How do you create seamless process experiences, without causing communications hiccups for your customers? The most exciting answer comes from the capabilities of Applications Programming Interfaces (APIs), which when you deploy them in combination with cloud computing, deliver robust and scalable service platforms.
APIs empower you to integrate all of your business communications channels into one unified Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) solution. The Cloud gives you the flexibility to support volatile traffic demands and add new features quickly, including all of the communications channels for your brand.
In a recent post on the CIO Review website, Michael Meyer explained that the most innovative companies use APIs to integrate communication channels into their information systems that connect customers, vendors, and team members. This new approach delivers CPaaS using APIs.
Customers should see your channels as pathways to your brand. When your customers contact your company, they expect to connect without having to explain their situations repeatedly; they expect you to know them immediately.
You can create the service solution to achieve that goal using APIs that connect different cloud-based applications internally or from subscriptions to third-party services. The result is a modular CPaaS architecture that delivers seamless experiences for your customers.
When companies make their APIs available to the public, third-party developers find new ways to improve the code and design new use cases. The standard protocols that drive open APIs include HTTP, HTTPS, JSON, SOAP, and REST, which call for data from one cloud-based platform, transform it, and then move it on to another.
You can use this technology to support just about any service, including some of the most innovative business communications solutions. CPaaS providers like Nexmo, Twilio, and Plivo plug communications channels directly into your applications.
From the customer’s point of view, the entire process should feel like a developing relationship, without any disruptions. The appropriate APIs can connect such channels as SMS, email, chat apps, call center transcripts, and number lookups, to create one seamless Omni-channel hub.
Users may initially contact you by web chat, Facebook or Twitter. Later, they might reconnect with you by email or phone your call center, and ultimately meet with a representative. The more information that your reps have regarding the relationship up to that point, the better they can serve your customers and secure richer relationships on behalf of the company.
For example, Nexmo provides such features as messaging, voice, and authentication that integrate directly into your application. Nexmo also captures the data for real-time insights that make your decision-making process smarter.
When your brand has multiple channels to recruit new customers and build relationships with them, the goal is to capture prospect information, sales, and account details, so that customer service has it during any further engagement with the customer. The benefit to your clients is a seamless experience across all the channels that represent your brand, even in the most dynamic growth environments.
The advantages to your company include operations that are more efficient, cost less, and produce higher customer engagement while delivering greater lifetime value for your clients. The ultimate benefit is better customer relationships and higher efficiency that increase the return on your investment.
Meyer proclaims the end of conventional PBXs, replaced by API-enabled CPaaS. The capabilities of APIs and the Cloud are evolving rapidly, so you cannot take the present state of the technology for granted. The fast pace of change today means that companies must be alert to new threats.
Gartner advises companies to monitor innovations and evaluate strategy continuously at the C-suite level. Competitive advantages can shift quickly; threats to your market position can come from anywhere. Also, just because a vendor provides third-party developers to access their APIs now, it does not mean that they will continue to allow it indefinitely; you need to have contingencies.
Businesses must accept that cloud-based platforms connected by APIs are now the standard, regardless of the industry. Gartner refers to digital economies that match networks of modular platforms to ecosystems of stakeholders; these are the users that are your team members, vendors, and customers, who expect consistently amazing experiences from your brand.
There will always be emerging opportunities that customers will instantly accept as the new norm, in response, you will scramble to keep up yet again. Whether it will be to integrate virtual reality or some other new service, the languages of APIs will remain fundamental to your business communications solution for the foreseeable future.