking over, consumers across generations crave human interaction when engaging with brands. What’s more, they don’t expect nor want technology to replace real people. It’s true consumers are open-minded about using tech like chatbots that save time and make life easier. But they still trust humans to help solve more complex problems and make experiences—whether shopping at a retailer, filling a prescription or making a bank deposit—more enjoyable.”

Putting people back into customer service

The majority of your customers may no longer live in small towns, but you can still create close relationships with them. The way you do this is by thinking carefully about how you are delivering your customer support and treating customers as valued friends, not as order IDs and sales metrics.

A common customer complaint is that it’s hard to get ahold of a human being when they’re having an issue, and it’s even more difficult to get an immediate response. That means that companies still need to have people available at the end of the line to deal with customer service queries.

Phone and email are the most widely used customer service channels that involve corresponding with a person, but phone support is notorious for putting people on hold, and email can feel distant and require a lot of back and forth over a long period of time to resolve issues. Companies are looking for new and more effective ways to connect with customers, including texting, live chat, self-service help centers, and social media.

Modern businesses need new communication channels that reflect changing consumer behavior and preferences. In particular, texting is the new norm for people in their personal lives, and people are increasingly texting with small businesses and individual service providers, such as personal shoppers, insurance agents, real estate agents, plumbers, etc. Some younger customers are much more accustomed to sending a text than picking up the phone. But the business world has been slower to adapt, despite the convenience and efficiency of the channel for customers and businesses. A 2016 survey from Twilio found that nine out of 10 people want to text with businesses, but less than half of global companies had the technological capacity to do so.

Customers are also turning to social media for their customer service issues—both good and bad, especially when they have trouble getting ahold of a support agent on the phone or email. Social media is an effective way to reach a wider audience, but it can be a double-edged sword. It’s great when customers post on social media about their positive experiences with your brand, but your reputation suffers when they broadcast their frustrations. Customers love being able to direct message brands on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but moving them to a channel like text message helps to build a more personal connection.

Business texting makes it easy to be personal at scale while modernizing customer service operations. The personal attention that customers receive make them feel special and like they belong to a community. When you can text a business, it’s like having a friendly personal shopper that you can reach by phone. If something negative happens, you know you can communicate with a human being. Texting helps businesses become more customer focused and build meaningful personal relationships with customers. So it may be that texting is how modern companies can provide “small-town” customer service—even as the size and complexity of businesses have changed.

The benefits of texting for customer support

The most obvious benefit of texting may be that it is more convenient and efficient for both customers and businesses. Customer response times are shorter compared to phone or email, and problems are resolved faster. Customer support agents who use texting are able to converse with multiple people at the same time, meaning that businesses save money on support. Teams that use texting to communicate with internal teams are able to build better relationships with employees by sending timely updates and easily receiving feedback.

Texting can be a vehicle for small and thoughtful actions that build trust in your brand and increase loyalty and engagement. For example, e-commerce companies can send texts right after making a sale to check in and follow up with customers, and after they send the product, they can check that it arrived. Clothing companies can check in to see if the product is the right fit. For products like furniture, you can see if the customer needs help setting up the product.

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Texting is also appropriate for more complex situations that require more than one interaction. Say that a customer asks a question and your company needs more information for clarification. Customers can text their answer whenever it’s convenient for them, whether it’s a few minutes later, or after half an hour.

How to use texting to improve your customer experience

There are many things to consider when it comes to texting with customers, but the most important place to start is with basic communication and customer service fundamentals. Be thoughtful, focus on building long-term relationships, and make your customers feel like you value them and your time. The goal is to make your brand feel inviting so that customers want to engage with you.

Consider how texting fits into your entire customer experience. Think about the words that you use, the timing of your communications, and setting appropriate expectations. The way that you communicate should feel authentic to your brand. For example, for a younger audience, you may want to use more informal language, emojis, and other images. If your brand is more serious or professional, you may want to use a more serious/formal tone.

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Texting also works in situations that may require businesses to send or receive images and links in real-time for reference. For example, a customer can send you a photo of a damaged product, rather than having to describe the issue over the phone or write it out in an email. A company can also send links to a customer directing them to resources such as help center articles and specific products they may want to purchase. The result is that issues are resolved faster.

The unique versatility of texting means that it can be used as both a primary and supporting channel. Not only can you conduct most of your customer support through text, but if you have a phone conversation with a customer or send them an important email, you can use texting to follow up.

Texting is just one part of creating a special customer experience. Think holistically. Every detail matters, from your direct marketing campaigns to promo codes on your website to the way you respond to your customer the first time that they contact you and need help with an issue. Make it as easy as possible for customers to visit your website and communicate when they need help. Modern engagement is about being available when your customers need you and allowing them to reach you in the fastest and most convenient way possible. Once they do reach out, your job is to make them feel welcome and valued, like they are talking to an old friend.


Tips for Using Texting to Improve Your Customer Experience

  • Remember basic communication and customer service fundamentals

  • Focus on building long-term relationships

  • Value your customers and their time

  • Make your brand feel inviting

  • Set appropriate expectations

  • Communicate in a way that is authentic to your brand; use appropriate images and words

  • Use images and links in real-time to speed up communication and resolve issues faster

  • Use text to follow up on important phone calls and emails

  • Think holistically, but also pay attention to detail


Interested in learning more about business texting? Schedule some time with a Textline consultant today!

Live Webinar: Growing Success Through Proactive Communication

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Don’t miss the next live webinar in our webinar series on Thursday, April 4 at 10 am PDT on Growing Success Through Proactive Communication.

Both customer support and sales teams need to proactively communicate with customers to provide better support and build stronger relationships. Other benefits include:

  • Increase customer loyalty: Show customers that you care.

  • Improve productivity: Control the volume of incoming messages and fill in hours of downtime.

  • Anticipate customers’ needs: Get ahead of potential issues by letting customers know how they can get in touch with you.

This is a great opportunity to learn how to grow customer success by adding a personal touch to your customer experience. Hope to see you there!

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.