Automate customer workflows with Ismaen Aboubakare

Simple steps like customers updating their address can create heavy workloads for your customer support. Learn how to automate customer conversations using Airkit with Ismaen Aboubakare

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Transcript

Airkit is an enterprise tool for turning customer engagement into action with a focus on ensuring a seamless experience across channels. At Airkit, Ismaen Aboubakare (@ismaen_) leads the Developer Advocacy Team and focuses on automating customer workflows and customer experiences. Aboubakare showed Unicorn Factory Founder and AATT guest host Connor Finnlayson (@finlaysonconnor) how to build a workflow for customers to easily update their address via a text message. While it looks like a lot of steps, each one is fairly quick resulting in a workflow built in under an hour.

Who this video is for and what you’ll learn

This stream is for anyone looking to develop customer experiences that drive affinity toward a brand by simplifying processes. Instead of asking a customer to dial-in and wait on hold to check on an order or update an address, Airkit combined with other nocode tools can be used to create automated workflows.

In this particular example, we will be proactively reaching out to a customer and asking them to update their address. Checking a box in Airtable will trigger an Airtable automation that kicks off a workflow in Airkit. The triggered workflow will send a text message via Twilio to the user with a link to a webpage for updating an address. After updating the address, the new information is then sent to Airtable so that it remains a single source of truth.

How to follow along

The following services were used for this workflow:

Note: For the workflow to work, a verified phone number is required.

Let’s get into it

Step 1: Configure an Airtable Base (05:53)

For this workflow, Airtable serves as our primary source of record / truth.

Our table contains the following fields:

  • Name
  • Notes
  • Phone Number
  • Address
  • Checkbox (labeled as “SMS Sent”)

Before the stream, an automation was drafted that triggers when the “SMS Sent” field is checked.

Step 2:  Connect Airkit with Airtable and Twilio (06:30)

Prior to the stream, Finnlayson connected Airkit with both Airtable and Twilio. To do this, open Airkit and go to “My Console” > “Integrations.”

Tip: To connect to a service not listed under “Integrations,” use the “Custom Integrations” option.

Step 3: Purchase a Phone Number (08:42)

To send a text, an originating phone number is required. Aboubakare showed how to purchase a phone number via Twilio.

In Twilio, go to “Phone Numbers” > “Manage” > “Buy a number.”

Tip: Name your phone number. It will help you remember how the number is used. This is especially helpful in cases where you may be sharing a Twilio account with others.

Step 4: Add New Phone Number to Airkit (10:51)

In Airkit, go to “Resources” > “Phone Numbers” and add the phone number.

Tip: Give the phone number a unique and meaningful name.

Step 5: Create an Airkit Application (12:33)

From the top right hand corner, click “Create New.” While templates are available, we selected a blank template and gave it a name.

Then we edited the template in the Airkit Studio.

Tip: Don’t forget to periodically save your application as you build.

Step 6: Set up an Airkit Trigger (15:32)

While in the Airkit Studio, we chose “Journey” from the far left menu. From the “Triggers” section, the API icon was dragged onto the “Triggers” section of the page. We then moved on to other parts of the process and returned to finalizing the “Triggers” part of the flow later in the stream.

Screenshot setting up an API Trigger in Airkt
Configuring an API Trigger in Airkit

We then moved on to configuring our “journey” — a series of steps and actions that the user takes to complete a task. Unlike “sessions,” a user doesn’t have to complete the steps all at once. Users who are side-tracked while going through a workflow can pick up where they left off right down to the last keystroke starting over at the beginning. This can be especially beneficial when onboarding customers.

Our “Journey Steps” included sending an SMS and indicating that there would be a “Web Flow,” which we configured in a later step.

We then jumped back to our “Triggers” and started to create a URL route called “Update” that we will call later in the process from Airtable.

Screenshot showing setting up a URL endpoint in Airkit
Setting up a URL endpoint in Airkit

To make it even more secure, we added an API key to the route by visiting console.airkit.com in a new browser window. This was done by clicking on API from the left-hand navigation and then going to “Create new token” on the right side.

Tip: Be sure to save your API key. You will need to use it later in the process.

With the API Key created, return to the browser tab with the Studio window. Then go to “Settings” > “API Key Filtering” > “TokenAirkit.”

