How to Increase Customer Engagement with APIs

API Customer EngagementIf you want to run a business with ultimate efficiency, you have to rely on a degree of automation. Yet many businesses drag their heels when moving into the future and leveraging new technologies. It’s easy to rely on time-tested processes when they work. However, if you want to maximize profits, increase productivity, and decrease monotonous tasks for your employees, you must consider implementing APIs.

Application program interfaces (APIs) allow for the streamlined sharing of data between systems. A common example is Facebook login information embedded into third-party websites or mobile applications. This allows people to log into their favorite applications, but with the added benefit of a simple Facebook login. Because of this, both companies can benefit thanks to the power of APIs.

Because of this usability advantage to visitors and customers, organizations should consider and put in place methods for maintaining and increasing customer engagement using APIs. They should be used as tools that, though based on technology, are able to maximize engagement.

The flexibility of APIs, combined with their ability to scale easily with many iterations, means that firms can focus less on the nitty-gritty of technology and the technical aspects of providing goods and services. Instead, they can focus more on connecting with clients and meeting their evolving needs. APIs should ideally free up our time to focus more on the most important aspect of business — the customer.

Customer Service

APIs can add online chat communication interfaces. This lets employees communicate directly with customers who may prefer online chat more than a phone call. Online chats can also improve the customer experience, increasing the chance of customer retention.

By implementing APIs, they can be leveraged to add humanity back into processes like customer service. Recent progress in automated customer service has led to frustration. For instance, a recent study shows that 42% of consumers say that they prefer live chat functions because they don’t have to wait on hold. According to a report by Zendesk, 92% of customers feel satisfied after using live chat, compared with voice (88%), email (85%), and even social media direct messaging (Facebook 84%, Twitter 77%). This is where APIs can come into play. Companies like Zendesk provide APIs for customer service that include live chat interfaces. Live chat is just one example of how APIs can revolutionize customer service and, in turn, customer engagement.

Log In Options

Companies have the options of using APIs to access customer profiles. For instance, by using Facebook or Twitter API integration, companies can access more information about consumers. This can include insights on age, gender, and other demographics to better appeal to consumers and fit their needs. Additionally, by implementing login options, your customers can easily create an account on your site without another username and password to remember.

Payment Options

Instead of creating and implementing a custom checkout interface from scratch, some firms may use an API for checkouts. Collaborating with APIs from Paypal or Venmo can make the checkout process easier for customers, who have existing accounts and secure payment information. This means customers do not have to re-enter credit card information, saving time and frustration, and providing a trustworthy checkout experience.

Shipment Tracking

You can also provide a better shipping and delivery experience by leveraging implementation of shipping APIs. On the firm’s end, you can use multi-carrier shipping APIs to create shipment labels, validate addresses, and easily fulfill your orders. On the customer’s end, shipping APIs can provide shipping rates so the consumer can understand costs for each carrier provided as well as live-tracking of their order to make sure it arrives when and where it is supposed to.

Having regularly updated and accurate location tracking, plus quick shipping in general, can be a beneficial and a competitive edge. This can increase customer engagement and improve customer satisfaction.

Mobile Apps, AI, and More

APIs have a lot of room for expansion. Mobile devices conduct 71% of the world’s digital traffic. By using APIs to develop mobile applications, your firm will be able to tap into and access an essential (and huge!) market. APIs can maximize the offerings of your mobile app, streamlining the steps it takes for a consumer to go from interested in your product to ready to buy.

Furthermore, with the future of the development of artificial intelligence looming in the next few decades, the use of application program interfaces in this market could be revolutionizing as well. For instance, the combination of APIs, AI, and customer service could be a powerful, effective, and efficient mixture.

Ultimately, application program interfaces offer many competitive advantages for firms increasing efficiency and productivity through their flexible and scalable benefits. APIs can be used for consumers as well, using technology to influence the primary motivation of businesses — engaging with customers.

 

 

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Nick Rojas is a self-taught, serial entrepreneur who has enjoyed success working with and consulting for startups. Using his journalism training, Nick writes for publications such as Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. He concentrates on teaching small and medium-sized enterprises on how best to manage their social media marketing and define their branding objectives. @NickARojas