APIs & customer experience

How APIs are the future of customer experience transformation

  • Lenore Files
    Lenore Files
  • Mar 17, 2020

APIs (application programming interfaces) are becoming increasingly valuable to the customer experience as the easiest and fastest way for companies to target specific moments in the customer journey, adding incremental updates to the customer experience.

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APIs (application programming interfaces) are becoming increasingly valuable to the customer experience as the easiest and fastest way for companies to target specific moments in the customer journey, adding incremental updates to the customer experience.

Within the last 10 years, API use cases have evolved alongside the proliferation of connected experiences that span mobile devices. The growing number and variety of customer touchpoints have made the customer journey more complex, requiring companies to act on data from a series of customer interactions — not just online but anywhere — to deliver a seamless customer experience. To meet this demand, businesses are shifting away from building discrete applications to creating cohesive, secure connected experiences — which require a series of APIs orchestrated for the optimal CX.

Whether it’s a collection of APIs or legacy applications coded years ago, both rely on technologies that weren’t necessarily intended to interact. APIs act as an interface layer that abstracts underlying complexity, allowing disparate software to connect to each other. But an API isn’t just a connector. It can also serve as the basis of brand differentiation — authenticating a user while protecting their password, engaging with a voice platform for self-service customer support, or receiving a delivery notification in real-time. All in all, APIs now have now become a significant engine of business growth.

The advantages of APIs

Across sales, service, marketing, and operations, APIs can be used to create customer experiences that are truly unique to a brand. However, much of the contact center technology in use today can’t keep pace with the standards of omnichannel customer engagement –– personalized, 24/7, and connected. By using specific APIs, business can build orchestration between systems to deliver a differentiated customer experience. In comparison to off-the-shelf software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, there are two main advantages of using APIs for creating superior customer experience:

Scale with flexibility

Organizations can pick which APIs best fit their use case to create a modern, scalable, cloud-based, omnichannel customer experience. Instead of taking an ‘off-the-shelf’ customer relationship management (CRM) solution full of features your business will never use, you can use an agile approach to build exactly the solution you need, when you need it. As the points of integration, flows of usability, and channels of interaction change over time, you can adjust — in real-time — and create the customer experience your customers want.

Control your roadmap

Many legacy and out-of-the-box SaaS solutions come with a pre-defined roadmap. They offer specific features and a one-size-fits-all approach that may not offer the flexibility you need to create the exact customer experience you want. An API-based approach lets you control your own roadmap, so you can make the incremental upgrades you want on your own timeline, without downtime or upfront investment. As your business objectives change, you can adjust your technology to meet your new goals.

Companies transforming customer experience with APIs

Digital marketing platform, Hubspot

Previously, Hubspot reps had used their own personal devices to manage customer relationships on WhatsApp. Hubspot wanted to make it faster and easier for prospects to talk to sales agents. After adding an option to chat on WhatsApp directly next to a “Book a meeting” call-to-action in emails to prospects in Brazil, they saw 88 percent more clicks to the WhatsApp CTA. In India, the results were similar: 86 percent more clicks on the WhatsApp option than the meeting option. Hubspot also added a “Chat on WhatsApp” option in its “Talk with Sales” contact modal in-app and saw the total amount of people clicking through to talk with sales rise 4 percent overall, with 55 percent of that increase going to the WhatsApp CTA.

Global technology firm, Dell

Dell was losing sales and frustrating customers who experienced a credit card hold due to suspected fraud used. Previously, customers in such cases would receive an email from Dell within 24 hours, but it often ended up in junk mail. After that, a customer care representative would have to call the customer, frequently reaching voicemail. Today, using SMS notifications, Dell can now automatically and instantly send customers a text notification if their order is placed on hold by the bank.

Online residential real estate site, Trulia

Trulia wanted to help real estate agents never miss a lead. When a prospect includes their phone number on a Trulia-enabled lead form, Trulia’s click-to-call app instantly connects the real estate agent to a prospect over the phone. If the prospect doesn’t include their phone number or the agent is busy, Trulia sends the agent a text message with the prospect’s information. Trulia’s call tracking solution automatically gives each agent a unique number on the fly. When people call these numbers, Trulia instantly routes the incoming call directly to the agent’s mainline and measures the number of calls that come in. Agents can get reports about how many calls they received, when, and how long they lasted.

The key to creating the customer experience you want is having the right technology in place to support your customers at every point along their journey with your business. With APIs, you can connect customer data platforms (CDPs), systems of record, and engagement channels to eliminate friction and gaps in the customer journey. The choice to use APIs isn’t just a technical decision, it’s also a business decision to prioritize agile development, A/B testing, quick iterations of software cycles, and integrating feedback into continuously enhancing customer experience.

Customer experience as the ultimate brand differentiator is just one of the five most salient trends in communication that surfaced in 2019. Explore all five and how they will shape business in 2020 — download The State of Customer Engagement report.

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Lenore Files

Lenore Files

Lenore has 20+ years of marketing experience in the contact center industry. She is currently a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Twilio where she works to bring Twilio's contact center solution, Flex, to market. She is focused on designing and building integrated campaigns, events strategy, content marketing and customer testimonials.