Utilizing APIs to Advance Telecom, Business Growth, Customer Experience
Organizations that don't embrace communications APIs will struggle to keep pace with needs of modern consumers.
Developers and enterprises are under constant pressure to keep pace with the rapidly evolving competitive landscape. Success often hinges on getting to market quickly to capitalize on opportunities while delivering an excellent customer experience; this is particularly the case with communications services embedded in online and mobile applications.
The pressure builds further with in-app customer interactions, frequently being high risk and high reward. If it works well, you earn a loyal customer; with a poorly executed communications experience, saving that customer relationship can be nearly impossible.
This isn't a new idea. Organizations realized long ago that providing helpful, efficient communication experiences, particularly when customers' needs are urgent, can pay huge dividends. Digital businesses have built contact centers to assist customers when they needed help, but this still isn't always the ideal experience. Calling a contact center for online support is forcing customers to a different channel, which damages brand perception and loyalty. It also is a challenging support experience because the context of the customers' issues has to be relayed verbally to agents.
The biggest barrier to triggering context-aware interactions has been legacy telecommunications carriers singularly focused on traditional telephone usage. Profitable telecom equipment providers and carriers, weighed down by massive legacy investments, haven't been motivated to break the existing models.
The rise of the telecom API economy offers the means for digital businesses to create the seamless customer experiences they have longed to deliver. This experience includes consistent, personalized interactions through communications services like voice and text messaging. The revolution in communications is not being delivered by enlightened carriers, but by the same driving force behind the entire digital evolution -- software developers.
In the past 10 years, the number of public APIs has grown from only 350 to more than 11,000, and that figured doubled in just the past 18 months. Giving developers programmatic control via APIs enables innovative ideas that couldn't previously be obtained. Now developers are able to get their ideas to market more rapidly, sidestepping the huge upfront investments in hardware, custom integration and, most painful of all, time.
According to Market Research Engine, the global telecom API market will grow at a CAGR of 24% and is expected to reach $325 billion by 2022. APIs are being utilized to expose a range of communications resources including messaging, location, and payment. But more importantly, it is empowering businesses to deliver customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty by providing a simpler, seamless consumer experience.
The level of accessibility and speed of integration inherent in APIs makes it easier for developers to add calling and messaging capabilities to their apps, transforming the user experience. What used to take months to code can now be developed almost instantaneously with APIs, enabling developers to complete product integrations quickly.
Companies like AirBnB and ReminderCall.com are taking advantage of telecom APIs to add calling and messaging functionality directly to their apps, making the customer experience more seamless than ever. Specifically, ReminderCall.com utilizes the programmatic control enabled by APIs to send automated reminder calls, text messages and emails for upcoming appointments. With innovators like ReminderCall.com bringing these powerful services to market, businesses can rapidly and easily automate calling and messaging processes and reinvest valuable time and capital in other areas of their businesses.
Another telecom API use case that is streamlining businesses, as well as improving the customer experience, is payment services. Through APIs, such as those offered by 2Checkout, companies can seamlessly integrate checkout and payment services. These services not only offer full control of the buying experience but are also customizable to align with the brand experience. Other benefits include recurring billing and fraud protection, streamlining the process for both the business and the consumer.
Through location-based APIs, enterprises can utilize location data to offer customers relevant information and promotions. Take Uber for example. The company uses APIs to highlight estimates for pick-up times and prices within Google Maps. Another example is Yelp, which utilizes Google Maps to highlight the restaurant's location on the restaurant's webpage.
These examples require organizations to have large development teams to correlate location information from the GPS capabilities of mobile devices to the map application. Most companies, however, want to present contextually relevant information to users based on their locations, without having to match locations up with local services and map APIs. This is where telecom service providers can provide simple, valuable services through APIs. As a result businesses can easily provide relevant information and offers to consumers that are facilitated by location services, fueled by mobile networks, and delivered via APIs to developers.
Driving Innovation in the Digital Era
These examples demonstrate that providing, and monetizing, information and services in a way that the software development community can consume is the catalyst to communications innovation. We live in the API economy and the communications incumbents, not surprisingly, have been slow to react. New businesses models have emerged to fill the vacuum, providing developers programmatic access to information and communications-related services, to the benefit of consumers.
We as consumers now expect to be able to connect to the right person or other resources via apps. And not just that, but we expect the experience is seamlessly and flawlessly transmitted. We expect to receive only relevant proactive information or offers based on where we are or what we are doing. Communications APIs are empowering developers across all industries to reach a wider audience, position their offerings to their target markets, unlock new opportunities and allow enterprises to grow through continued innovation.
As the digital landscape evolves, the modern consumer experience flows directly through the effective utilization of communications APIs -- organizations that fail to embrace this trend will struggle to keep pace.