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Updated May 17, 2024

Twilio Flex Review and Pricing

Mark Fairlie
Mark Fairlie, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
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Table of Contents

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Editors Score:8.7/10
Twilio Flex is a developer-friendly service that allows businesses to integrate a fully tailored omnichannel platform into their existing software. Twilio is best known for its comprehensive communications solutions, especially its SMS marketing services.
Thumbs Up Pros
  • Twilio Flex comes with built-in, customizable inbound and outbound call and message workflows.
  • The company's drag-and-drop Studio app reduces programming time and investment.
  • The vendor's API and SDK documentation are excellent and will assist developers in creating the exact platform you want.
Thumbs Down Cons
  • Building your own communications platform may be time-consuming and prohibitively expensive.
  • At $150 per user per month, Twilio Flex is expensive — especially if you must add CRM and ERP user fees to gain your desired functionality.
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Twilio started in 2008 as a programmable communications platform that developers could use to wire phone calls and text communications to mobile phone apps and CRM/ERP software. Twilio Flex is essentially a barebones omnichannel communications platform in which businesses using VoIP phone service can build their own cloud-based call center solutions. It’s a great product for organizations that want a deep level of control; plus, it gives the ability to integrate call center software into their broader business software ecosystem. That’s why Twilio Flex is our choice for the best call center service for companies with complex communication needs.

Twilio Editor's Rating:

8.7 / 10

Pricing
8.5/10
Built-in features
8/10
Integrations
9/10
Ease of use
8/10
Call routing options
10/10

Why We Chose Twilio Flex for Complex Communication Needs

Businesses can typically integrate various third-party apps with call center software to customize a solution to fit their needs. However, you may not be able to find an app with the specific functionality you need, or you may have security concerns about sharing information between call center software and third-party apps. You may also have complex communication needs that typical call center software can’t address.

Twilio Flex solves many of these issues. You can adapt this call center software for very specific purposes and still connect to your customer relationship management (CRM) system, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and other business solutions. Your company’s administrators, agents, and supervisors will appreciate Twilio’s intuitive and elegant user interface. You can configure the software to your precise specifications and integrate it with your existing tech stack.

Most businesses will need developers and coders to fully utilize Twilio Flex’s capabilities. Think of the platform as a blank slate you can customize to execute omnichannel communications exactly as you wish. That said, you should begin with a clear vision of the functionality you need to help your team build and deploy the system quickly.

Twilio Flex is ideal for businesses that need a custom call center solution; it’s our top choice for companies with complex communication needs.

Twilio customized

You can connect your CRM with Twilio Flex for a customized, customer-centric solution. Source: Twilio

Ease of Use

Twilio Flex is designed for companies that want to develop a customized communications architecture from the ground up and have it work with their existing business software. This is an inherently complex task. However, Twilio’s website provides hundreds of valuable pages of developer documentation to help you use the platform; plus, a growing app marketplace is available to Twilio users.

Twilio Flex’s existing user interface and functionality are user-friendly. However, this is just the starting point. You must add functions to the system to customize the solution and will likely need programmers and coders to help you achieve your vision.

Fortunately, Twilio Flex is a brilliant platform designed by programmers and coders for programmers and coders. The developer information is organized and straightforward. The supporting documents will help teams navigate the journey from initial planning to a viable product and further iterations.

Twilio Flex Features

Twilio Flex starts primarily as a barebones system that you can customize with the specific call center features you need to handle your company’s complex communication needs.

Customizability

While Twilio Flex works out of the box, most businesses customize the platform. In addition to coding, teams can use Twilio’s Studio app to develop their customized solution.

Studio adds drag-and-drop functionality for creating workflows, starting with triggers such as “incoming call” or “incoming message.” You can then create your own interactive voice response (IVR) system to present callers with a series of options. Next, you’ll route leads to an agent based on the selected option — for example, 1 for sales, 2 for support, etc. It’s not a no-code solution, but it’s certainly low-code.

Other Studio options include the following:

  • Creating two-way conversations between agents and digital channels
  • Building a WhatsApp customer support menu
  • Establishing conditions for forwarding calls
  • Setting up an autoresponder
  • Sending appointment reminders

If your company has in-house developers or access to developers, the drag-and-drop functionality will save them time when creating your ideal call center solution.

Twilio Studio

Twilio Studio offers a low-code way to customize the platform to suit your business. Source: Twilio

Omnichannel Communications

Twilio Flex’s pre-made user interface elements include the ability to communicate with customers via different channels. The Chat tab shows all current and past digital conversations with a client. If you select Info, the system will display the client’s details and order history if the program is linked to your CRM software. Every user interface element is customizable, including the presentation, layout, positioning and content.

