I have been exploring SMS messaging with a bot, such as for signing up customers to receive products.

Background: rather than creating web pages or coding an application, I wanted to try a simple text messaging service which would allow customers to get products shipped to them on a regular basis. For instance, getting a package of paper towels shipped to you automatically once a month.

Tools Explored:

To make this work, a combination of tools are needed.

Twilio – a cloud-based communication platform which, in my case, provides me with a phone number that I can use for text messaging. Twilio has an API which can be interacted with by a bot service.

twilio

TextIt.in – an bot tool specifically for SMS messaging, which provides a very user-friendly UX-flow layout to customize your bot interactions.

textitin

Other tools which could also be looked at include Slack (for it’s bot messaging capability) and Zapier (which can automate or ‘zap’ simple, mundane activities).

Scenario: every six months, I need to replace the water filters on my refrigerator. The water filter package has a small sticker on it which reads “Automatically stock up once a month! Text ‘RESTOCK’ to 22202!”

Once the accounts were setup, there is a wizard on TextIt.in to integrate with the Twilio account.

TextIt.in has a simple work flow model which lets you build out the text bot questions and responses:

textitin1

There is also a neat simulator on the screen which allows you to test out the text bot questions and responses. This allows you to easily tweak your bot’s Q & A.

flow-simulator

Next – creating a Webhook to store this information in a Firebase DB.

 

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