An API is an application programming interface. It allows two software applications to communicate with each other.
You can think of an API as a sort of universal translator. Different software applications have their own ways of “talking” and the API makes sure that they can “talk” to each other.
Most people probably don’t realize that APIs exist, but APIs have a profound impact on how we all engage with services.
APIs in action: a practical example
When you use an app on your phone, it sends data to a server. The server receives the information, interprets it, and enacts the proper tasks before sending it back to you.
For example, when you search for a flight online, you must select a place of departure, a date, and other important variables on the airline’s website. To complete the booking, you access the airlines database to view available seats and prices.
When you use a 3rd-party travel service like Expedia, their system interacts with the APIs of various airlines to access this information. After the information is received, the airline sends updated data back to you.
How APIs improves customer experience
A lot of the problems in customer service are caused by a lack of integration between systems.
APIs help with this by connecting various systems. This boosts customer experience because more information can be made available more easily.
It also makes automation a lot easier, which is great for both customers and businesses.
How does that work?
Automation generally depends on data flowing easily between different systems. APIs make that happen, which benefits customers by enabling functions like simple self-service.
In most contact centers, agents spend as much as 40% of their time on basic and repetitive tasks. Reducing this obviously improves contact center efficiency and has also been shown to improve agent performance and retention.
Three Ways API integration brings automation to a contact center
Contact centers benefit from API integration in a huge number of ways. That’s the case because contact centers rely on so many different systems like CRMs, Helpdesks, and contact channels.
Here are just three common use cases for API integration and automation.
- Automated outbound dialing. The very best customer service centers add value to their organizations with proactive outbound contact. That includes things like customer renewal and retention, upselling, and lead management. All of this depends on a close integration between systems like your CRM and your outbound dialer.
- Virtual queuing. This is the next big step from automated outbound dialing. The idea behind virtual queuing is very simple; when customers get in touch during periods of high contact value, you don’t need to make them wait. Instead, you can invite them to hang up, and then call them back when a customer is free.
- Sending SMS from IVR. Many times, customers call your business for information that could’ve been found somewhere else. Short message systems can handle the enquiries so that an agent is not needed. Besides saving a customer valuable time, it saves a business money.
APIs are revolutionizing the way that businesses handle their customers.
As well as enhancing the range of services that they’re able to offer customers, API integration is bringing new functionality to old legacy systems, pulling down data silos and making effective, No-Code automation accessible to all.