We were impressed by Flex Conversations, a pre-built Flex tool for two-way digital communication exchanges between agents and customers. This feature can manage text conversations, WhatsApp messages, X (formerly Twitter) conversations, chatbot conversations, and more, and route interactions to a specific team member you designate. This tool helps developers save time because they don’t have to build interfaces or workflows entirely from scratch; it’s already been done.

Twilio Flex conversations

Twilio’s Flex Conversations tool helps you and your agents support external communication channels. Source Twilio

Admin Dashboard and Tools

We like that you can program new workflows, add and delete users, integrate Twilio Flex with your existing apps, or add third-party apps developed explicitly for Twilio. The platform allows you to build custom inbound call and message routing paths, assess workforce engagement, manage staffing levels, transcribe calls, analyze transcripts to reveal customer sentiment and more. Apps for many popular functions already exist, so you won’t have to code them unless they don’t do exactly what you want.

In terms of performance and quality metrics, you can monitor average call times, average call wait times, and other data. You can also track customer retention rates, first-contact resolution rates, cost per contact and call abandonment rates. You can program these key performance indicators (KPIs) into the software or find an app with these metrics. You can also add pre-built workflows, like the Survey Dynamic app, which lets you calculate a customer satisfaction score by getting customers to rate the quality of their interactions.

As with most other call center software platforms, supervisors can assign skills and skill levels to agents; plus, you can program the system to ensure calls get routed to the most skilled agents first. Twilio Flex also lets you track your average call transfer rate so you can see how well agents perform according to their specific skills.

Textedly admin dashboard

The Development section of the Admin dashboard allows programmers to build on Twilio Flex’s basic built-in features. Source: Twilio

Agent Dashboard and Tools

Twilio Flex’s agent dashboard is centered around inbound calls, outbound calls and digital conversations. Agents can see the call queue on the top left of their screen at all times and conduct live digital conversations in the area below that. We like that agents can see whether a customer is communicating via text, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, email, voicemail or live chat; they can also scroll past the current conversation to examine previous client interactions. Agents release themselves from a digital conversation by pressing End Chat.

Assuming you integrate Twilio Flex with your CRM software, ERP software, payment system and other relevant apps, you can program the customer’s contact information and notable details (payment data, memberships, order history, etc.) to appear on the right of the screen.

We really like that you can program on-screen interactions for regularly occurring issues. For example, if someone loses their password or wants to change their subscription level, the components that allow the agent to address these problems can be programmed to appear on the right of the screen. Automated system responses to given keywords and situations give agents a higher chance of providing quick resolutions — saving valuable time and supporting efficient customer service.

We also like that agents can use their dashboard to see how they and their team are performing against KPIs; they and their supervisors can use this information to identify training opportunities.

Twilio customer queue

The agents’ customer queue in Twilio Flex uses icons to indicate the customer’s communication channel (e.g., phone, text, Facebook). Source: Twilio

Supervisor Dashboard and Tools

Twilio Flex’s supervisor tools also impressed us. Here are a few highlights:

  • Dashboard homepage: On their dashboard homepage, supervisors get a broad overview of their team and its performance. In the platform’s out-of-the-box version, supervisors can see the number of waiting and active tasks, the longest wait, each agent’s status, service level agreement performance across all channels, tasks per queue and more.
  • People: If a supervisor selects the People icon, they’ll see an agent’s current task and whether they’re communicating via phone or a digital channel.
  • Reporting: We were particularly impressed with Twilio Flex’s reporting capabilities compared to rival products. They include the following:
    • The Reporting button presents a more detailed summary of metrics for the team and individual agents. From here, supervisors can schedule regular reports and send them to specified recipients.
    • Supervisors can select individual calls and digital interactions to assess an agent’s performance and leave them helpful comments.
    • The KPI dashboard can report on performance against targets across a wide range of metrics by date and channel.
    • Supervisors can use a drag-and-drop tool to create new reports, charts and tables.
  • Whisper messages: During a call or digital interaction, supervisors can send a whisper message to an agent’s screen to help them resolve an issue or close a sale. Alternatively, agents can escalate a call or interaction so it appears on a supervisor’s screen.
Twilio analytics

Supervisors have access to robust agent performance insights on Twilio Flex. Source: Twilio

Text Message Marketing

Twilio Flex allows you to run marketing campaigns and promotions using MMS and SMS, Google Business Messages, Messenger and WhatsApp. Its extensive functionality makes it one of the best text message marketing platforms available.

