SMS alerts for winter closing - Airtable / Twilio


#1

Hey everyone,

Not sure if anyone has experience with this, but we have are using Airtable to keep track of employee data and one of the fields is phone number.

During winter storms, we would like to have a system where we can send a SMS alert that pulls from all the phone numbers in the table.

I see that there is a Zapier integration for Airtable and Twilio, but having trouble wrapping my head around getting it setup.
I am not very familiar with Twilio and its features. We used to use Sendhub, but it was mostly a manual process with lots of importing which I’d like to avoid.

I imagine the trigger would be Add a record in a table, action would be to SMS all the phone numbers that are in the employee airtable via Twilio.

Anyone have any tips or has done something like this before?


#2

I think this would require something like a SendSMS Table which would allow you to select all the employees you want the message to go to, this would then use a Rollup to get all their phone numbers in a comma separated list. You could have a field for the text of the message as well.

A new record in this table would then trigger the Zap and the text sent to the list of numbers.

I haven’t tried this (although I’m intrigued)…


#3

Just tried it - and it does work - here’s the SMS table:

and the Zap:

The only manual element here is the selection of the employees - you could always have another table with an all employees record which links to everyone - and then pick up all the numbers from there.

Note that you need country codes in the numbers sent to Twilio - so if you don’t want to enter these then I suggest you use a formula field on your employee table to make a version with the country code.


#4

Wow Julian! Awesome!! Thank you so much for trying this out and pointing me in the right direction.

Adding to this. The major preference is that we would like to do the text messages by shift as weather conditions change through the day. At the moment we have a table with all the employees and a field that has a shift drop down. Do you think if I make a Shift table and link the employees in there, that when I make a SendSMS table, I could link the shifts to the event which would then rollup the employees and phone numbers that are in that shift?

I’m new to airtable so my imagination might be running too far. Let me know if you think this sounds right. Thanks again.


#5

Hi,

We have a private beta for an upcoming feature that will allow sending SMS messages from Airtable. You can sign up for the beta here: https://airtable.com/shrLK2dGvhx46S6bU


#6

Hi @Scott_Lusignan - I think you’re on the right tract there - instead of rolling up from employees into SMS, roll up phone numbers into the Shift table and then look this field up from SMS - the LinkedTable would also be Shift instead of employee.

Overall this would be easier I think because you won’t have to select employees individually.


#7

Bummer! Got the shift table going, and the employees populated fine, but when I tried to rollup the phone numbers, this happened.

I’ll probably contact support to see what the deal is.


#8

Update on my progress, ended up using the Lookup feature instead and it worked perfectly. Thanks again @Julian_Kirkness for the help.


#9

Scott - from the screenshot, you missed the aggregation function for the rollup - if you’d used ArrayCompact(Values) you would have had a comma separated list of phone numbers - but a lookup from a child record does much the same.