How Did Loop End Up In A Hackathon One Month Before the Go-Live Date?

Building Loop
Jul 30, 2021
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3 min read

Context

I know what you are thinking. What the heck is a hackathon? That was also my impression when I heard the term for the first time (for those of you that know the term, ignore this section).

A hackathon is simply an event where software engineers and others (e.g., designers, project managers, etc.) come together to collaborate and create a functional prototype by the end of the sprint. There are usually ground rules and objectives that define the goal for the full event. At the end of the event, each team present what they built and then the judges take off to deliberate to select the winner(s) based on pre-defined expectations.

The Twilio's 2021 Q3 Hackathon was a 2 days event in which 11 teams participated.

Back to the story

For those of you that don't know, Loop is a VC-Backed, Community-First, B-Corp, and Fair-Pricing InsurTech. In plain English, Loop will be providing auto insurance based on how and where you drive, rather than focusing on irrelevant factors such as credit scores, demographics, educational level, and others.

If you want to learn more about Loop, I recommend you read these two blog posts:

  1. Why we started Loop
  2. What is a B-Corp and Why is Loop a B-Corp?

We have recently announced that our go live date is on 08/18/2021. Now the million dollar question is, why did we decide to attend a hackathon a month before the go live date? Shouldn't we be focused in... going live? Well yes, that is exactly what we did...

Let me explain.

Loop's promise

To really make good on our word and be a community-first and a people-first company, it was decided that we needed to bring the Customer Care Team in-house. This may seem crazy given that we are a startup, but if you think about it, it is not... What is the best way to ensure that all of your customers are being treated like a VIP? Yes, that is right! By having a well-trained and big-hearted in-house Customer Care Team!

Creating fair insurance for all. We believe in customer love.

To answer the question

If you made it this far, it should be clear to you that Loop ended up in a hackathon a month before its launch date because we wanted to make good on our word of providing customer care and customer love through our in-house team. To accomplish this, we needed to build the infrastructure to support the customer care team and to provide a good experience to our customers. And what better way to do this than in a fast-paced, fast-learning, and collaborative event?

What was built

We started by building the routing logic by using Twilio Studio and Twilio TaskRouter that would allow us to route to different team members based on a set of attributes. For example, we are able to route customer communication based on language preferences (e.g., English, Spanish). We built the routing for the phone and web chat channels. In the end, the communications ended up being properly routed and displayed in Twilio Flex, which is where the customer care rep will spend most of their time waiting for incoming calls / chats.

We also coded and deployed a Twilio Function that would grab partial data from the different communication channels and store it in a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Bucket for backup and analytical purposes. For the hackathon, this approach served our purpose and gave us something to show. However, we later figured out a better way to do this, of course, through the Twilio API. Tech used for this section: Node.js, JavaScript

We then integrated Twilio Flex with Google Single Sign-On (SSO) to allow agents to sign in with their already provisioned Google accounts.

We also coded a local script that would allow us to download all phone call MP3s and upload them to a GCP Bucket for backup and analytical purposes. Tech used for this section: Python 3

Finally, we did a partial integration between Twilio Flex and Zendesk, which we are going to use as a CRM and ticketing system.

The team

All this could not have been possible without Loop's great team. Here is an image of all of the people that participated in the extensive hackathon:

Hackathon Team.



Written and published by: Melkis Espinal

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