Twillio’s robust business texting and text message marketing features include click tracking (for embedded URLs in texts), link shortening, message scheduling and more. We appreciate how well these functions are built into the platform — making running marketing campaigns and loyalty programs straightforward.

FYIDid you know
Twilio allows you to program onboarding messages for subscribers joining your service and set up reactivation campaigns (when linked to your CRM) to re-engage past clients.

Twilio Flex Pricing

Twilio Flex has two pricing models:

  • Per-hour pricing: This option costs $1 per user per hour; it’s designed for companies with part-time agents or those seeking to balance seasonal demand.
  • Per-month pricing: This option costs $150 per user per month, regardless of activity or staff volume. The same price applies to agents, supervisors and administrators using the system.

Other pricing considerations include the following:

  • If you hire a developer to customize your platform, you’ll incur initial implementation costs.
  • You should factor in how much you may need to spend on a separate CRM or ERP to connect to Twilio Flex and enhance its functionality.
  • For telephony prices using the SIP Trunking infrastructure, calling toll-free numbers costs $0.0011 per minute, while calling Zone 4 in the U.S. is the most expensive at $0.042. Receiving calls starts from $0.0034 per minute. You can add call recording for $0.0025 per minute with a storage charge of an additional $0.0005 per minute.
  • Enhanced customer service plans cost more (more on this in the Customer Support section).

In terms of pricing for individual SMS and MMS text messages, a popular use of the platform, these are the current offers from Twilio:

Phone number type

Message type

Initial cost

Volume discounts (per message)

All number types

SMS outbound

$0.0079

150,001-300,000: $0.0077, 300,001-500,000: $0.0075, 500,001-750,000: $0.0073, 750,001-1,000,000: $0.0071, 1,000,001+: $0.0069

All number types

SMS inbound

$0.0079

Same as SMS outbound

Long codes

MMS outbound

$0.0200

150,001+: $0.0100

Long codes

MMS inbound

$0.0100

No volume discounts

Toll-free

MMS outbound

$0.0200

No volume discounts

Toll-free

MMS inbound

$0.0200

No volume discounts

Short codes

MMS outbound

$0.0200

150,001+: $0.0100

Short codes

MMS inbound

$0.0100

No volume discounts

Additional carrier fees apply to many of the above charges. For example, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon apply a $0.003 carrier fee on outbound SMS messages. Therefore, you add the volume price and the carrier fee to determine the cost — for example, $0.0079 SMS outbound plus $0.003 carrier fee equals $0.0109.

Twilio offers a free trial of 5,000 active user hours. This should give you time to experiment with the platform to see if you can customize it to suit your business and communications needs. Note that the free trial doesn’t include access to Insights (Twilio’s conversation analysis tool for supervisors) or self-hosted user interfaces (for running historical reporting on a URL other than Twilio’s).

TipBottom line
When choosing call center software, consider the prices of multiple vendors — taking into account all the add-on fees you may be forced to pay on top of the base costs. You'll have to decide whether paying more is worth it for better functionality.

Implementation and Onboarding

Setting up Twilio Flex initially is relatively straightforward. When you open the software for the first time, you must create a project and add team members. Next, you’ll choose communication channels, build communication workflows with the Studio app, and select live analytics and reporting options. At that point, you should be able to receive calls and texts via a number Twilio gives you and set up the webchat function for your website.

Twilio has four available views you can select from a menu on the left:

  • Admin dashboard: You can start integrating your CRM here if you wish. The Salesforce CRM integrates with Twilio, but others must be built into your CRM’s API/SDK interface. If you’re not confident with coding, consider hiring an outsourced developer to integrate your CRM and other apps with Twilio. You can enable and disable Flex features, set up queues, and more from this dashboard. [Read related article: Best Websites for Hiring Developers]
  • Agent desktop view: Your agents will see live, incoming, and ready-for-resolution tasks, and the actions they can take on those tasks.
  • Teams view: Administrators and supervisors can monitor team performance for up to 200 agents on this screen.
  • Queues view: This screen allows you to see summaries of each task in a queue, including details on how many agents are available, unavailable or offline.

While the initial setup isn’t too challenging, customization is much more complex. Integrating the platform with the 60 available built-in apps (offering everything from IVR enhancements to workforce management tools) is a lot easier than ground-up coding; however, it still requires planning and execution.

