APIs - The Cornerstone of Exceptional Customer Experience

By Urvashi Melwani Jul 30, 2021
APIs - The Cornerstone of Exceptional Customer Experience
APIs - The Cornerstone of Exceptional Customer Experience

While digital transformation has recently been of the utmost priority for enterprises, COVID-19 has clearly accelerated its adoption and organizations are quickly trying to drive change across the board.

The pandemic-induced disruption has compelled companies to re-evaluate their ability to quickly create and deliver valuable digital-first customer experiences. As a result, organizations are under tremendous pressure to digitize their services quickly, to meet ever-evolving customer demands and create new revenue streams.

To do so, enterprises must start embracing a digital-ready culture and empower their business units to develop their own connected experiences. Employees should also be capable of integrating systems, unifying data, and delivering personalized customer experiences - all by orchestrating APIs into their system, subsequently propelling IT innovation.

Deliver breakthrough CX with APIs

The battleground for customers has never been so competitive. Even the savviest of company executives feel perplexed when it comes to making sense of the decisions taken by their customers. It has become an everyday challenge for enterprises to completely understand the customer lifecycle and create a unified, comprehensive view for them. 

Essentially, enterprises have only two options now - either lead the pack or fall behind. Those who are not able to meet or exceed customer expectations will either become obsolete or remain inert.

In fact, as per a recent survey, nearly 80% of consumers felt that they would be happy to do business with a competitor. Companies assume that they are communicating well with their customers and delivering exceptional services, however, this perception might be far from the truth. The after-effects of poor communication and mediocre service can vary from customers sharing negative comments with their friends to experiencing a drastic dip in revenue and sales.

However, businesses can reverse these conditions by leveraging APIs to deliver engaging customer experiences, regardless of the channel they choose to use. The possibility of a substantial impact on their bottom line is immense.

Adopting an API-first approach or architecture can help you deliver immaculate customer experiences:

Increased customer conversion through omnichannel engagement

Today, businesses are required to interact with customers and offer them a valuable experience across all touchpoints. Companies need to holistically understand the preferences of their customers to ensure continuous business success. 

With multiple communication channels, such as SMS, voice, email, and each having several  APIs, it becomes a challenge to ensure smooth integrations and deliver end-to-end, harmonious customer experiences.

The omnichannel API platform can help enterprises integrate all channels and eliminate reporting issues, additional development time, and confusion caused by discrete channels. Businesses can also leverage the platform to redefine their business outreach and engagement strategies using parallel and sequential marketing campaigns. 

They can increase customer awareness through context-based personalized campaigns and gain a single view for all channels with maximum user engagement.  Above all, they can reduce dependencies on multiple channel APIs..

Unlock data-driven democracy

Data provides an edge to the organizations against its competitors, more than ever before. The enterprise that can unlock, analyze, and leverage data can open previously unknown avenues of business success. 

However, many organizations struggle with data, as it is centrally available or siloed in legacy systems. As per a recent report,  enterprises use almost 900 different applications, but just over a quarter of them are integrated. Also, 85% of organizations have reported severe integration challenges that hinder their digital initiatives.

API-led connectivity can help achieve data agility and drive connected experiences. They can use APIs as a framework for various applications to create a flexible integration layer, support data extraction, and gain a holistic view of the enterprise and its customers in one place.

This flexible integration approach enables organizations to make their various data sources discoverable and accessible to third parties. The consolidated information can help derive better insights and create the experiences that customers desire.

Accelerated implementation timelines

The pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to the market. To survive in such a fast-changing environment, organizations need to be nimble and quick to adapt. The truth is that there is no time for a year-long implementation project; only APIs can help organizations quickly scale their business operations.

APIs perform the heavy lifting and allow for immediate adaptation within an enterprise's technology system, as well as enhance the customer experience.

Ensure Improved agility and velocity of workflow

When an API-led architecture is implemented and the applications are API-enabled, technical teams can prioritize and focus on other business issues with ease, as and when they arise. The flexibility comes from the low code or no-code development process of APIs - as provided by most of the mature iPaaS technology products and platforms today. Reusing APIs would not only eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel but will also expedite the time to the market.

Bring Internal efficiencies for sales and services teams

APIs not only have a direct impact on customer experience but also on internal business teams. As they connect a wide range of applications and systems in the organization and integrate data in real-time, marketing, sales, and services teams have an up-to-date view of a customer’s history. It empowers them to understand their customers' needs and understand their pain points, including their preferences and buying behavior, and what products they might need now and in the future. It ensures a lower probability of swivel chair syndrome and also contributes towards employee satisfaction.

Spotlight: Companies that transformed their CX through APIs 

Why are APIs so critical to the digital customer experience? Because fragmented systems that are made up of incongruous parts for task-specific applications are obsolete and complicated.

For instance, if a new lead signs up for your service, they do not wish to fill the same information over and again at different touchpoints; for example, in the lead registration form, in the app, or when buying a product.

Simply put, customers expect a hassle-free process, where the system remembers their information across different touchpoints in their customer experience journey. 

However, poorly designed customer interactions that fail to meet their expectations can transport them to the doors of your competitors, even before you get to know about it!

Let’s take a look at how Amazon and Trulia implemented APIs to transform their customer experience:

  • Amazon Alexa

    Amazon Alexa uses APIs for users to receive automated reminders of their appointments, meetings, cake order, or even weather forecast. Users can give simple voice commands to the voice assistants for smart home services. For instance, if they are away from home and need to check whether the lights are on or off at specific times.

  • Trulia

    Trulia is an online real estate marketplace that strives to bring together prospective buyers and real estate agents quickly and flawlessly. When a prospective customer adds their phone number on a Trulia-enabled lead form, its click-to-call app instantly connects the real estate agent to the prospect over the phone. If the prospect forgets to add their phone number or the agent is not available, Trulia sends the agent a message that contains the prospect’s details.

    Its call tracking system generates a unique number for each agent so that when people call these numbers, the company can directly route the incoming calls to the agents’ mainline. This practice enables companies to measure the number of calls that come in and generate a report for agents to track the calls they received and how long they lasted.

API-first or API-last? The choice is yours

Increasingly, organizations have come to realize that API-led connectivity can speed up their business communication and address the fast-evolving needs of their customers.

The omnipresent existence of APIs has compelled companies to deliver transformation projects much faster. As a result, driving innovation across the entire organization has become a key priority for IT leaders. APIs play a vital role in ensuring that organizations become digitally agile and serve customers at every point along their journey with the business.

Customers crave personalized digital experiences and that must be at the heart of every organization’s business strategy, right now and in the foreseeable future. 

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