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Curbside Pickup – Solution Using Twilio Flex and Programmable SMS

curbside pickup

In our last post, we talked about how curbside pickup or “click and collect” is expected to remain a popular channel for retailers to connect with their customers in a post-COVID-19 environment.

Using SMS and Twilio Flex, Twilio’s contact center platform, retailers can quickly adapt to the increasing demand for contactless store pickups. We have created an accelerator package for a curbside pickup operation to integrate with your existing order management system, with the added flexibility to customize the solution based on your specific business requirements.

The Customer Experience

In our accelerator proof-of-concept, the customer receives an automated message using Twilio Programmable SMS when an order is ready to be picked up. The customer is asked to head to the store, and instructed to text a configured phone number on arrival. You could also include this instruction directly in an order notification email.


Flex Curbside Pickup Customer Flow

When the customer indicates they have arrived, we use the customer’s phone number to perform a look up and find a matching order. This lookup can be an interface directly with an order management system API or information can be pushed to a temporary store in Twilio. If a matching order is found, we can either notify a store associate of the customer’s arrival or ask the customer a few automated questions.

With the increasing demand for store pickup, automated questions can help improve the efficiency of your operation and reduce the amount of time spent by store employees on each customer interaction. Some examples of information that could be gathered from the customer include:

  • the make and model of the customer’s car
  • the store exit at which the customer is waiting
  • the parking spot number or pickup slot where the customer can be found

In our demo, these automated questions are completely handled by a Twilio Studio Flow. These optional questions can help your store associates locate the customer and efficiently fulfill the order, reduce wait times, and the need for direct contact.

Contact-less, But Connected

For store associates, our solution uses the native Twilio Flex Agent Desktop to create a “workstation” for incoming pickup tasks. A store associate would only need a desktop computer and an Internet connection to start using Flex as an agent.

When a customer arrives and texts in with the prompt, a task is created and offered to the logged in agent. You may also have one associate act as a dispatcher, managing the various pickup tasks for multiple order couriers. Once accepted, the associate would be able to see the history of messages with the customer, including any optional automated questions and answers. The Flex Agent Desktop is fully customizable, so additional customer information can be surfaced at this time, including order history, profile information or previous interactions.

A major advantage of leveraging the Flex Agent Desktop is that it initiates a direct connection to the customer, in this case over SMS. Once an order pickup task is accepted, the dispatcher or courier can use the Flex Agent Desktop’s chat interface to exchange additional SMS messages with the customer.

Once the pickup has been completed, the associate can mark the task as completed in Flex and attend to the next customer pickup. These tasks can be referenced in operational dashboards, such as the supervisor Teams View or Real-time Queues View for additional monitoring.

Getting More Out of Flex

This solution, powered by Twilio Flex, can enable your retail business to handle curbside pickups with just the native Twilio Flex agent experience. However, another big advantage of using Twilio Flex is that it allows you to customize and enhance this solution to meet your business’s needs.

Some of these optional enhancements include:

  • Multi workstation support – our core solution shows a single workstation managed by a single worker (or supervisor delegating tasks). If associates have their own computers, you can set them up as separate workers in Twilio Flex. It is also possible to customize the Flex Agent Desktop UI to support a use case of a single workstation being used by multiple workers.
  • Integrating multiple locations – for retailers with multiple locations, a major advantage of a cloud-based contact center is that associates from different stores can be set up as agents in the same Twilio Flex environment, with routing logic to match orders to an associate at the correct store.
  • Monitoring and reporting – using Twilio Flex enables supervisors to access historical reporting and create custom reports via Flex Insights.
  • Customer follow ups – you can customize Twilio Flex to send automated follow ups and surveys to customers to gather feedback about the curbside pickup experience.
  • CRM integration – Twilio Flex can be integrated with your existing customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
  • Omni-channel support – although this solution uses SMS to communicate with the customer, Twilio Flex supports omni-channel communications. Additional digital channels can be added to allow customers to contact you via their preferred platform.
  • Outbound calls – the Flex Dialpad (currently in beta) enables store associates to make outbound calls to customers.
  • Mobile Integration – ask how our mobile practices can integrate this experience directly into your existing iOS or Android application.

These are just some of the ways in which Perficient and Twilio Flex can help you deliver a curbside pickup customer experience that is as seamless as it is contact-less.

Watch the video below to see our Twilio Flex curbside pickup solution in action!

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Umair AbdulQadir

Umair Abdul Qadir is a technical consultant and team leader who is focused on Cloud Contact Centers powered by AWS Amazon Connect and Twilio Flex.

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