Introducing Telerivet Voice

In the past 5 years, thousands of organizations across more than 150 countries have relied on Telerivet to send and receive text messages. Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Telerivet Voice, which organizations can use to automate voice calls with their customers, employees, and community.

Telerivet makes it easier than ever to build your own interactive voice response (IVR) menus and call flows, run voice polling campaigns, send automated voice broadcasts, and send voice calls using a virtual caller ID. You can do it all from your browser, with no programming required. In minutes, you can get a local virtual number in over 60 countries, and send and receive calls worldwide.

Businesses and non-profits can use Telerivet Voice for a wide variety of use cases, including customer support, data collection, market research, alerting, phone-banking, audience engagement, and more.

See it in action:


Whirlwind Consulting, a boutique political consultancy specializing in statewide initiative and candidate political campaigns, has been using Telerivet Voice to make outbound calls. “Telerivet allows our consultants to reach any of our clients, employees and even voters from one platform,” says Whirlwind founder Jordan DeCoster. “Its combination of light-weight interface and multi-channel options keeps each contact in one place, regardless of the method of communication (text and voice).”

For more advanced use cases, Telerivet Voice is developer-friendly. In Kenya, the Uliza project has been piloting an innovative IVR system that allows Kenyans to call in to a local virtual number and record a question in Swahili. A distributed, crowd-sourced team records an answer to the user’s question, and the system calls the user back with the answer. “We have been able to build a complex voice-data processing tool with the help of Telerivet’s voice features,” says Grant Bridgman, founder of Uliza. “We are particularly excited about the new JavaScript interface, which allows us to add greater flexibility to how our services interact with our clients.”

Get started in minutes

Telerivet Voice is integrated seamlessly into the same Telerivet web dashboard that users all over the world have relied on over the past 5 years.

To try it out, log in to your Telerivet dashboard (if you don’t have one yet, create a free account).

The Services page is where you can configure custom IVR call flows, automated voice polls, or simply set up call forwarding or voicemail. On the Services page, add a new service and click the Voice tab, then click the type of service you want to set up:

To see the full power of Telerivet Voice, create a Custom Call Flow. Click one of the examples on the top-right to explore how to create your IVR system using Telerivet’s drag-and-drop interface:

To see the different types of actions that you can use to create a call flow, click “Add action”. Call flows can play text-to-speech or recorded audio, prompt for a key press or multiple digits, forward the call, record audio from the caller, and much more.

To make outbound voice calls, go to the Messages or Contacts page and click the “Call” dropdown.

You can test Telerivet Voice in your browser even if you don’t have a voice-enabled virtual number, but in order to send and receive actual voice calls you’ll need to set up a virtual number on the Phones page.

(If you’ve been using Telerivet Android app as the SMS gateway, note that the Android app does not support Telerivet Voice due to technical limitations. You would need to add a voice-enabled virtual number in order to use the voice functionality.)

To learn more about how you can use Telerivet voice, visit https://telerivet.com/voice. For more details on how to use all the new features, visit the User Guide.

We are excited to hear your feedback, and discuss how Telerivet Voice might help your organization. Get in touch by emailing us at support@telerivet.com .

Tracking SMS Broadcasts with Telerivet

Telerivet has always made it easy for organizations to send SMS messages to groups of contacts. Some businesses use Telerivet to send notifications to groups of employees, other organizations use Telerivet for sending SMS polls, and others send SMS to notify their customers of special deals. We’ve designed Telerivet to be scalable, so that you can use Telerivet whether you need to send a message to ten contacts, a thousand contacts, or even a million contacts at once.

We’re happy to announce some powerful new features available whenever you send a message to multiple contacts in Telerivet:

Real-Time Delivery Statistics

On the Messages page, the Broadcasts tab now shows the number of messages with each status (e.g. Queued, Sent, Failed, Delivered). Click any broadcast to view additional statistics, which update in real time while the broadcast is being sent.

Broadcast-stats

Broadcast Cancellation

Occasionally you might want to cancel a broadcast that’s already being sent, for example if you notice a mistake, or if you realize that a broadcast is larger or more expensive than you expected. To cancel a broadcast in progress, click “Cancel” when viewing the broadcast.

Automatic Reply Tracking

For each broadcast you send, Telerivet will automatically keep track of the messages that contacts send in reply to your broadcast, and will automatically calculate the response rate (as shown in the image above). If there are any replies, you can view them on the Replies tab for that broadcast:
Replies

The Replies tab will show the next incoming message received from one of the contacts in the broadcast (within 7 days, until you send another message to that contact).

