USP is a Cloud service, accessible using your phone’s browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari). There is no App to install. The USP Dialer uses financial grade SSL encryption to protect communications with the USP Console. USP stores all data, SMS/MMS, and contacts in the Cloud. Routing of voice calls is through the phone’s voice channel to assure carrier quality phone calls. USP is not a VOIP service and works great when your phone is on mobile data.
Open Twilio Account
USP is a “plug-in” for Twilio.com. The first activation step is to open a twilio account and purchase phone number(s). Local phone numbers in Canada and the USA are $1/month. Toll free numbers are $2/month. Local numbers in over 50 countries are available, but prices vary.
Using your twilio account you may port any phone number (mobile or land-line) and use it with USP. After connecting a land-line to USP, it will have full mobile functionality including text and picture messaging.
Open USP Account
The second step is to open a USP account Open USP Account. Transfer the twilio credentials (shown on the twilio home page) using copy and paste. Click on the icon next to your business number in the USP Console to bring the subject twilio number under USP control.
The USP cloud application service costs a flat $5/month or $48/year fee. The first month is on us. You may have up to 10 phone numbers with up to 10 agents each.
USP automatically sets up the phone number and assigns a PIN. Activate by texting the PIN to the twilio number. Provisioning is instant and a link to the dialer comes back via text message. Bookmark this link and add to the phone’s home screen for convenient single click access. Up to 9 more people may text the same PIN and share the same phone number.
Click on the icon next to the twilio phone number on the USP console. Enter the land-line phone number and click save. An “Open Dialer” link appears for the dialer that matches that land-line. Use this link on a PC, Mac, or tablet to provide the smart functions (texting, contacts, etc) for the land-line.
Without a companion dialer the land-line will only be able to receive inbound calls.
Click the Dial tab on the USP dialer. Dial the number and click the green button.
On a smartphone the native dialer then shows up with the business number pre-dialed. This may seem confusing, but just click the Call button on the native phone dialer. USP will answer the call and read back the number being dialed. If the number is in the contact book, USP will read back the contact name instead. If the number was not intended then hang up, otherwise the call will connect.
On a land-line USP will call the land-line number. When the call is answered USP will read back the number being dialed. If the number is in the contact book, USP will read back the contact name instead. The call will then connect.
When an inbound call arrives USP simultaneously calls all the agent phones that are On-duty. When the agent answers, a text-to-speach function reads info about the call and asks the agent to “press 1 to accept the call”. The “1 key” can be pressed anytime during the agent greeting. The agent and caller are then connected. All the calls to the other agents are terminated.
All inbound calls show a callerID of the business number. That is rather than showing the number that the person is calling from, USP sets the callerID to the number that was dialed. This makes it easy to answer the phone with the appropriate greeting. Some phones allow the user to set a different ring tone for specific callerIDs which can be used to indicate a business call.
Agents put themselves On-duty and Off-duty. Click the three dots found at the top middle of the dialer. This pops the Settings dialog box.
Which agents are On-duty and Off-duty are shown on the USP console beside each phone number.
Click on the Messages tab to access the Text and Picture message functions. The messages are organized into conversations with only the latest being shown. Compose a new message by clicking the icon in the upper left.
When composing a message on a local number, up to 10 pictures can be attached. Note that smartphone pictures are often large files and can take a bit of time to upload. There is no picture messaging support on toll free numbers.
When a text message or voice mail comes in, it is copied to each of the On-duty phones. Off-duty phones can check/send messages using the Messages tab, but will not receive any text message notifications.
USP does use a small insignificant amount of data when processing calls. For inbound voice calls and texts USP does not use any data. For outbound calls USP uses about 100 bytes (0.0000001GB) to set the call up. The most data intensive operation for USP is uploading and attaching pictures to text messages.
Monthly Twilio costs are variable and depend on the number of owned telephone numbers, whether calls are incoming or outgoing, number of agents involved in a call, and the amount of messages sent.
Regular, local calling charges from your carrier to Twilio may occur depending on your phone’s calling plan.