API Management / Edge / IoT / Contributed

What APIs Could Provide to the Telecom Industry

19 Aug 2021 3:00am, by

Darach Beirne
Darach Beirne is vice president of customer success at Flowroute, now part of Intrado. With more than 25 years of experience building and leading B2B customer success, Darach leads Flowroute's dedicated customer support team, driving strategy for customer success and improved customer satisfaction. Prior to joining Flowroute, Darach led professional service and sales engineering teams for providers such as Contenix, Huawei/3Leafsytems, InQuira, Siebel/Scopus, and Ingres. He also has assisted high-tech companies in developing strategies to improve the customer experience and increase scalability.

As enterprise communication continues to evolve, businesses are constantly searching for new technologies like cloud-based tools to improve operations and gain a competitive edge over other organizations. To accomplish these goals, enterprises are deploying telecom Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Telecom APIs can enhance companies’ internal workflows, customer experiences and customer engagement by adding communication capabilities to existing processes.

An API refers to a set of protocols, functions, procedures and commands utilized by programmers for developing software or promoting interactions between two systems. APIs can be used for both mobile and desktop purposes. APIs have countless use cases and are a critical tool for providing scalability and adaptability — two crucial capabilities for businesses to have in today’s economy. Software developers can use telecom APIs to integrate calling, texting and other telephony functions directly into applications or software services. On the back end, telecom APIs are typically supported by VoIP networks to route calls and messages from one user to another.

People largely prefer texts over other forms of communication — most smartphone users would rather connect via text than email. Offering only one option or communication channel for customers can weaken relationships and damage brand loyalty.

IT teams can establish partnerships with software-centric carriers for help in the integration of cloud-based telecom offerings and existing product and services, without compromising quality. The integration of telecom APIs enable organizations to have direct access and authority over high-quality telephone resources that help them with real-time purchasing, porting, provisioning and configuration of voice and messaging services.

Below are three key advantages that telecom APIs offer organizations in today’s market.

Enhanced Customer Service

Modern consumers want options and the flexibility to select services that meet their unique needs. Businesses can improve the service they provide to customers by offering more than one method to interact with the organization. Customer communication preferences have shifted in recent years as technology that delivers immediacy have become ubiquitous. Not surprisingly, texting has risen in the ranks as a channel that customers prefer.

Data shows that people largely prefer texts over other forms of communication — as more than eight out of 10 smartphone users would rather connect via text than email. Offering only one option or communication channel for customers to interact with the company can weaken relationships and damage brand loyalty. With telecom APIs, businesses can support robust interactions and consumers can choose from an array of communications options.

In response to the trend of consumers preferring texting, companies have started incorporating SMS and MMS messages into their suite of communications tools. These interactions are powered by messaging APIs and can make SMS and MMS messaging more impactful. They can also be used to send messages to customers once they opt-in to receiving them, which is helpful in sending discount codes or notifying customers of sales or other promotions via text.

In addition to making communications tools more robust, telecom APIs can help businesses create better customer experiences using relevant data from past interactions. For example, when a company receives a customer call through a telecom API, it will generate a call detail record (CDR) automatically. The CDR is attached to the inbound calling number and establishes a record of communication. Whenever that customer contacts the company using that number, the company’s support team can access the record and learn important background details that will help them personalize service for the customer. This added level of insight also creates a more positive experience for the customer.

Quickly Scale Services

As the past year has demonstrated, the need to be flexible and pivot on a dime is a vital asset in the business world. Enterprises are adopting telecom APIs as an automation strategy to scale their services. Using telecom APIs, companies have the confidence and capability to quickly adapt communication offerings in the face of change. For example, if a business needs to move to a new telecom carrier or add additional phone numbers, the transition process can be made easier with telecom APIs. Number porting APIs allow companies to maintain or scale numbers when they endure change so that they can offer ongoing support and the services their customers expect and need.

Enterprises can make use of telecom API’s scalability for numbers associated with restaurant reservations, appointment reminders, shipping notifications, hotel bookings and other services where the user wants to receive updates via texting or calling. Telecom APIs can also be used for advertising campaigns. For example, if an advertising campaign needs to be pulled or pivoted for any reason, the phone number can be reused elsewhere or in a future campaign. If there’s a need to scale a channel to meet demand as it ebbs and flows, APIs can make power this too.

Enable Mobile Workers

BYOD (bring-your-own-device) has made employee mobility a reality and magnified the urgency for enterprises to address their employees’ demands for flexibility and autonomy over schedules. To remain competitive, businesses need a mobile communications strategy that will support a distributed workforce and optimize employee efficiency. By integrating telecom APIs into their mobile employee communications strategies, companies can leverage the power of modern telecom solutions and enhance interactions.

For example, telecom APIs can support businesses as they hire, manage and interact with gig workers in the hospitality, retail and foodservice sectors. A company can utilize a website or mobile app with capabilities powered by telecom APIs to provide employees with an easy and accessible platform to manage their work schedules. Employees can secure updates on company events, text fellow employees to change shifts, and most commonly, communicate with customers about upcoming deliveries and services. Telecom APIs have also proven beneficial in dispersed industries like construction. Using messaging APIs, field service personnel can use hand-held devices to share updates on project information or communicate real-time updates to clients. They can also use mobile delivery apps to organize their operational activities.

With telecom APIs, enterprises have the chance to connect with customers in the ways they prefer, scale and grow their business and empower a distributed workforce. Telecom APIs can enhance the tools that a company is already using to operate and connect with customers, such as calling, messaging and video chat. As customer demands continue to evolve, APIs are an especially useful tool for meeting changing expectations and demands. Ultimately, telecom APIs support organizations in staying competitive and nimble in the rapidly transforming economy.

The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners. TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in the following companies: MADE, Real.

Feature image via Pixabay.

A newsletter digest of the week’s most important stories & analyses.