Exporting Broadcast Statistics

If you send multiple broadcasts, Telerivet makes it easy to quickly download their details to CSV. For example, you could use use Excel to analyze trends with your SMS deliverability, response rates, or spending. From the Messages page, click the Broadcasts tab, then click More > Export broadcasts.

Broadcasts API

The Webhook API now makes it easy to notify other systems whenever a broadcast is sent. For example, without needing any servers or programmers, you could connect the Webhook API to Zapier, and configure Zapier to post a message in a Slack channel or send an email notification for each broadcast sent from your Telerivet account. Or if you have your own web app, you could configure the Webhook API to notify your server directly when a broadcast is sent. (If you have multiple systems, you can even trigger multiple webhook notifications.)

In addition, the REST API now lets your systems fetch broadcast statistics directly. For example, if you want your own system to show the progress of a Telerivet broadcast, you can periodically call the REST API every few seconds and get the current number of messages in each status (e.g. queued, sent, delivered) until there are no more queued messages.

Try it out

If you already have a Telerivet account, try out the new features from the Broadcasts tab on the Messages page. We hope you’ll find these new features useful! (If you don’t have an account already, set up a free Telerivet account first.) If you have feedback or ideas for features that would be useful to your organization, feel free to get in touch at support@telerivet.com!

To learn more about how leading businesses and NGOs are already using Telerivet SMS broadcasts to reach their goals, check out the case studies for ZALORA, Asia’s leading fashion e-commerce site, and Farm Radio International, an international NGO fighting food insecurity in Africa.

Solving public health crises with mobile technology

The most widespread Ebola virus epidemic in history began in 2013 and continued for over two years, infecting tens of thousands of people and causing social and economic devastation on a frightening scale.  The outbreak was largely focused in three West African countries, and it was only through the herculean efforts of thousands of community leaders, educators, doctors, nurses, and public health workers that a much wider outbreak was avoided.

EbolaSituationMap

Simplified Ebola virus Africa epidemic situation map (December 2013 – January 2016) 

Tackling such a public health crisis requires a tremendous level of field coordination and information sharing in challenging environments, and eHealth Africa has been a technology leader in meeting these challenges during the Ebola outbreak.  eHealth Africa is a US-African NGO focused on developing and implementing technology solutions that connect and deliver public health services and commodities to underserved communities across the African continent.

We are proud that Telerivet plays a part in eHealth Africa’s technology solutions to such important problems.  “During the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we needed to rapidly develop solutions to logistical challenges that had never previously been encountered,” says Didi Hoffmann, CTO of eHealth Africa.  “Telerivet allowed us to do this with a minimum of code, in a manner that was both reliable and scalable."

Directing Local Dispatch Teams via SMS

At the height of the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, eHealth Africa rolled out call centers in three of the affected countries, which all ran on a web-based application that allowed operators to log and respond to reports of new cases. These operators would then pass on necessary information to local dispatch teams, who would quarantine and treat these cases.

EhealthComputers

In the affected countries where local dispatch teams often did not have internet access, SMS was the only viable medium for passing this information. In order to enable their application to send and receive SMS messages, eHealth Africa turned to Telerivet.

"Telerivet enabled us to rapidly prototype SMS based solutions and scale with the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa." – Didi Hoffmann, CTO of eHealth Africa

Telerivet's REST API and Webhook API provided an easy way for eHealth Africa's Node.js application to send and receive SMS. According to eHealth Africa's CTO, Didi Hoffmann, "Telerivet's simple REST API and client wrappers made it the obvious choice as a messaging platform."

In Sierra Leone and Guinea, where eHealth Africa acquired three SMS shortcodes from local mobile network operators, Telerivet integrated directly with the mobile networks' systems. In addition, Telerivet's Android app enabled eHealth Africa to send and receive SMS messages throughout West Africa without needing a mobile network integration.

Notifying Relatives of a Patient's Location via SMS

Rapid quarantining of infected individuals, a major part of the fight against Ebola, was done in Emergency Treatment Units (ETUs). But it soon became apparent that there was a lack of trust: once a patient had entered an ETU, there was no way of informing relatives of their status or whereabouts. As a result, patients would refuse to enter the ETUs, a factor that contributed to the ongoing spread of the disease.

To counter this, eHealth Africa developed Trace and Go, an open source application that notifies relatives and loved ones of the status and location of patients via SMS, using the Telerivet REST API to send messages.

"Once again we used Telerivet as a messaging platform; once again it helped us to save lives."

