On an API Hunt?

Aug. 15, 2019
4 Questions to Help Your Customers Select the Right API Provider — In the cloud communications industry, application programmer interfaces (APIs) are changing the way enterprises meet consumer demands and […]

4 Questions to Help Your Customers Select the Right API Provider —

In the cloud communications industry, application programmer interfaces (APIs) are changing the way enterprises meet consumer demands and expand business offerings. Organizations are increasingly integrating telecom APIs in their product suites to modernize communications offerings and to create new and vital revenue opportunities. Adoption of APIs is also allowing businesses to boost collaboration with customers.

Capitalizing on API integration can be an involved and complex process that relies significantly on selecting the right provider. And it’s in your best interest to help your customer identify and select an API cloud-communications provider whose services align with their company’s needs.

4 Questions Your Clients Should Ask Potential API Providers

Question #1. Does the provider establish needs and evaluate service quality?
To properly assess the quality of an API provider, enterprises must first establish what specific services they need. With this in mind, enterprises should consider the features their customers require most, and then modify the search for a provider accordingly.

For example, enterprises looking to add calling or messaging services, or to enable access to phone numbers and call data, should target cloud-communications providers that offer telecom APIs and carrier-grade service.

Another area to consider is whether an API provider has a diverse library of programming languages in its software developer kit (SDK). These languages could include Ruby, Python, .Net, and PHP. Having an extensive language library on hand provides flexibility in web and app development. It can also help address and mitigate coding issues before they occur, which saves everyone both time and money.

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Question #2. Does the potential cloud-communications provider offer simple and efficient integration processes?
Businesses can implement the latest and greatest technologies to boost workflows, but in order for these features to be successful, customers need to understand how to leverage the technologies to maximize efficiencies and productivity.

It is essential for enterprises to partner with a cloud-communications provider that can offer simple integration while also enhancing communication processes. For example, enterprises looking to improve porting procedures and to reduce the time to transfer phone numbers should consider vetting providers with an established history of seamless integration. This ability is imperative to minimize downtime and to improve execution of standard procedures.

In addition, enterprises should work with providers to secure API documentation, which outlines how to use the software and serves as reference to guide the implementation process and future updates. Oftentimes this documentation is available via a developer blog or home page featuring ready API samples or language-specific guidelines that can be reviewed prior to selecting the provider. When assessing documentation, it’s important to evaluate the data formats offered to guarantee they are in the preferred formats (i.e., direct data formats such as XML, JSON or YAML).

Question #3. Does the API ensure smarter business processes?
Telecom APIs can introduce a host of improvements that optimize business processes and ultimately help companies engage with customers. Telecom APIs provide many contextual and intelligent communication interactions, such as appointment-reminder or reservation-confirmation texts that can track the context of a call or message to streamline customer-service interactions, thus boosting efficiency and enhancing the user experience.

Further, APIs can increase safety and security for businesses with two-factor authentication and the ability to mask phone numbers to safeguard privacy. An example of this feature is exhibited with food-delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash, which allow messages to be sent between two parties without revealing personal phone numbers or other information.

Question #4. Does the potential cloud-communications provider deliver an effective and thorough communications synergy?
Ultimately, the chosen API provider should enable an organization to work more effectively and to have more command over their telecom resources in ways that previously required significantly more time and energy. This includes direct access to phone numbers, call records, and messaging capabilities, while also granting enterprises the ability to provision and configure voice and messaging services instantly.

Having stronger control of telecom resources bolsters the ability to monitor and analyze phone numbers and call data, therefore enhancing security, and, consequently, business workflows. Monitoring data and call patterns can help businesses make more informed decisions about customer communication preferences, which ultimately increases synergy and collaboration between the business and between customers.

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The benefits of partnering with the right API provider are plentiful, but only if enterprises can genuinely recognize their needs and identify a pertinent match. Investing time to thoroughly vet providers will help the company select a partner that can provide improved engagement for customers, while also modernizing service offerings to facilitate future growth.

About the Author

Sascha Mehlhase

Sascha Mehlhase is the Senior Director of Product Management at Flowroute, a West Corporation company. He has more than 15 years of product management experience in software engineering and B2B SaaS platform development. Prior to joining West Corporation, Mehlhase was the director of product management at Motorola Solutions, where he was the strategic lead as the company developed software solutions for mobile broadband work-group communications. For more information, please visit https://www.flowroute.com/. Follow Sascha on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/smehlhase/. Follow Flowroute on Twitter @flowroute.