Once that is done, return to “Triggers” and select “Api Key Group Configuration.”

Screenshot of setting up an API key in Airkit
Creating the Api Key Group Configuration in Airkit

From there, we worked to configure the API route by configuring a “Post” request by creating a JSON object with name and phone number as the input parameters that can be leveraged across the Journey. This information was then transformed by using Airkit scripting for use later in the Journey. Additional steps included configuring the “Response Status” and the “Response Body.”

Screenshot showing setting up an API Route in Airkt
Setting up an API Route in Airkt

Step 7: Connect Airkit Application with Airtable Base (24:32)

Under “Settings” > “Integrations” > “Adapters” > “Airtable” and then select your Airtable base.

Step 8: Connect Airkit Application with the Purchased Phone Number (25:01)

Under “Settings” > “Chat Bot,” select the phone number that you would like to use from the drop-down list.

Step 9: Set up SMS Notification (34:10)

Continuing in Airkit, select “Notifications” > “Update Notification” > “Text. ” We elected to create personalized notifications using “Custom Expressions.”

Screenshot showing how to personalize an SMS in Airkit
Personalizing an SMS in Airkit

Tip: If sending links in texts, send links in their own individuals so that a “pretty view” shows in the recipient’s texting app.

Screenshot showing setting up a text link in an SMS in Airkit
Setting up a text link in an SMS in Airkit

Step 10: Set up a Webpage for Updating an Address (37:16)

From the left side menu in Airkit, go to “Web Flows” > “Web Flow” > “Web Page.” Then click the “+” icon to begin adding controls to the webpage where users will be updating their address. To update the address, a “Place Search Input” was used.

Screenshot showing setting up a webpage in Airkit
Setting up a webpage in Airkit

Text on the page can be made dynamic with the use of Airkit Scripting.

Screenshot showing building with dynamic data on an Airkit webpage
Using dynamic data on an Airkit webpage

An “Action” was added to the “Button” field and a Data Flow selected.

Screenshot showing how to configure a button to take action in Airkit
Configure a button to take action in Airkit

Tip: Don’t forget to save your work.

Step 11: Make http Request Back to Airtable (41:39)

Following configuration of a Web Flow, it was time to select “Connections” from the left menu in Airkit. Then, click “Data Flow” and select a text type input on the right hand menu. This will be the Airtable Record ID and one for the address. These values will be part of the POST request back to Airtable.

Screenshot showing how to make an http request in Airkit
Making an http request in Airkit

Using Airtable’s API documentation, we found the link to use to PATCH the record. The URL was then updated to include the Airtable Record ID to be updated.

Screenshot showing HTTP Request Configuration with Airtable Record ID
Specifying the Airtable Record ID to be Updated in Airkit

Again using Airtable’s API documentation, we copied the fields to be updated so that our formatting and naming would match. After pasting into the “Body” field in Airkit, we removed what wasn’t needed, added extra curly braces for formatting since it was a string, and added in the variable that held our customer’s updated address.

Tip: Don’t forget to save your work.

Step 12: Publish the Airkit Application (47:16)

With all the configuring in Airkit finished, we clicked “Publish” to make the app available for use.

We then saved the link that appeared in the confirmation dialog box to use in our Airtable Automation.

Step 13: Preview the Airkit Application (47:55)

From the upper right-hand side in Airkit, click “Preview.” This opens an online emulator that can be used for testing the application — almost like a mini-Postman.

Screenshot showing how to use the emulator in Airkit
Using Airkit's Emulator to Test the Workflow

Step 14: Tieing All the Steps Together (53:36)

In Airtable, go to “Automations.” Before the stream, the skeleton of an automation had been started that triggers when the “SMS Sent” checkbox is clicked. The automation makes an API call to Airkit that fires off the user journey. After a customer updates the address via the webpage created in Airkit, the data is sent back to Airtable.

Tip: To find your URL, go to “Triggers” in Airkit.

Screenshot showing the Airtable Script Being Updated with Info from Airkit
Updating the Airtable Automation

Are you looking for ways to improve customer operations? Let me know. I would love to hear what tools you are using and issues you are solving.

Key takeaways

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