Engaging with customers and new prospects is vital for businesses trying to expand their customer base. Although phone and SMS technology has been around for decades, innovation is changing how these can be used in the digital age. Voice and SMS API services can help businesses increase sales and streamline internal processes for handling calls.
With a plethora of options, selecting the right API service for your industry’s needs can be overwhelming.
What is Voice and SMS API?
Before selecting a platform, it’s important to understand what SMS and voice API is and look at how they both operate.
Voice API is a software interface that allows phone calls to be made and received with a clear, straightforward API. It works to join the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and various other applications that are linked to the internet.
Employing the use of voice API makes it possible for software developers to program voice calling into applications and software. It allows them to construct call logic that can be utilized on any device, network, or location. Voice APIs permit developers to integrate VoIP functionality for apps allowing them to make calls over the internet, independent from phone lines. This means the PSTN can be bypassed.
SMS API is based on the same concepts as voice APIs. Like voice APIs, these are used as a bridge to connect infrastructures for SMS communications to the internet.
A functional SMS API will help you in sending and receiving message and viewing the status of messages in real time. These features can be used to keep your latest marketing strategies current and competitive. It has rapidly become a popular technology that businesses rely on to expand contact with their many clients.
What Industries Use SMS Messaging and APIs?
Text messaging technology has been available for over 30 years and continues to grow in popularity. Despite newer technologies like social media, video calls, and push notifications, SMS messages are still a popular method of communication. No matter what industry your business operates in, many customers prefer to communicate via SMS messaging.
Businesses have grasped this concept and are making the SMS APIs work to fit their needs. They understand that text messaging can improve a customer’s experience and promote brand loyalty.
Communication is a key facet of the healthcare industry. Whether via phone calls or text messages, communication is necessary to coordinate appointments or relay test results patients. Generating appointment reminders, supplying diagnostic test results, and furnishing prescription reminders are just some of the ways that SMS has revolutionized the healthcare industry.
Travel and Tourism
Nothing makes traveling more agonizing than running into unforeseen delays or last-minute schedule changes. To alleviate these headaches, travel and tourism organizations are relying on SMS messaging more than ever to ensure customers stay aware of what’s going on.
Some airlines provide the option of receiving notifications via text for updates on gate changes and check-in reminders. This decreases the likelihood of travelers having to miss flights due to unexpected interruptions and allows for a much more pleasant customer experience.
SMS messaging has entirely transformed the food industry. There are a plethora of restaurants that have intuitive and innovative mobile services in place. Some establishments allow customers to simply send a text to place an order for a meal to pickup. This minimizes the need to wait in line to place an order or to wait for the food to get ready.
Many restaurants ar using text messages to manage their waiting list. Using SMS notifications for table reservations allows customers to engage in other activities such as shopping at nearby stores while they wait.
Popular retailers are offering the ability to receive receipts via text or email versus the typical paper form. Doing so promotes convenience for customers and allows retailers the opportunity to customize future engagement based on buying history.
It is also becoming increasing popular to offer coupons and rewards through mobile apps. Reward programs through apps help to notify customers about the latest deals and provide a layer of convenience for consumers. Grocery stores for example do this by offering coupons through apps eliminating the need to carry physical coupons.
Have you recently had to use a one-time pin number or two-factor authentication code to authorize a payment or transaction with your bank? SMS API services handle these types of requests with simplicity.
Most financial institutions rely on this technology for verification and security. SMS reminders are also sent to customers to notify of any recent deposits or low checking account balances.
Selecting the right Voice and SMS API
Understanding the uses for these APIs helps to determine which service might benefit your business most efficiently. Although Twilio and Vonage (formerly Nexmo) are among the most popular, companies like Sinch and Plivo may prove useful for your business needs as well.
Twillio provides API solutions to lookup, verify and authenticate data. It also offers artificially intelligent bots for customer service along with messaging and call routing for agents.
One of the things that makes this API provider unique is how much they invest in their customer service. Despite being such a large company, they go above and beyond to make sure their customers understand their products on an international scale.
Twilio’s voice API service provides outbound coverage in nearly 200 countries worldwide. This feature makes it possible for you to send and receive messages and calls practically anywhere.
Calls are charged by the minute and local numbers are priced at $1 per month, while toll free numbers are at $2 per month. They also offer pre-defined SMS packages to meet a variety of needs.
Vonage offers cloud communication building block APIs that can be used for voice, SMS, messaging apps, video calls, SIP trunking and number insight. They also provide 2 factor authentication and dispatch services for multichannel message deliver.
This provider is probably the most popular alternative to Twilio. Vonage works on a direct carrier network (Vonage) and continues to expand it’s service to reach almost any phone with a single platform.
What primarily places Vonage in a class by itself is the feature of charging per second—not per minute—for voice calls. This means you’ll save a considerably on cost by only paying for the time you actually use.
It is also important to note that Vonage extends coverage to over 1,600 carriers in 225 countries worldwide. More than any other platform on currently on the market.
Plivo provides SMS and Voice platforms for their users and recently started offering cloud based SIP trunking. Unlike Twilio, Plivo offers call recording and call storage for free. Additionally, they don’t charge for incoming messages and supply real-time delivery reports for messages.
The PHLO system provided by Plivo helps to integrate communications easily without the need to code some standard operations. This alleviates additional time needed for development of systems and allows a simplified method of deployment.
Sinch provides many of the standard communication APIs including SMS, messaging apps, voice calling, video calling and number lookup.
Even though this provider is probably the lesser known they allow voice calling to over 220 countries. This places them right in between API favorites Vonage and Twilio for international coverage.
Sinch also doesn’t charge for incoming messages which helps them stand out from the other providers.
Which API service best fits my business?
Determining the most suitable voice and SMS API services for your needs can help to streamline your operations and reduce costs. Using these services also assists businesses with automation to collect and analyze customer data, monitoring support agents and optimizing internal processes.
The 4 API providers discussed offer similar services and performance, however their pricing and specialized features vary. Although Twilio and Vonage are considered the top providers and offer more specialized functions, Plivio and Sinch may fit your needs better based on their pricing plans and features.
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