how does twilio work

What Can You Really Do With Twilio & Is It Worth It?

Every business needs a communications backbone. For small businesses, existing infrastructure may be enough.

But as a business grows, the need for custom solutions to meet the demands of customer engagement, employee collaboration, and more grows with it. Time is money, and every second spent working around the limitations of your communications tools it money left on the table.

Twilio understood that and created a platform for enterprise developers to use for the creation of custom telephony services. Did they succeed in that goal? What can you do with Twilio? Will it still be useful to you if you don’t have any developers on staff? What does it cost and is it worth it?

In this post, we’ll answer those questions and more.

What is Twilio?

When developers want to create software, they have two choices. They can create everything from scratch, or they can use code that someone else has already written to give them a head start.

No developer writes everything from scratch these days, for the same reasons people don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead, they’ll take a set of tools that perform a generic function, such as drawing UI elements on the screen, and turn them into the custom solution they were paid to create. 

Twilio provides such a service to developers, except instead of providing a backbone that draws a user interface, they provide one that provides telephony services.

This allows developers to skip the part of the development process that is not specific to their project and focus on the parts that are. More importantly, it provides the development team with the expertise of telephony developers without anyone on the team needing to have a highly specialized skill.

What does Twilio do?

So far we’ve spoken generically about telephony and communications, but we haven’t gone into a lot of detail about how Twilio can help create a custom solution for those things.

Below is a list of features that Twilio offers developers to aid in creating the perfect unified communications system. 

  1. Contact center — Customers need a way of contacting you that Twilio Flex is a fully programmable contact center platform that lets companies deploy complex customer engagement channels. This can include things such as AI-powered self-service tools, customer service across all popular messaging channels, automated text notifications, callback services, and more.
  2. Marketing Campaigns — Marketing campaigns rely on key metrics and consistent styling. With Twilio, your company will be able to modify the look and feel of emails to match specific campaign goals and track the analytics that are important to your marketing team, such as delivery, open and click-through rates.
  3. Messaging — Twilio allows you to send and receive SMS, MMS, OTT messages at scale easily and around the globe. With the power of a fully programmable system, you’ll be able to create an automated messaging system that will answer your customer’s questions quicker and route queries to the appropriate people when human interaction is needed.
  4. Video — In today’s work-from-home world, businesses are relying on video conferences more than ever. Rather than relying on third party services and software, Twilio allows companies to build their own video platforms. There are solutions in place for JavaScript, iOS, and Android so your video will go wherever you need it to go.
  5. Voice — Phone calls are still a common way of communicating with customers, clients, and business contacts. Today’s powerful automated systems make those phone calls far more efficient than they once were. With a fully programmable voice implementation, Twilio can merge phone calls and VoIP into a cohesive channel that can be routed through browsers, apps, phones, or anywhere else it is possible to take a call. 
  6. Email — No communications system is complete without email. Twilio’s platform provides the same fully programmable functionality for sending, receiving, and routing email that it does for other essential communications services. 

Who would use Twilio?

Any IT department tasked with creating a telephony solution for their employer would certainly give serious consideration to a service like Twilio. There are few downsides to leveraging the work of others who have done the same things you are attempting. But it isn’t just IT departments that should consider Twilio.

Management at companies who could benefit from the type of powerful and customized solution Twilio allows for should also consider making use of it at their company.

Some of these managers may have their own staff to handle the development. Others may need to outsource the work to a development firm. Either way, the ability to vastly improve communications throughout a company makes Twilio worthy of consideration from anyone who learns of it.

what does twilio do

How much does Twilio cost?

Twilio doesn’t have a one-time cost or a set monthly fee, but rather the costs are tied directly to usage. Because they offer so many different ways to utilize telephony services, the exact amount they charge depends on the use case. You can also see the most up-to-date pricing on the company’s pricing page.

Of course, like many services, Twilio offers a free trial so that companies and developers can make sure that Twilio fits nicely with their needs before making any sort of financial commitment.

It should be noted that the free trial is not the same thing a free tier. Twilio is not a freemium service. The trial will allow developers to develop their software and managers to see how that software functions, but will have usage limits in place that make it impractical for use in an actual business environment until the account is upgraded. A full list of those limitations is available on their website.


As your business expands, so too will your communication needs. Twilio offers a lot of functionality that can be utilized to make your business operations flow more smoothly. If you don’t have a team in place to put Twilio to work for you, our custom software development service will be able to help. If you already have an application in mind, or just want to talk to a team of knowledgeable experts about how Twilio can improve your workflows, contact us today. 

Nathan Silsbee

Nathan is an accomplished entrepreneur who fantasizes about making positive disruptions in the world through the use of technology.

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