Because of this complexity, we appreciate the vendor’s extensive technical support documentation; this includes API reference documentation in the Developers section of the site and a knowledge base that includes answers to hundreds of questions. Plus, the vendor offers the Twilio CodeExchange, which features code samples for common use cases, such as setting up text notifications. We also love the effort the company put into populating its YouTube channel, including creating content for Flex subscribers.

Twilio customer queue

The customer queue in Twilio Flex highlights each client inquiry as a task. Source: Twilio

Customer Support

Twilio’s website has several free customer service resources, including a blog and an online community. You can also access API status notifications and get email support for free. However, there is no guaranteed response time.

For more robust assistance, Twilio provides three support plans that are billed monthly; you can switch between them with 30 days’ notice. The options are as follows:

  • Production plan: For 4 percent of your monthly spend ($250 minimum), you get live chat support and guaranteed response times between three and nine hours, depending on the priority level.
  • Business plan: For 6 percent of your monthly spend ($1,500 minimum), you get phone support, live chat support, and guaranteed response times between one and three hours, depending on the priority level.
  • Personalized plan: For 8 percent of your monthly spend ($5,000 minimum), you get everything in the Business package, plus a technical account manager, access to a support escalation line and a quarterly service review.

Twilio isn’t the only text messaging and call center software provider that charges businesses for better customer service. As we noted in our Salesforce Service Cloud review, Salesforce provides phone help only to customers on specific support plans. This is another cost to remember when choosing a vendor.

Limitations

In terms of price, Twilio Flex compares well with other platforms on a per-user, per-month and per-communication basis. What’s not so clear at the start is how much it costs to get the system to behave the way you want and to integrate it with other apps. There are no real caps on what you can do with Flex, but you must be prepared to spend time and money to customize the platform. Therefore, it can be hard to see the justification for investing money and attention in something a competing platform could easily replicate if you don’t require a completely tailored solution.

Also, the unlimited options for customizing Twilio Flex can actually be a drawback for some businesses. Despite the helpful documentation, some businesses may be overwhelmed by the idea of building their own call center solution. It can be challenging to get over this intimidation if you don’t have coders on staff or the financial means to hire a developer. For more of a plug-and-play call center option, especially if you have simple needs, read our review of Five9.

Did You Know?Did you know
Hiring a call center eliminates the need to purchase call center software. However, outsourcing limits your control over client interactions. Twilio Flex is an ideal solution for companies that want to provide more personalized service while maintaining complete control over their call center system.

Methodology

When searching for the best call center software providers, we researched and analyzed different vendors and products — examining each option’s features, usability, setup, costs, downsides and customer service. We looked for features like inbound and outbound communication, call routing, analytics, management tools and integrations. We also considered the availability of add-ons and customization. For hands-on experience, we participated in demos and trials whenever possible. To determine the top platform for businesses with complex needs, we examined whether the software was plug-and-play or required configuration, the system’s customizability, and whether it could be programmed to perform how you’d like.

FAQs

Twilio Flex is a cloud-based omnichannel call center management platform. Twilio is one of the world's largest providers of call and messaging connectivity. This platform allows companies to create a call center experience over VoIP to improve agent performance, raise new revenue and satisfy customers.
Notable companies using Twilio Flex include British bank NatWest Group; food delivery company Deliveroo; taxi app firms Uber, Lyft and DoorDash; international retailer Marks and Spencer; and BOTOX manufacturer Allergan.
Yes. Twilio Flex allows companies and supervisors to record incoming and outbound calls made by agents and all other employees. To start working, you must first switch the service on via the Twilio Flex Console.

Bottom Line

We recommend Twilio Flex for …

  • Companies that want maximum flexibility in a communications platform.
  • Organizations that require specially tailored call center software for complex communications needs.
  • Software development companies that can build bespoke communication infrastructures for clients.

We don’t recommend Twilio Flex for …

  • Companies with fairly standard communications requirements that can be met by other less-expensive platforms.
  • Businesses that have no coders or programmers and can’t afford to seek development help.
Mark Fairlie
Mark Fairlie, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Ownership
Mark Fairlie brings decades of expertise in telecommunications and telemarketing to the forefront as the former business owner of a direct marketing company. Also well-versed in a variety of other B2B topics, such as taxation, investments and cybersecurity, he now advises fellow entrepreneurs on the best business practices. With a background in advertising and sales, Fairlie made his mark as the former co-owner of Meridian Delta, which saw a successful transition of ownership in 2015. Through this journey, Fairlie gained invaluable hands-on experience in everything from founding a business to expanding and selling it. Since then, Fairlie has embarked on new ventures, launching a second marketing company and establishing a thriving sole proprietorship.
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