Top News

St. John's startup's app offers common access point for text messages

TxtSquad allows businesses to use an app to track text messages, providing a common access point for staff. — Contributed
TxtSquad allows businesses to use an app to track text messages, providing a common access point for staff. — Contributed - Contributed

Tool to improve customer service, communication without being tied to one phone

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

A St. John’s tech startup says it has a solution for independent businesses needing an effective way to manage customer service in a contactless world.

The spread of a new COVID-19 variant is forcing businesses across Newfoundland and Labrador to revert back to how they operated last spring. Public health measures have changed the way these businesses can serve customers.

That’s where TxtSquad Enterprises enters the picture. It helps businesses communicate with customers by text message in a team-based setting.

Through either a mobile or web-based app, the business can send and receive text messages through a local number that doesn’t have to be tied to a business phone. The cost to the business ends up being less than half of a typical cellphone bill. Additionally, this set-up allows any staff member with the app to respond to a customer request or order.



“The concept is very straightforward,” said TxtSquad CEO and co-founder Josh Taylor. “We give you a number that you can text from. It’s a local number, and we can forward any calls that come in on that number to whatever phones that you use. And anyone on your team can login to the app, on a computer or an iPad, and they can send and receive messages through the app with your customers. You can have the team answering orders all from their respective devices.”

Taylor believes it’s a timely service and ideal for small businesses and non-profits.

“We really feel the immediate need right now is there are companies that are having real trouble co-ordinating deliveries,” he said. “The few delivery apps that are out there have a barrier to get into. Some of the smaller companies can’t get in there, and those that are in the delivery apps pay a huge premium and are losing even more revenue during this difficult time. From our perspective, texting is a really good option for these people.”


Josh Taylor is the CEO and co-founder of St. John's-based tech startup TxtSquad Enterprises. — Contributed - Contributed
Josh Taylor is the CEO and co-founder of St. John's-based tech startup TxtSquad Enterprises. — Contributed - Contributed

Market gap

Taylor and co-founder Tim Bonnell officially started the company early last year, around the same time they were accepted to Memorial University’s innovation hub Genesis. The pair had a software consultancy business and were working with large home-service companies in the United States for a number of years.

“We identified a gap in the market with respect to texting,” explained Taylor. “A lot of the software being used didn’t really have good texting support.”

During the lockdown in Newfoundland and Labrador last spring, Taylor became aware of the challenges downtown St. John’s restaurant and bar Toslow faced as it was trying to use text messaging to handle orders. TxtSquad reached out to Toslow and offered the business the opportunity to try out the service.

“We gave them the TxtSquad to use, and it just immediately clicked for them,” Taylor said. “All of a sudden, they were a team responding to messages. They weren’t all stressed out over a single phone. It worked really well for them to co-ordinate their orders and keep their business going.”



Toslow co-owner Chris Scott backed up this assessment in a recent news release TxtSquad issued.

“We pivoted to using the TxtSquad app to help co-ordinate orders to our restaurant during the first COVID-19 lockdown, and find it a very useful tool to manage our sales process” he said in the release. “We strongly recommend it to restaurants and other local businesses during this difficult time.”

In response to the current lockdown, TxtSquad is offering a two-week free trial and six-month deal at 75 per cent off for businesses in Newfoundland and Labrador. Taylor said it’s very simple to get started with the app-based service.

Andrew Robinson is a business reporter in St. John's. Twitter: @CBNAndrew


RELATED:

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories