TeleSmart: An Uncommonly Seductive Offer Using Telecom APIs

Last week I had a discussion with kindred spirits Brian Lynott CEO and Owner of TeleSmart and Jim Lundeen Solutions Engineer at Telesmart on their experiences with running their business on Telecom APIs, thanks to an introduction from Voxeo Labs, who also review Telemart on their weblog.  The reason I felt they were kindred is their intense focus on customer service, to which Telecom APIs play an important part in enabling that focus.  As a small business owner myself, I cannot agree more that keeping customers happy is the core pillar upon which a business is built.  Brian stated, “Our customers are not on a contract, we have to earn their business every day, and because of that we have the lowest customer churn in the industry.”

TeleSmart was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon.  TeleSmart offers custom-tailored call routing and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) solutions. They’ve processed over 78 million customer calls serving thousands of clients.  They are the largest independent provider of vanity numbers in North America, with over 25k such numbers under management.  In today’s web-centric world we may think such services are declining in usage, they are not, with the rise in ecommerce, traffic on vanity numbers continues to grow.  Amazon has such numbers, which I’ve used when my 18 month old son got hold of the Kindle Fire before parental controls on one-click purchases were available, before that event I didn’t realize I could call Amazon.

TeleSmart‘s services cover IVR, toll-free, call routing, tracking, and reporting services to businesses, all running on Telecom APIs, Voxeo Labs Tropo API.  It’s an archetype for why running your business on the cloud makes sense.  TeleSmart focuses on keeping its customers’ happy with great service, while Voxeo Labs focuses on running TeleSmart’s network on the Tropo API, which I’m discovering from these interviews with the most reliable and best supported Telecom API on the market.  The advice Brian had for other businesses looking at Telecom APIs is, “You don’t have to own everything.  Running a network distracts you from customer service.  Using Telecom APIs means Voxeo Labs focuses on providing the most reliable network and the best support.  Seriously, they respond to my questions in minutes, it’s wonderful.  And we can focus on delivering the best service and best support to our customers.”

TeleSmart’s speech recognition IVR provides 24 X 7 access for field staff reporting. Using their survey builder tools customers can create project specific questions including audio comment attachments. They can even assign new phone numbers in minutes or password-protect access to their service.  Simply call the toll free number and use simple voice commands to interact with the advanced project reporting. The questionnaire can be as detailed as required, with the callers simply voicing their responses to queues.  “All levels of our organization have access to configure the service, and we encourage and help our customers get in and configure their service for themselves.  Everyone’s empowered to deliver what the customer wants.  Compare this to the large Telcos, if you call them most will not know they offer such IVR services, and forget about on a call to set up the service making any type of customization then and there.  With TeleSmart it’s how we do business every day.”

TeleSmart’s SmartECR™ (Smart Enhanced Call Routing) is a sophisticated, network-based call router supporting applications ranging from simple informational messages played to the caller, to sophisticated caller interaction applications based on menus and databases.  Their SmartECR™ telephone network routes calls to customer locations based on data such as: Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS); Automatic Number Identification (ANI); or caller-input Dual Tone Multi-Frequency (DTMF) telephone keypad entries. Their services are delivered from our proprietary IVR (Interactive Voice Response) platform, running on the Tropo API.

“Back in 2008 we started the migration to the cloud.  We needed a partner that would work with us in delivering the best possible customer service.  Voxeo Labs has proved to have been a wise choice, we’ve worked together over the years creating new and innovative applications using the Tropo API that keep our customers’ delighted.  And critically its a platform that has unmatched reliability, while those running on Amazon were down for a day, our service kept on running.  When a computer network goes down people accept it, it’s been that way for decades.  But when a phone call cannot be made, people do not accept that, and they get angry.  Voxeo Labs brings the best of Data and Telecoms together.” Said Brian.

Looking to the future, I asked Brian about his plans going forward. “We have only a few percent of the Vanity Numbers here in North America, there are millions of them.  We can grow our North American market significantly over the coming years.  With Voxeo Labs we are looking into international markets, where we can bring our rich portfolio of applications built on the Tropo API and our intense customer focus to disrupt less competitive markets.”  TeleSmart is a growing business, keep an eye on it as its move to running on Telecom APIs has accelerated its business considerably.  Brian’s last comment was, “In running your business on Telecom APIs, your choice of Telecom API partner is critical.  Spend the time to talk with other customers of the potential partner, as well as talk to the support people and CEO about your business and its needs.  It will give you the confidence to let them focus on what they do best, so you can be best at what you do.  For us its delivering an uncommonly seductive offer in custom-tailored call routing and IVR solutions.”