EhealthMeds

See how other healthcare organizations are using Telerivet to improve communication and public health, or check out Telerivet for yourself at telerivet.com

Airtime as a public health incentive

Last year the Telerivet mobile messaging platform launched a new feature, airtime transfer, and in the last year we have seen some inspiring, innovative uses.

On over 450 mobile networks in more than 120 countries worldwide, Telerivet users can transfer airtime to help power their business operations, messaging services, community outreach, and marketing campaigns. 

New Incentives

In Nigeria, the nonprofit New Incentives is working alongside state governments and partners to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV and neonatal mortality. Through their conditional cash transfer program, New Incentives incentivizes pregnant women to access lifesaving health services that often have low adoption rates – including registering for antenatal care and delivering in hospitals.  The intervention saves lives by reducing neonatal mortality and the rate of HIV-positive newborns.

New Incentives’ program has positively increased the demand for lifesaving health services in Nigeria. In the state of Akwa Ibom, facility deliveries at participating clinics have nearly doubled from 30% to 55% following program adoption. In addition to improving health behaviors, cash transfers also provide pregnant women and their families with invaluable financial resources during this vulnerable time.

New_incentives_mother

New Incentives uses Telerivet to disseminate airtime as an incentive for women in their programs. Airtime transfers have become an increasingly powerful tool for incentivizing survey responses and for promoting behavior change communication.

Since New Incentives' beneficiaries are already buying airtime in order to make calls, send SMS, and access the internet on their mobile phone, sending airtime reduces beneficiaries' communication expenses, and is a practical alternative to sending cash.

By using Telerivet, New Incentives is able to reliably reach their most remote beneficiaries. “Network reliability is an issue in Nigeria, therefore we count on Telerivet for the messages to arrive for hard-to-reach cases,” says New Incentives Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Stadler. “Telerivet also saves us hours each week compared to our previous method of disseminating airtime."

Read more about New Incentives and Telerivet here

Sending Airtime for your organization:

Each of the 450+ mobile networks supported by Telerivet sells different airtime values to Telerivet at different price markups. For some mobile networks, the airtime topups are priced at or below “face value” on Telerivet, while other mobile networks sell airtime at a markup. This month, Telerivet added thousands of new topup values, including small values that can be used to send incentives or rewards. In addition, the latest pricing update significantly reduced the average markup above face value, making Telerivet's airtime transfer feature even more affordable for organizations around the world.

This month, Telerivet added thousands of new topup values. To check the availability and pricing for the mobile networks in your country, visit the airtime pricing page.

In addition to Telerivet’s “built-in” support for these mobile networks, Telerivet can also integrate other airtime transfer APIs into your Telerivet account upon request (such as Africa’s Talking in Kenya or Selcom Wireless in Tanzania), for an additional monthly fee (learn more).

To learn more and start sending airtime today, visit the User Guide.

Try it out and email us at support@telerivet.com if you have any questions or feedback!

2015 Technology Roundup

2015 has been a big year for Telerivet. We launched many new features and improvements this year, making Telerivet an even more powerful platform for mobile messaging. In case you missed it, here are a few of the biggest new features:

Airtime Transfer and Top-up

Powerful features for contact management

Automating SMS via Drag-and-Drop

New Data Visualizations

Using SMS polls to collect data? Telerivet now lets you visualize the top survey responses as a pie chart, bar graph, or table. When viewing the data table of poll responses, just click the “Stats” tab.

Poll_stats

Featured User: Femina Hip

Fema_coverFemina Hip is a multimedia platform and civil society initiative working with youth across Tanzania. Since 1999, their aim has been to promote healthy lifestyles, sexual health, gender equality, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy.

In order to reinforce their message via SMS, Femina Hip uses Telerivet for several different activities:

Providing advice via an SMS hotline

Femina Hip created an SMS counseling hotline after realizing that many Tanzanian youth are more comfortable asking sensitive questions via SMS compared to other communication channels. With this SMS hotline, Tanzanian youth can send in their questions relating to sexual and reproductive health, economic empowerment, and citizen engagement. A member of Femina's outreach team receives the question via Telerivet, and sends a personalized response. In each issue of Fema Magazine, Femina's team publishes some of the SMS questions in the column "Mpendwa Anti" (Dear Auntie).

Mpendwa_anti

Live audience interaction

Femina Hip's television and radio shows now have an audience interaction component to them that is run through an SMS system. During each episode a "question of the week" is asked, and audience members are asked to send an SMS answer.

Pushing out information to communities

Femina Hip uses Telerivet to periodically send out information to their audience, especially to inform them about new upcoming media products, such as new seasons of their television and radio shows.

Happy Holidays!

The Telerivet Team