IDG Contributor Network: Get started with Twilio’s Programmable Voice API to build an IVR system

When you want to get ahold of someone, there’s nothing quite like giving someone a call. When that someone is a business, you want to connect to the right place with the minimum of fuss. That’s where an interactive voice response system comes in, otherwise known as an IVR. An IVR enables callers to speak or press digits on a touch-tone phone to quickly find the right person or information.

Twilio’s Programmable Voice API enables you to quickly build an engaging IVR with just a few lines of code. Though Twilio supports any language capable of talking to a REST API and has libraries for all the popular languages like Java and C#, I’m focusing this tutorial on Node.js.

Sign up and get a Twilio phone number

Before you can receive a phone call with Node.js, you’ll need to sign up for a Twilio account and purchase a phone number. If you sign up for the free trial, you’ll get your first phone number for free. If you search for a number to buy, you’ll be able to see what types of communication it can power (such as SMS, fax , and voice).

twiliovoice1 Andrew Baker/Twilio

Buy a phone number

Click the red Buy a Number button to add one of these numbers to your account. Now that you have a Twilio account and a programmable phone number, you can start writing code. To make it easier, install Twilio’s official helper for Node.js applications.

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